We can’t numb our feelings selectively. If we shut down vulnerability, we shut down the good feelings, too. We can’t pick and choose.
One of my supervisors in my psychiatry residency said he didn’t think you could be a good therapist if you hadn’t experienced your own pain. I didn’t understand it then.
I do now.
I’ve always considered psychiatry a calling. We don’t choose it as a profession, it calls us. We know what pain feels like, invisible pain, the pain that hurts more than kidney stones, migraines, prolonged labor.
Any person who’s ever been depressed will say, “Give me any of those before you give me depression.”
Let yourself be vulnerable. Let people see and feel you up close, deeply. It is in those moments you will feel really connected to another person. At the end of our lives, most of us will agree that connection with a person or a few is all that really matters.