A holiday note to all clients who think someone else is more deserving of their time in my schedule:

During this time of year, many of us are overwhelmed, overbooked, sleep deprived and well, generally, out of sorts. I have had a number of women express something that concerned me this week. In different ways and for different reasons, they all said the same thing: “I feel guilty coming in when I know there are women who are much sicker than me who could use time with you.”

Some of the women who are saying this are in recovery. Some have recovered for some time and are working on other issues. Some of them are in for other reasons.

But what they all have in common is a question about whether their issues or their commitment to this process or the meaning of this relationship is “as important” as their perceived notion of someone else’s pain.

Pain is a relative thing.

It’s not surprising to me that as women heal and begin to find their way out of the darkness, they presume they should be “healthy” enough to move on past this therapeutic alliance and proceed forward “without help”. It’s also not surprising to me that the healthiest women are the ones who generally feel guilty about taking up valuable space that someone else could benefit from. Or that’s how they see it, anyway.

But if you haven’t learned anything else from me and our time together, remember this: This is YOUR hour. Your time to explore, learn, experience, complain, listen, grow, cry, vent, disclose, and hopefully, evolve. As long as it continues to feel meaningful to you, it IS meaningful to you. And that makes it meaningful to me. When you question whether your issues are as important as the next persons, you are devaluing yourself.

Giving yourself permission to continue “get help” as you recover is as important as when you are symptomatic. It can sustain you during difficult times. It can reinforce the gains you have made. It can support your efforts as you navigate external stressors. Never underestimate how important YOU are in this process together. Continue to work hard. Honor and address those things that mean most to you and continue to focus on YOU.

Not always easy to do, I know. But here – this office – is one of those spaces where being selfish is simply part of the deal.

Never forget how important it is to take care of yourself.

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