No Shame In Struggling

It seems that a lot of people in the writing world are struggling right now. They’re struggling with waiting, or rejection, or uncertainty, or self-doubt.

You’re right, that last one’s pretty out there. I don’t know ANY writers who struggle with self-doubt.

BAZINGA.

I’m not sure what it is that’s got so many of us down in the dumps. It could be January and its general lameness. It could be that we are surrounded by the success of our peers and feel that we pale in comparison.

Are you one of the strugglers? If so, I’d like to tell you something.

You’re not alone.

And sometimes, being alone is the problem.

There’s no shame in admitting that you’re having a hard time with something, and there’s no shame in seeking help for your problems. Friends and family are there for just such an occasion, in fact, and it’s important that you talk about what’s going on.

“Sure,” you’re thinking. “Easy for you to say, Anne Riley the Cheerful. You’re never depressed. Just LOOK at your last blog post. There are pictures of rainbows and unicorns, for crying out loud.”

Yes, Grasshoppers. This is true. I am often cheerful, I love to laugh, and I love to make other people laugh.

So it might surprise you to know that I’m about to start counseling.

Last night was sort of a breaking point for me. The weight of so many commitments–being a good wife and mother, putting in the required effort at work, keeping my house in a semi-clean state so as not to invite rodents to bed down in our Piles o’ Crap, working faithfully on the new book I’m writing (1,000 words per day), and then everything else like random appointments, cooking dinner, the extra weight that continues to collect around my waist, making sure people have lunches for the next day, trying to get my 13-month-old to switch from a bottle to a sippy cup (and BY THE WAY, mothers, I will HAPPILY accept advice on that one) . . .

You get the idea.

New year, new panic attack.

But last night was different from my usual meltdowns, which occur pretty much every month in some form or fashion. I knew something really needed to change.

I’m having issues with a few things that I just can’t handle on my own. Not tangible objects, exactly, but more like unhealthy thought patterns and feelings of resentment toward a variety of people and things. I mean, CRIPPLING resentment. The kind that makes you ugly-cry while you drive home after work.

Ever done that? I sure have.

So I emailed my church. (If you’re worried that this is about to get preachy, I assure you, it is not.) Sometimes, church culture in the south can be a bit superficial; I’ve been at churches before where the members basically put on a happy face, acted like their lives were perfect, said “Praise the Lord” a lot, then went home and cried in their bathrooms.

Fortunately, my current church embraces people’s crap. We talk openly about our problems in all their spectacular grossness. THAT should get a “Praise the Lord.”

Anyway, I emailed my church and asked if there was a counselor on staff that I could meet with. Within ten minutes, I had a response and a counselor to contact. So I emailed her.

That was five minutes ago. No, I haven’t heard back yet, but I’m looking forward to setting everything up. This will be my first foray into the World of Counseling.

Maybe I should feel embarrassed. I don’t.

I considered not telling anyone except for my husband. I’ve decided to tell the world.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be divulging the details of my counseling sessions with you, but I might blog about a few things here and there. I just wanted you to know that this is happening, and that those who seem the happiest often need the most encouragement.

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41 thoughts on “No Shame In Struggling

  1. Alissa Grosso says:

    Worrying, waiting and self doubt come a little bit too easy to writers. Even for those who don’t want to go the counseling route, make friends either online or in-person with other writers and talk to them via email or on the phone or anywhere that isn’t a public forum. I know my own writing support networks have always been there for me during both the good and the bad times.

    Anne, good luck with everything and hang in there.

  2. Starr Parnell says:

    Good for you Anne! Your post is so true in so many ways and I’ve been right there with you before! Praise the Lord for him giving us community and resources like you are seeking out 🙂

  3. Denise Grover Swank says:

    Anne, worry, fear, self-doubt and resentment come at EVERY stage of this writing/publishing process. Sometimes mine is crippling. Seriously. You are not alone and I’m so glad you’re getting help and support. {{hugs}} to you, my friend!

  4. Tess says:

    I’m a big advocate of counseling, Anne. I went for a couple of months as a teenager and again during college, and though I haven’t gone in recent years, I can say that I had very rich, meaningful experiences there. I felt like I learned to think more honestly and clearly, and it definitely helped me be more grounded in prayer. I hope you experience it in the same way and more.

  5. Katie Anderson says:

    I LOVE COUNSELING! I have been many times and it has blessed me so much! How awesome that your church has counselors available. And I remember one time loving the fact that Jesus, Himself, is referred to as the mighty “Counselor.” He is truly the answer. Good luck, girl!

