So many of my clients think they are the only person who feels the way they do. They are often ashamed about their mental health and beat themselves up about their situation and make things worse. Believe me. I know. I used to be like that myself.
As a therapist I realise that we are all more similar than we are different. I hear clients say the same things over and over. I see the patterns. You are not alone in your suffering. Many of us have had very similar experiences.
I was reminded of this recently when I had a mad notion to return to teaching. I thought that teaching internationally would be different to teaching in Britain. I was imagining sitting under a banyan tree imparting wisdom to adoring foreign children hanging on my every word. Maybe this scenario exists somewhere but maybe it doesn’t.
I signed up for International Schools Review to check out anonymous reviews of schools in exotic locations. To my horror I found the same problems that are in British schools. Often there was terrible behaviour accompanied by bullying managers. There were horror stories of rat filled apartments, passports being withheld, staff fired in the middle of term, non-payment of wages…Reading the reviews I could see the same patterns repeated. There were the young, idealistic teachers trying valiantly to build a career, do their best for the children and operate ethically. They were hamstrung at every turn by schools who are in it for the profit. I recognised my younger self in these people’s writing.
I realised that all the times I beat myself up about not being good enough I was really just battling an impossible system that set me up to fail. Even just thinking about it caused me to have nightmares, flashbacks and night sweats. My unconscious mind was warning me of the danger.
I decided to heed it and gave up the idea. I still want to travel and I would live to teach in some way but maybe adults or in some kind of different environment. I still feel sad that I couldn’t make it in the job I had played at as a child, lining up my toys in the bedroom and making them little books to write in. But there we are. It wasn’t what I thought it was. It wasn’t my fault. I am no different to many others who have found the same. It doesn’t mean I am weak or faulty. I am just meant for something else. I need to trust the process of discovery.
Maybe I am meant to continue as a hypnotherapist and help people to realise they are not alone. We all feel the same underneath but we can all heal and grow and learn to love ourselves just as we are.