The Winding Path

Counselling Services provided by Barb Zacharias

February 2018: Fairy Dust

Posted on Feb 16, 2018

February 2018: Fairy Dust

February. Valentine’s is past. Sadly, sometimes as troubling for people as the Christmas/Holiday season. And it all depends what we focus on. For me, two issues that have surfaced are my risk of becoming a recluse, prompting agoraphobia (fear of leaving the home) and/or social phobia (fear of interacting with people); and feeling like a misfit.

Becoming a recluse is troubling. Feeling a misfit is distressing, causing deep anguish. And because I feel like a misfit, I “turtle”—yep, hideaway like a hermit. Do we see the vicious circle here?

To add insult to injury (so-to-speak), my counselling practice isn’t building like it did in Didsbury. The usual networking channels are not fruitful like they were in Alberta. Yep, you guessed it—feeling like a misfit, wanting to hideaway. Being a hermit, though, has yet to be a financially viable career choice. I suppose the need to earn money is good for my mental health!

Being a recluse isn’t a new challenge for me to face. And usually my work is a sufficient antidote. Social engagement has never been easy for me. I loathe crowded situations, group conversations, noisy environments, and small talk. Private one-on-one conversations are best for me. And counselling provides meaningful conversations with minimal small talk. Very rewarding work for an empathic, compassionate, introvert.

I have never “played well with others.” Good thing that wasn’t the primary basis for school report cards; because I would have failed miserably! I can only imagine what extroverts and “other-learners” experience when they constantly fail at academics but excel in other “non-report-card” ways. Well, they probably feel a lot like I do socially: a misfit, a square peg in a round hole.

Some people, fortunately, emerge from being a “misfit” as a marvelous butterfly, fully embracing their unique way of being the world. Others, like me, either develop mental illness or due to mental illness, experience deep anguish and meander through the maze of life with a mistaken identity. And create a self-fulfilling prophecy of not fitting in based upon experience. Another vicious cycle.

I tapped into this deep anguish recently, triggered of all things, by job searching on an employment website. There was nothing that suited my particular limitations and strengths. I felt absolutely useless and hopeless. Plus given my unique circumstances, I fall between the cracks for financial aid options. So what did I do? Spiral downward, of course. Not just a hiccup of negative thinking. Nope, full blown despair (ugly cry and all). The “tap” analogy is quite fitting: it felt like someone had untapped a well-corked source of pain. Once released, there was no turning off that faucet until the well ran dry.

Finally my body could release the belief and pain of not fitting in since early childhood.  I can end the self-fulfilling prophecy/vicious cycle by focusing on my unique place in the world. As someone pointed out to me recently, it doesn’t have anything to with pegs or holes, but rather sprinkling fairy dust over the whole thing. And in so doing, I will find other like-minded fairies —the unicorns of “fitting in.” We do exist, you know. You may have to patiently watch for us and wait for us to approach; but we are there, quietly doing our thing.

I have yet to discover if being a fairy/unicorn is more financially viable that being a hermit; but it can’t hurt to try! At any rate, it is much better for my mental health. Yes, I see the irony in referencing fairies and unicorns as proper mental hygiene. But sometimes it is good to think outside the box. We can’t all “go with the flow.” Some of us need to be elusive unicorns, just to keep everything in perspective.

Wishing you all good mental hygiene, keeping everything in perspective. Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are leaving behind sweet dreams of better things yet to come. Even if we have to believe in fairies to make it come true.

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