  6. Jess says:

    GET. IT. Get it!!! Thank you so much for posting–if more people were honest, fewer of us would be scared to share our struggles and our needs. Thank you. Real people are way more fun and interesting than the fake people who make beautiful blogs with depictions of perfect lives or perfect chicken salad for the church potluck and then cry in their bathroom. What a great post. Happy New Year!

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Thank you dear! Sometimes churches and blogs are a breeding ground for falseness, which is a real shame. I’m excited to see where all this leads!

  7. Eisley Jacobs says:

    Regarding the sippy cup. One of my kids would not switch to a sippy until I got him the STRAW sipper. It’s suction like a bottle and it worked! 🙂

    *HUGS* Love you Anne Riley. We all struggle… it’s true. It’s because this industry is full or rejection. Who likes being rejected? Not me. *HUGS* You aren’t alone and we will be here to encourage you every step of the mommy track, the wife track and the writing one… you are excellent at it all, even when juggling seems impossible!

  8. Elle Strauss says:

    I’m feeling more anxious these days than I normally do too. The expectations are just so HIGH.

  9. Aimee L. Salter says:

    Amen, amen and again I say, Amen. I’m so proud of you for being real, and will pray the whole process is really healthy and encouraging and strengthening for you.

    I’m a struggler this month. Have been since before christmas. But you’re right – it’s a time of year that brings everything to a head, I think. I’ll follow your example and be real about it.

    Thanks for the encouragement, the non-solitude, and for just being cool. Praying!

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Thank you, Aimee. I do enjoy transparency, both demonstrating it and seeing it in others. I hope this month gets easier!

  10. Melissa Luznicky Garrett says:

    There’s definitely no shame in seeking help, however you can get it. My husband and I will probably resume our private counseling with the therapist who also counsels our autistic son. Having someone to talk to when you’re feeling overwhelmed really does help.

  11. A Wydner says:

    No shame at all! It’s great when people are real and honest and willing to share things that most try to hide. And as a counselor, I think it’s great that you’re trying out counseling–we all can benefit from some!

  12. Laurel G says:

    A big PTL for your supportive church. I am super thankful to be in a prayer group with 8 other moms my age, and believe me, we definitely let our mess and brokenness be seen, prayed over and grappled with together.

    I think it’s helpful to see resentment having both emotional and spiritual components. I look forward to hearing how God meets you and heals you.

    BTW, for your sippy cup training, there are a variety sometimes called “trainer cups” that have soft, silicone spouts and feel like a bottle nipple. My daughter, now 9, transitioned off of a bottle in a matter of days with a soft-spout cup.

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Thanks Laurel! I think that’s what we’re using now. She’s doing pretty well with it–she’s just not ready to give up the bottle entirely!

  13. Jessica Love says:

    I was in various forms of therapy for over a year and it’s one of the best things I have done for myself. I would still be in right now if I could afford it. It’s great to have someone to talk to about the things that are weighing on us. Good luck with counseling. I hope it helps you figure stuff out!

  14. Harley says:

    Okay. I didn’t read this post at all. I wish I had and I would’ve called or something or hugged you hard. You’re doing the right thing and a GREAT thing to others that you’re talking about it.

    I am praying for you and I love you.

  15. Robin O'Bryant says:

    Imma email you. But very publicly I think you are the shiz and the pressure on writers is huge. You can’t understand unless you’ve been there and I totally have. Super glad your church is full of genuine people, I’m lucky enough to have one of those too and they have seen me act like a whackadoo about writing stuff. I’m JEALOUS! I want to go to counseling but have to drive two hours to do it!

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Whoa–2 hours? I’m just going right down the street! But thanks, yo. I appreciate the support.

  16. Connie Keller says:

    Don’t get worked up about the bottle/sippy cup. Eventually, the child will realize juice comes out of the sippy cup more quickly than the bottle…guess which one said child will eventually choose? (I have four grown kids and none of them uses a bottle anymore 🙂

    I know young moms feel tons of pressure from other moms. I don’t know if this will help, but it’s the ruler I used for my kids. “If it’s not a sin, don’t sweat it.” (Ignore the other moms’ looks of condescension.)

  17. Jodi says:

    Good on you for reaching out. And here’s a shock, we’re ALL wackadoo in our own shape form and fashion. Sometime when you want to be bored to tears, I’ll share my own particular flavor. But bottom line, you’re not alone and are definitely doing the right thing. Much love!!!

  18. Alexandra Shostak says:

    There is NO shame in struggling or in seeking counseling. I’m so glad your church has a program, and just sounds warm-hearted and like a great community. And I’m glad you were able to reach out when you needed it! I hope counseling is beneficial for you. I will definitely always be an advocate of it. 🙂

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