Let me be clear- it is HARD. This journey has honestly taken down my facade and I find it difficult to fake it. That used to be my go to in life-that ridiculous phrase "fake it until you make it." What an awful way to look at getting through tough times (and honestly not a great work life approach either). We always feel we need to put on a happy face or act like we know everything out in the world. Do we, though? Why is asking for help such a bad thing? How does asking for help make you less of a person or an employee? I would rather someone ask me how to complete something then having to fix the mistakes afterward. I would rather tell someone upfront that I am having a bad mental health day then apologize after for not being "on it" enough. We apologize for SO MUCH when we could be upfront about it. Let’s break down this stigma so we do not feel the need to “fake it”. It is incredibly draining to always have to put on a show out in public. I have done it a lot over the last two months, but honestly this week I have yet to be able to fake a smile. I just do not have the energy to pretend to be anything that I am not. This is ME during grief and a pandemic. This is ME worried about money and looking at how I can juggle 3 jobs. This is ME during a stressful time. It is not the green grass over the fence....I am not here describing the ideal therapy journey. I did not go to one session and felt "better' afterwards. Guess what? That is OK! It is work and at least I am showing up everyday and trying to put the work in.
My coworker sent me this excerpt from “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. “Grief Shatters. If you let yourself shatter and then you put yourself together, piece by piece, you wake up one day and realize you have been completely reassembled. You are whole again, and strong, but you are suddenly a new shape, a new size. The change that happens to people who really sit in their pain- whether it is a sliver of envy lasting an hour or a canyon of grief lasting decades- it’s revolutionary.” Sitting in these feelings and not brushing them off is something I have never done in my life. I was always one to push those feelings aside and forge ahead trying my hardest not to look back. This time with exploring these feelings with a therapist, a variety of books, and support groups I am truly LIVING in my grief and depression for the FIRST time in my life.
Therapy and sitting in my grief is going to change me one way or another. I am going to feel different afterwards. I lost my rock and my anchor since I was a child and now I am here. Yes, I have a wonderful husband and friends. Yes, I am fortunate to know so many people who are here to help me through it. It does not change the fact life will look VERY different from now on and of course so will I. Which is why I am writing this Grief/Therapy Journey to share with others. You are NOT alone. This is not always a walk in the park. You are NOT broken. You got this. Huge shout out to those who started their therapy journey as well this year. I am proud of you. You got this.
I am writing this blog entry after having THREE therapy sessions and ONE grief support group. If you do not remember, right before my first session I was a ball of panic. I couldn't stop the anxiety on going to my first session and all of the unknowns. I had to talk myself out of just walking out of the building before I found her office. Seriously....I was a mess and a half. Once I got into the office though, my entire body calmed down and I was fine. I was able to answer all of her questions with ease. The first session really is like an interview or a first date. I was in it. I answered questions and elaborated when we discussed my childhood. I cried. I shared. I left with a little chart of what grief looks like.
My second session was via video chat on the phone. Although this was not my ideal way to go through a grief worksheet, it was nice I could do the entire session on my lunch break in the parking lot. For those who say they have no time for therapy, THIS is such a wonderful option. I was able to eat, talk about my triggers, talk about my memories of my grandparents and mother, and not have to work more for missed time. That is the part I appreciated with this session. I will admit going back to work was not great, but I did it!
My third session was after a hard couple of days. I actually started writing this blog entry on that Monday, but I was a serious mess. When I look back I can barely remember what happened that day. Here is part of the "draft" of that Therapy Journal entry....
"My week started with one of those days where it was just a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”. No, I did not wake up with gum in my hair or trip on a skateboard…BUT it was just as emotionally was incredibly draining. I had NO warning signs that my week was going to feel like trying to get out of quick sand. (Also…was anyone else expecting a lot more quick sand scenarios in adult hood?) I woke up Monday morning, walked into work, and the panic started to increase in my heart. I could feel a panic attack ready at any moment to the very point I started to break in front of my manager. The flood gates could not hold anymore and I started to cry as she asked me how I was doing. My heart was heavy and I honestly did not feel the same amount of serotonin that I feel on a normal (or my normal bad) day. This feeling of dread has followed me to this point in the week. Thank goodness, today is a BIG day in my therapy journey. Today marks my THIRD therapy session with Therapist A and today is my FIRST grief group meeting over zoom."
So my Third session we discussed my panic attacks and then we moved to self care. I laughed because PRSL has spent so much time on self care during the pandemic. You would think I was a pro at it. Once again she gave me a worksheet to go through, and turns out I am the worst at self care. It just shows you that despite knowing what you are supposed to do it does not always translate.
That sums up the majority of my sessions to date. Stay tuned as I dive into support groups and why I believe PRSL will be launching Support Zoom meetups monthly to help those who need to not feel alone. Tonight I am having a first therapy session over zoom with a different therapist. I think the one I have right now is ok, but I think I need to date around a bit. I do not believe we should settle when it comes to a therapist. If you do not feel a true connection that is OK, keep looking. This is not the time to just stay put because it is easier.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions about where to start. I am here. You are not alone.