Diving into the Doom

Big things are on the horizon for Cheese Woman (that’s my new nickname, as of right now). As many of you know, I am a mental health therapist. As not many of you know, I’ve recently decided to leave the agency I currently work for, and am in the process of going into private practice.

This decision has come with a full rainbow of feelings. Guilt about leaving clients, especially ones I’ve been seeing a long time. Sadness about leaving my coworkers. Hopeful about relationships with new coworkers. Nervous about having to market for myself in the new practice.

Mostly though, I vacillate between these two feelings:

  1. Over-the-top, click-your-heels-together excitement


  1. Massive, soul-encompassing fear


At times, I am filled with hope and happiness about my new job. I can’t wait to have more control over the types of cases I see, and I’m optimistic that I can figure out marketing and get into a comfortable routine. Then, my fervor collides with naïveté and spirals into a whirling tornado of idealistic delusion. With a manic grin on my face, I picture myself becoming wildly successful in my practice. I’ll clearly make kajillions of dollars. It won’t matter whether I’m good at marketing, because people will travel hundreds of miles and ford treacherous rivers with their oxen in order to see me. Other agencies will beg me to give presentations. My former grad professors will look on me with pride.

I will be helpful. I will inspire CHANGE.

At other times, I descend into a neurotic pit of doom. I worry that I will have trouble finding clients. That I will not make enough money to support myself. That I will have to explain to friends and family why I’m struggling financially. That this situation will continue long enough that I will have to take on another job, or else be in danger of losing my savings. I am terrified at the thought of taking a big risk and getting nothing in return. I am sickened at the idea of admitting failure. Instead of picturing people traveling far and wide for my services, I picture public scorn. I envision myself being forced to rent my extra bedroom to a banjo-playing drifter who collects taxidermied raccoons. And who eats my leftover macaroni and cheese.

I am no picnic to be around when I’m in the pit of doom. I may or may not have vomited sheer anxiety all over certain loved ones victims.  And then gave them wide-eyed looks of terror as they were forced to reassure me that I will probably not die from this. Also, I may or may not have asked a friend if she’ll still like me if I have to become a prostitute.

Her answer was yes, if you were wondering.

It sort of feels as though I am a dichotomy* of emotion right now, bouncing back and forth from one extreme to another. But the truth is, as with most things in life, I typically fall somewhere in the middle on the spectrum of experience. Even when I’m deliriously excited, I still have a twinge of nervousness. And even when I’m spinning through the black hole of fear, there’s still a quiet whisper at the back of my brain that’s going, “Hey. You can do this.”

*Side note – Ever noticed how the word “dichotomy” sounds like a type of surgery?

 “Can’t make it to your party on Tuesday – I’m having another dichotomy.”

“Another?! That’s your fourth one this year!”

I don’t think the goal is to be completely without worry in this process. For one thing, that’s just not possible. It’s new, and new things are scary. But also, I think a small amount of anxiety keeps me realistic. I SHOULD be concerned about money. Not having money is bad. That’s a practical matter to be thinking about and preparing for. Rather than convincing myself not to be scared, I think the more appropriate goal is to try for an attitude of “Yes, and …”

“Yes, I’m scared about this… and I’m also excited about it. Yes, this could go badly for me … and I’m going to try it anyway.”

I’m actively attempting to lean in to my fears instead of fighting against them. Diving cleanly into the water will hurt a heck of a lot less than falling into it kicking and screaming.

I hate to admit it, but this deluge of cheesy encouragements is also somewhat helping…




We’ll see if I’m still holding onto this attitude a few months from now. Or a few minutes from now.

What is scaring (or exciting) you guys right now?


15 thoughts on “Diving into the Doom

  1. Susu

    What is exciting to me is the thought of retirement in a few years, but it’s scary too, will I have enough moola or will I become sedimentary and get big as a house…….things to ponder!


  2. Write This Down

    Good luck! I think when we look back, even if we don’t do well, or not as well as we hoped, we still end up happy that we took that leap, as cliche as it all sounds. I think staying too safe leads to more regrets than the adventurous soul.


  3. I admire people who can do things like this. Jump in and try for what they want. I am too afraid to do things like that. Of course, I couldn’t right now even if I had the courage. I don’t have any of the other resources. So anyway… if you have any questions about what it’s like to live in the neurotic pit of doom, just ask. I have been living there for quite some time and it doesn’t appear I’ll be getting out anytime soon. The financial worries? Mine are beyond your worst case scenario… so I’m inside that situation, too. It is killing me to feel that I can’t do for my kids what I want to do. Those concerns don’t leave my head… ever. But I am not you and you are not me (LUCKY for you!!). I’m glad the cheesy encouragement is helping you. I just want to puke all over it. But that’s just me.

    And I HATE how everything in life boils down to one thing and one thing only. Fucking money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I can’t stand the cheesy sayings when I’m in the pit of doom, either. They might as well be written in a foreign language for all I’ll get out of them. I totally get why they’d make you want to hurl. I think they’re more helpful when I’m closer to the “middle” of the spectrum – still feeling worried, but also feeling hopeful. At that point, the cheesiness makes me feel more secure in my decision.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooh, that sounds exciting! I’ve fantasized before about becoming a therapist (like MFT) and always thought having a private practice would be great. I guess dealing with insurance can be really tedious, but the benefits seem fantastic (control over your own work environment, freedom, etc).

    Good luck!!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whaaa?! This is what I get for ignoring my blog for so long! What excitingly terrifying news! Terrifyingly exciting news! Will this be your own private practice? Or you’re joining someone’s practice? I only ask because if it is all yours, you get to name it. So it’ll be something like “Just In Queso You Need Me” or something like that. And you can have a cheese fountain in your waiting room. Or, really, in your office and you and the clients and have cheese while you talk! Oh man, so many ideas.

    But, seriously, I’m so excited for you! You’ll do fine, y’know? Well you don’t know, but some random lady in Iowa knows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is both terrifying and exciting for sure! I am joining someone’s practice because I wasn’t quite ready to “hang my own shingle” yet. But if/when I eventually go out on my own, I’m definitely stealing that name you came up with 😉. I definitely think cheese should be combined with therapy – I know it’s soothing for me, at least!

      Liked by 1 person

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