I went to college and graduate school with every expectation that I would launch myself into a brilliant career, make lots of money, eventually find a husband, and live happily ever after. I was in for a very rude awakening. My work life was not what I had expected. And I didn’t know how to fix it. Not only did I feel that I had chosen the wrong career for myself, but I was lonely.
In short, I was pretty miserable, and I didn’t know how to stop being miserable. And it seemed that the problem was in me. Something in me was defective, or broken, or something. Plus it felt vitally important to pretend to the world that I was not lonely, not miserable; that I was normal. Sound at all familiar?
I was good at learning things, so I started studying how to be happy. By day I worked at the career I had trained for, trying to pretend I was just like everyone else. The evenings and weekends were devoted to exploring how to fix myself. I was smart, I was sure I could figure this out…
I dove into self-hypnosis; I liked the idea of tricking my brain into thinking I was happy. Guess what, that didn’t work. I became very good at getting calm, and going into a trance, but getting happy? Feeling good about myself and my life? Not so much.
After hypnosis I was led to past life regression, neuro-linguistic programming, rebirthing, various forms of energy healing, shamanic work, etc. I explored non-traditional spirituality and became an ordained minister in a New Age church. Along the way I consulted numerous palm readers, tarot readers, energy healers and psychics. It was all fascinating, some of it was very helpful, but the underlying misery was always there and eventually led to my collapsing with severe clinical depression.
Believing that only losers and crazy people go to counseling, I resisted that route for years. I had an amazing reliance on intelligence as the solution, sure I could figure things out. Finally, depression forced me to try counseling, and although it was nice to be listened to, nothing ever seemed to change for me as a result of getting therapy. (If only I had found a Focusing Oriented Therapist! I would have spent a lot less time talking about how I felt and a lot more time paying attention to the bodily felt sense of all that.) Prescription antidepressants occasionally worked briefly but would stop working after a few weeks or months, leaving me back where I started.
Eventually I found Focusing. And things have been getting better ever since.
I was an emotional mess when I found Focusing. I was desperate for something that could help me with this crippling depression. There was no more room in my medicine cabinet for another unhelpful anti-depressant. I had no energy to find a therapist who would have been covered by whichever insurance I had that year.
I began to take Focusing classes, and with each new level I experienced a feeling of rightness and a new sense of ease with my emotions. I could be with the feelings of deadness, hopelessness, and lethargy, and also the feelings of rage and helpless frustration. It was transformative to begin to recognize that there was a me that was more than my feelings and circumstances; that there was an I that was still intact despite my suffering.
I appreciated the fact that beyond the investment of money for classes, Focusing was free. I could do it by myself, and I could do it with partners. I was empowered. And I was inspired. I wanted to share this amazing process with others, so I completed the certification process to become a Focusing Trainer.
I enjoy helping others use Focusing to achieve goals, respectfully removing inner roadblocks to action. And I am very interested in Focusing with health and body issues, helping turn what might be fear and animosity toward the body, into respect and a productive working partnership. I love going in depth in one-to-one work, and also working in group settings.
Academically, I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland. And a Master’s in Health Care Administration from George Washington University. I worked for a number of years as a consultant in health care management, strategic and program planning, and marketing. Later I also worked as a purchasing agent and inventory manager in the retail/mail order industry; and as tech support in the software industry.
When I’m not focusing, I like to read, especially “how to” books, and murder mysteries in which the heroine is tough and smart and not afraid to kick serious butt. I also like to grow things and to make things: I garden, knit, crochet, and quilt.
A note about depression – it hasn’t completely gone away. I still have bouts of depression. But now, instead of lying around like a zombie for weeks and months and even years on end, my depressive bouts last for a few hour or a few days. And I have the resources now to turn inward with compassion and curiosity, sensing what might have brought on this latest power outage, and what might be needed to help it shift.