Shifting Focus as the World Tilts

“I am not a victim.”  Quincy said this at the end of our session, after discussing the impact of COVID-19 that was rather immediate for his particular circumstance.  He lost his job as a construction worker and was already looking at the real possibility that he might have to change his living situation as a result of not being able to make his next mortgage payment.  But with this, along with the blur of news and ensuing restrictions, he was managing to “keep a level head.” Having known Quincy, a man in his forties, for several months, I was not surprised by his declaration of survivorship. He was absolutely not a victim, but did understand on a very personal level what it meant to be victimized.

Quincy had started coming to therapy for issues related to childhood trauma that involved both physical and sexual abuse.  Having had multiple perpetrators throughout his early development and a string of unhealthy relationships with others as an adult, he eventually become so overwhelmed and disconnected, he ended up using drugs.  He almost died from a heroin overdose in his late twenties. Quincy had been through a lot, but was determined to overcome adversity, heal from grief and loss, and live a fulfilled life. I think what stands out to me about Quincy is not just his resilience and determination, (cultivated through the hard but necessary work in therapy), but also the belief in himself that he had already survived so much and how he knew he would survive this too. 

It is hard to know we will move through things intact if we have not lived through other difficult challenges, or perhaps if we are already feeling the weight of loss from other experiences not yet resolved.  Whether the challenges you face are older or a direct result of the pandemic, you can come out of this with a greater belief in yourself, in your ability to survive, heal, and to eventually reclaim what it means to live a fulfilled life.  It starts with your ability to adapt and flex into what you need to do right now.

….without compromising your values.  You don’t have to change what you want in your life but how you get there may absolutely have to.  Sometimes plan “A” doesn’t work so we may need to have plan “B”, “C”, “D”……”Z”, so on and so forth.  Cultivating determination does not mean that you have to ever give up your dreams, stop when you encounter roadblocks, or change who you are in the face of adversity.  Look at anyone who has had success at accomplishing something and you will most certainly be looking at someone who has felt rejection (or perhaps loss on a much deeper level) but kept going anyway.  Determination comes from our ability to stay focused on our goals even if we have to slow down or change course along the way. It is okay to be a few steps ahead of yourself, but resist the urge to get to far ahead.  You never know what is around the bend so stay focused on what makes sense. I cannot control what happens, but knowing what I want, having an ability to shift perspective, and to also keep a firm focus on my own behaviors (along with the attitudes that drive them) absolutely is within my grasp.

Clear Reflections

What do you want?  Why is this important to you? Write about your various goals including relationship, contribution, and any other goals that matter.

Create at least 3 plans, or alternate courses, that you may have to take to reach your goals.  Then create another 5.

Who do you know (either personally or from the media) that has had to adapt to reach their goals.  What are the steps they took to achieve their dream?

How do you define personal success?  How can you cultivate a deeper faith in yourself and in your abilities to achieve it?

Trust yourself.

Websites and Articles:

Reducing fear and taking care of yourself | Colorado COVID-19 Updates

Covid-19 Support – Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center

3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Lakewood, CO 80227

12835 East Arapahoe Road
Tower One, Suite P-850
Centennial, CO. 80112

1754 North Lafayette Street
Denver, CO. 80218
(970) 946-8737

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