Last thursday I handed in my final graduating essay to my advisor; with a click of the send button I had finished the last requirement of my MSW degree.
With excitement I called my husband and let him know the good news. With this newfound freedom I celebrated with a visit to a cafe and more phone calls to my family back home.
The next day while at a massage therapy appointment my cell phone rang; who would be calling me? I had a few ideas, but relatively few people have my phone number so I was curious.
To my astonishment I got a call for an interview for a casual counsellor position from a local treatment program for women that is unique in providing trauma-informed care to women with multiple barriers.
I had applied to this job with little expectation that I would get an interview; I simply applied because I have long wanted to work with women in addiction using a trauma informed approach. I do not have particular employment experience specifically with women so I was surprised to get this call.
At first I felt elation then later anxiety. Anxiety for a number of compounding reasons. I was worried that I would be stumped by difficult questions. I was worried as it is coming up within a matter of days without much time to prepare, let alone buy a few new clothes, hair cut. More than anything I need some new glasses and contact lenses; for the past few months I have been wearing broken glasses taped together with black electrical tape. I have been so busy being a mom and a student that I haven’t even had time to buy things for “me”!
I was also worried strangely enough because the future was now much more uncertain- with me perhaps having to make difficult choices. It was hinted that I would be interviewed for a casual position in counselling at my mental health practicum that I had applied for two weeks earlier. I had already set my course on that potential job, excited to see old colleagues when this possibility came up. Now I felt quite anxious not only about a difficult interview but potentially having to choose between this new position and the opportunity to work somewhere that I had grown to feel comfortable and would have the opportunity to learn more about providing therapy to people with a variety of conditions.
Writing about my anxieties makes them feel trivial- likely I will get a job, the bills will be paid and I will continue to learn and grow in social work/therapy. However, nonetheless these thoughts have dominated my head over the last day and a half as I have dwelt on the repercussions of one choice or another.
What helped with the anxiety? Strangely enough not mindfulness but reading: reading about women, substance abuse and trauma brought me a lot of excitement which made me feel encouraged to study and put my best foot forward for this upcoming interview. And now my anxiety is at a record low. Now just to care of the essentials: hair cut, interview outfit, contact lenses, and interview prep (ok that one still causes me a little bit of anxiety).
So if you were a therapist, what was the technique I used? What helped me get through this?
In a concluding note: I am extremely grateful and blessed to have made it through this journey through my MSW. As many of you know, midway through my first year of the program I found out that I was expecting a baby- surprise! God’s planning, I call it. I took one year off from studies- missed graduating with my original cohort. However, God has provided, finances, work, everything I needed, and learning opportunities. With his strength I have completed the finances and engaged in the learning gradually taking the courage to integrate my faith into my understanding. It has been a wild journey, not without bumps but I’m glad I’ve made it through this leg of the journey intact (and thriving, and happy- with a healthy dose of anxiety here and there).