This year’s theme for me is “Facing My Fears.” It has been weighing on me that I turn fifty in December. I have been going over in my head where my life has gone and where it is currently headed. One question that I ask myself is what will I regret? Right now, I regret not taking my social work licensure exam sooner (like seven years ago, when I first graduated with my MSW degree and all the information was fresh in my head). I let fear hold me back. Well, on October 15th, I will be taking the exam!
Another regret that I am facing at the moment is not working in the profession that I love, which is mental health social work. As most of you know, I have been on disability for major depressive disorder since 1998. I have done well for several years now with a good support system, therapy, and medication.
Well, on Monday, I interviewed for a full-time mental health case manager position. I have not worked full-time since I became disabled. I have feared the “what if’s” (what if I fail and I lose my disability). At the time I became disabled, I was working at a job that I enjoyed. Yes, it was highly stressful but I was in a profession that I loved. I was devastated when I realized that my illness had rendered me unable to do my job. No, the job is not what made me sick. I had struggled with depression for most of my life but I was in a stressful marriage and there were huge stressors within my family at the time that I was putting myself in the middle of.
Foward to today, eighteen years later, I have obtained a Master’s degree in my profession and have worked a few part-time jobs. I am in a more supportive and encouraging marriage. For years, I have set up strict boundaries between me and my family. I am in a much better mental place. I feel it is time to take the next step and try working full-time in the profession that I love. Instead of “what if I fail,” I need to ask “what if I do well”? I know that I will feel more fulfilled and contributing to helping others on their journey toward recovery. This is what I must focus on.
What do you fear? Have you been holding yourself back from doing something you fear you will regret? What has helped you face your fears?