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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Husband is So Smart

TODAY MY HUSBAND CALLED OUT TO ME from his office to mine: "Was your last blog post on February 14?"

I replied: "Yes."

There was a long silence...

I went on: "Everything I want to blog about is negative, and I don't feel safe writing about it."

His reply: "Why don't you write about how you aren't blogging because everything feels negative?"

Wow. (How'd I get so lucky to marry such a smarty-pants?)

So here's the deal. I don't want to write about the not-so-great parts about graduate school. In 12-step meetings they say: "Carry the message, not the mess." I must have internalized that somewhere along the way.

The husband-guy is on to something, though. If I don't write about how I am feeling, I may find it hard to break through and keep posting about the grad school experience, in general.

I was angry about an experience at school. Because I felt I had no place to appropriately vent the anger, it turned into depression. The truth is: I have been depressed for almost two months. And, try as I might, I just could not shake it off.

Graduate school is tough. I can see the stress on my classmate's furrowed brows. I've listened as others share that they've had to go on meds (anti-anxiety, sleep aids, anti-depressants, etc.). Since one of my blessings and curses is to be an achiever, sometimes it is difficult for me to say, "No," even when it's a good thing--for me, for my family, and for the good of my education.

So, how did I get through it?

I let it go. That's what I did. And, like it most often does, it worked itself out. Don't get me wrong: I've learned some tough lessons about trust and professionalism.

Here's the kernel: Sometimes we get to learn about how we do not want to be.

In the process, I learned a bunch about who I am--and who I want to become--as a social worker, a human being, and as a loving, caring, forgiving woman.

~Ms. T. J.


  1. Good for you TJ!

    2 conversations with classmates stand out in my mind over the past 3 years.  One, in a study group at my house, we talked about our antidepressants and ambien vs lunesta.  It felt like we were all relieved that we didn't have the "burden" of a secret anymore.  Another conversation was the first day of class and the professor had broken us up into random groups and one of the topics we were discussing was stigma of mental illness.  And one of my group-mates said she'd started seeing a therapist to talk about how hard grad school was and how much better it made her feel.  And then all of us confided needed that extra support ourselves.

    For all the lectures about self-care, it's still hard to talk about needing help ourselves.  We are trying to be professionals and we don't want our colleagues to think less of us because we need some additional clarity in our lives.  But ITS OK.  We are better professionals when we care for ourselves, no matter what that care entails.  We can't recommend to our clients therapy if we aren't willing to do it ourselves.  It makes us better practioners.

  2. Welcome back, TJ!!! Your husband was right! I bet you feel better for releasing some of the ickiness that may be inside. My college professors encourage all of their BSW students to go to the counseling center at least once through out the spring trimester when the students start their Junior Field Placement to vent the feelings and stresses they may be feeling. I personally have not went but I can imagine how it would be to go and talk to someone.

    Here is a suggestion. If you feel like you can not blog...still open up even a notepad type of document, gush out all of what you are feeling and then delete them. or save them so that you can go back through and look at themk later if needed.

    You are doing a good job!! Keep up the good work, you only have a couple months to go!

  3. Well foo on the big meanies that tried to make you do what you didn't want to do. And to lie about it. That is just SOOOOO silly. Self-care is SOOOO important. And being able to say no is VITAL self-care. It is a hard learned lesson, but I am starting to see the wisdom and gain the ability. Don't be ashamed that you had feelings that were/are hard to cope with. Welcome to life. Like the 12-steppers say (I think it's them that says this), first you have to acknowledge that you have a problem before the problem can be fixed. You have done that step, and the other steps will be easier.

    Now go give your husband a big hug for being such a smarty-pants :) . Are you counting the days yet?

  4. Thanks Amy Rose.

    One of my fave professors tells us often that the agengies we work for (even if we have a private practice and we are running it!) will not see to our mental health, so we must. 

    I have been seeing a therapist (LCSW) since I started graduate school and I wonder if I would have been as successful as I have been without her. Glad I don't have to know the answer to that question!

    ~Ms. T. J.

  5. BSW-
    Thank you so much for your thoughts. I love the notepad idea, too. Most of all, thanks for your support!
    ~Ms. T. J.

  6. Thanks for the shout out TJ!

  7. Hang in there T.J. You're almost done! Betsy

  8. Oh, thank you!
    ~Ms. T. J. (aka Your Wife)