Today’s guest post comes from Sarah Terry. Sarah is a counsellor working in schools in the UK. She is also the author of “Inside the Teenage Mind” and hosts a YouTube channel where she gives mental health hints, tips and advice. Sarah also provides self-help online courses for a variety of mental health issues. You can learn more at www.sarahterry.co.uk.
I discovered I was an introvert around eight years ago when I literally felt like I was going mad. I had even been to my doctor to ask about early menopause and would often cry for no reason, pushing away those I loved.
I was working in a busy, open plan office at the time. My managers sat on the same desk pod as me and I constantly felt scrutinised. Although this wasn’t necessarily the case, my interpretation of the environment was such that I felt like a hopeless goldfish, doomed to provide entertainment to all passers-by. I would come home from work and cry, unable to vocally articulate to my (extroverted) husband what I was feeling, much less why.
I was eventually lucky enough to be in a position to leave my job and take up my passion which was to pursue a career as a counsellor. Having been qualified for some time, I quickly got a job in a high school and the rest is (sort of) history. Oh, and around this time, I found out I was an INFJ.
So, what was my problem? I was doing my dream job and now working part-time. I wanted more, I felt there had to be more.
Never feeling fulfilled is a common INFJ problem and having devoured many articles, taken many tests, and watched endless YouTube videos, I knew this, and it certainly DIDN’T help.
I was stuck.
I found myself continually coming across an author, coach, and fellow INFJ, Lauren Sapala, and I liked the no-nonsense way she expressed herself. I read The INFJ Writer, The INFJ Revolution, and Firefly Magic and each time was filled with hope. Then, Lauren announced she was holding an online course for intuitive writers. I had to do it now, or forever complain about what I hadn’t done and why I hadn’t done it.
The golden nuggets that I took from Lauren’s course were about using our creative brain to write.
Don’t overthink it.
Just write—about anything.
Handwriting is good.
Before I knew it, I felt like the hopeful 12-year-old whose most exciting day at school was the day she was allowed to write with a proper fountain pen. All was before me as I took my favourite pen and began to write—properly.
And so, I wrote whenever I could. I had been meaning to write some mental health hints and tips for the schools I worked for, so I started there. I wrote as subconsciously as I could, whenever I could, not stopping to check what I had written.
When I eventually looked back at my work, I realised I had enough material to make a substantial online course.
At first, I was disappointed with myself. Why had I wasted precious writing time regurgitating things I did every day? I wanted to write a novel. I had a whole cast of characters waiting to see the light of day. I had failed…again.
As my fellow INFJs, empaths and intuitives will know, this is our “go to” when things don’t go the way we had planned in our crazy heads.
It can be enough for us to abandon our work and wallow in the belief that things will never work as we want them to.
A few months passed and I carried on, waiting and wondering what would come next.
And then Covid-19 hit the world and the UK went into lockdown.
As more and more people contacted me for mental health advice, which I could not give in person, I realised I wanted to create a platform where they could access good quality advice for free. I started a YouTube channel which I ran for a few weeks. After my family and some friends had subscribed to my channel, views and subscribers seemed to dry up and I stopped making the videos. It wasn’t until a friend contacted me and said she looked forward to my videos and thought I ought to write an online course that things started to click into place.
I dug out my writing, set up my video camera and got to work.
The last few months have been the most fun in my working career and, even though I’m not the next YouTube millionaire, I’ve helped a handful of people, and I hope to help many more.
If someone had asked me when I embarked on my journey if I would end up here, I would have laughed, but it just goes to show, we can all be so wrong sometimes.
My top tips for helping with your INF happy ending…
Drop the introverted thinking: This is our third and therefore weaker personality function and can manifest as overthinking and a reluctance to accept help
Embrace your crazy: We are quirky and that means we don’t do things the same way others do. And that’s a good thing.
Forget the end result and focus on the journey: We are only here once and not for long. Use mindfulness and meditation to help calm your mind and focus on the here and now. This helps us to drop expectations.
Learn to like yourself: That means ALL of you, even the bits you don’t always want to share with the world. By accepting ourselves holistically we can use our talents to help us with our challenges
Sarah is a counsellor working in schools in the UK. She is also author of “Inside the Teenage Mind” and hosts a YouTube channel where she gives Mental Health hints, tips and advice. Sarah also provides self-help online courses for a variety of mental health issues www.sarahterry.co.uk.