“I don’t know how you do this for a living, listening to people’s problems all the time.”
I hear this comment from clients all the time, especially after a session with a lot of tears and overwhelming feelings of discouragement. As an audience member during a DSG-hosted event, STAND UP TO STIGMA: A Student Panel on Mental Health and Mental Illness at Duke, I realized how vividly accurate my standard response to the statement about how I “do this for a living” truly is.
This was not a program on the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, or a presentation the prevalence rates of these problems. It was an arena for sharing stories about living, an offering of what living life is like living with depression. Living with anxiety. Living with disordered eating. Living with addiction. Living with ADHD. Living with PTSD.
These were their stories. These were their lives.