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The Fear of 'Firsts'

We all have them. Those first time experiences that go hand in hand with feelings of being anxious, nervous, excited, hopeful, or any number of any other positive or negative emotions. These experiences start at the time we take our first step as a baby, when we start school for the first time, or have a first date, head off to college for the first time whether it be near or far away, beginning a new job, or perhaps moving our home to a new city, state, or even a new country. Firsts happen all throughout our life and we all handle these experiences in a myriad of ways.

I am faced with two new firsts at this time in my life, and to some these firsts may not seem like a big deal, but to me they have consumed my thoughts and emotions. The first ‘first’ is the need for me to develop a website in order to get my name out there in cyber space. That appears to be the most efficient way to be found as a counselor offering mental health services. The other is the need to write a blog to go along with this new website. I was advised of the need to write a blog to go along with the website, because otherwise this is not something I would have most likely started. It’s a huge risk to put something out there for others to form judgment about and maybe not like what I’ve written. But here I am, doing just that. I wish at this point I could give you some guaranteed-to-work-solution that will eliminate any fears or anxieties you may have to get beyond your next dreaded first. But I do not. Many times in my life it has just amounted to me making up my mind to dive in and get it done. I had to get past that moment of it being my first and was reminded of a quote by Anais Nin, which says, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”​ I want something to change. Very simply, I want to be found by those that are seeking a therapist, which would eventually be me.

Which brings me to another first that many individuals, couples, and families have when they find themselves in a crisis situation, or are just not happy or satisfied with the status quo of their lives. The process of deciding to seek counseling is a first that brings up many conflicting emotions. Once a decision is made to seek counseling there is then the task of finding someone with whom that individual, couple, or family could form a trusting relationship. This brings up another range of emotions, because after all, this is a person you will be sharing many of your most hidden and guarded thoughts and moments. As a therapist, I understand these fears of firsts. Sometimes you have to experience that ‘first’ because staying where you are is just simply more painful.

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