10. The job is hard.
As soon as you mention the word psychology, people see it as an invitation to tell you all of their problems. A simple lighthearted conversation with a stranger can turn into me knowing their full family history and the reasons why they drink so much. It's lovely to be the person they open up to, but it's hard going when you're out with your friends at a pub and you can't find an appropriate break in the conversation to tell them you need to leave.
11. It starts with you.
The whole "you have to want to change" is surprisingly ultra relevant. A huge majority of people I've worked with weren't really looking for change; seeing a professional was just the thing to do. It's alarming how many people want to improve their issues and yet somehow not change anything in their life.
12. Also important.
People are funnier, weirder, braver, more outrageous, more terrible to one another and more resilient than I ever expected. Also, you can smoke a whole turkey on a BBQ.
The eople around you, people you might interact with on a daily basis, some of them have had really messed up things happen to them. Some have been tortured (like actual real torture), some have had loved people choke to death in their arms, some have had to kill others in combat.
On the non-trauma side, what I found rather shocking was how everyone can be affected by mental illness.
Loving mother? BAM! Now you think the mafia wants to poison your drink and train your child as a spy. People can become psychotic due to depression, schizophrenia, even drug abuse. Successful student - BAM! You just got into major debt because you gambled it all away while having a manic episode.
Mental illness strikes at random and can't be well understood from the outside by your family and friends. It's like an invisible curse, and people actually shun you because they're scared of you, and don't get what you're going through. All they see is this "weirdo." People get really lonely because no one understands them. (If you're affected: professionals actually kind of know what you're going through that's why therapy helps!)
14. The good stuff.
I've learned how good my parents and family are. I had issues with my dad growing up and I thought I had it bad. But hearing the stories of my patients and trauma survivors made me realize how truly privileged I am. Some people have truly seen the worst of the worst and they still have to strength to sit in front of me, alive, and sharing their story with me. And I freak out and cry over small things. It has taught me how resilient the human spirit is, and how lucky I am to have lived the comfortable life I have.