“Don’t turn away. Keep your eyes on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.” -Rumi
I remember throwing a tantrum in my boyfriend’s car, kicking my legs, screaming at him to pull over and let me out. When he listened and pulled over, I yelled at him, accusing him of abandoning me. Minutes later I was crying, begging him to love me, and drowning in shame. Thinking back, I have no clue what the fight was about (or any other fight I had during my long string of dysfunctional relationships in my 20s). I just remember feeling so insecure I’d show up at his work when he wouldn’t text me back. Or would lay paralyzed in bed, starring at Netflix for hours, unable to focus on anything else but waiting for him.
I didn’t end up in therapy because my life was going well. I ended up in therapy because I was addicted to love (the mostly unavailable and toxic kind). And because I couldn’t get along with my family. And because although I smiled all the time, I felt angry and unhappy inside. I ended up in therapy because I was in chronic physical pain and didn’t know why. Because I was functioning at a fraction of my potential. I ended up in therapy because somewhere along the way I had lost myself.
Yes, I’ve got academic and professional credentials, which you can feel free to skip to below. But the truth is, my greatest credential is my personal exploration into the dark. I believe our symptoms (whether addiction, anxiety, arthritis or anhedonia), when honored, become the path that leads us home. By turning toward what hurt, toward what I was most ashamed of, I found pieces of me I thought I’d lost forever.
Today I feel liberated in a way I didn’t think possible. Yes, the above symptoms have subsided but what’s more liberating is that I’ve come to deeply appreciate each and every one of them. For instance, I learned my chronic pain had served as armor, protecting me from some very tender emotional wounds. My attraction to dramatic, dysfunctional relationships had been my escape (since high school), a distraction, a way to cope with my highly sensitive soul and numb the sting of complex trauma. The more I embraced in myself, the more freedom I started to feel around others (hell, I had nothing left to hide). The more I fell in love with each part of me, the more compassion I had available to bring into the world.
“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
My academic/professional credentials:
I have a MA in Mental Health Counseling (with a holistic specialization) from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA (and am licensed in Massachusetts). Prior to grad school, I spent another 7 years or so supporting people in various aspects of their healing journeys, as a holistic health coach, life coach and yoga teacher.
Post grad school I’ve been working (going on 4 years) facilitating group therapy at a day treatment center south of Boston. Working within a broken system that I believe actually perpetuates mental health issues has been a challenge, to say the least. But the people I work with and the people I work for captured my heart on day one. It’s possible I have never laughed so hard, loved so hard, or learned as much as I have within this community. I lead groups on coping with anxiety, accepting emotions, therapeutic writing, emotional eating, somatic practices, internal family systems, spirituality, and gardening.