Goodbyes

I had my last appointment with my therapist last week. She gave me the head’s up a couple of months prior. She had been offered a wonderful opportunity and was working out the details with the powers that be. I was (and still am) thrilled for her because this seemed like exactly what she needed. I was also pretty bummed that after 6 years I would be alone in dealing with “the shit” life has thrown my way. Saying goodbye was not something I was looking forward to. I despise goodbyes! But I started thinking about how this is a goodbye to the psychologist but not to my friend. Dr. M has been more than just a psychologist. She has been my friend. 

Dr. M has helped me to recover the tools I need to deal with the shit that has been thrown at me and any future shit coming my way. I had the tools all along but I forgot how to use them. She has helped me to realize that any guilt or shame that I carried (from certain events) were not mine to carry. She helped me to identify the toxic relationships in my life and gave me the courage to set boundaries and let go of those who weren’t respectful of those boundaries. I’ve learned many things from Dr. M and I am so grateful to have had her guidance for 6 years. It was awesome to share a few laughs along the way, too.

Someone asked me recently, “Are you ok? Do you feel abandoned?” The answer is, “Yes, I’m ok,” and an absolute “No, I don’t feel abandoned at all.” Dr. M will give me a referral if I need one. I know I’ll still be in touch with her because she’s my friend. I have her cell phone number and her email. I know I am stronger now and I have the tools to deal with the shit that flies in my direction. I’m not worried about my mental health anymore. I’m going to be just fine. 

Before leaving my last appointment, (which began with so much laughter that my Dad heard us from the waiting area) Dr. M and I talked about having lunch sometime since we are no longer therapist/client. The appointment ended with a hug…and more laughter! It’s been great but now it’s on to bigger and better things for her… and I’m making some plans of my own. 

SNAP!

When I was a kid I can’t remember a time that my mother wasn’t trying to make me feel stupid. I don’t recall her ever telling me that I did a great job. She criticized me a lot; told me that I colored outside the lines or one sock was up higher than the other…things like that. I don’t recall if she ever even told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. To be fair, just because I don’t remember doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

But I DO know that as a teenager I DO remember. She never gave me praise for a job well done. She took every opportunity available to make me feel stupid, to make me feel that I wasn’t smart enough to excel in anything. If I showed interest in a certain class or activity, she would do everything she could to let me know that I wouldn’t like it, or that I wouldn’t do well. Many times, when expressing my own opinion she responded with, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Granted, teenagers think they know more than they really do but they should never be stifled the way I was.

Mom always made me feel like I was wrong for being smart, that somehow I wasn’t allowed to be smart. I know now though, that it was HER problem, not mine. She didn’t have but an 8th or 9th-grade education so she was very resentful that I had a better education that she did. Things were different back when she was young, and I was afforded much better opportunities.

To this day, I get angry when people talk to me like I’m stupid. I literally SNAP. Visualize Bruce Banner getting angry. There ya go. I know it’s unintentional most of the time and I choose to let it go, but when it happens over and over again? Enter The Incredible Hulk!

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2:23am

Here I sit at the computer, in the wee morning hours of Monday. I went to bed at 9:30pm Sunday night because I had 3 yummy Kahlua Mudslides and they really kicked my butt. (I should know better than to have more than one of any kind of alcoholic beverage!) After 3 hours of sleep, I was wide awake!

This is the time of the year when I get depressed. I just hate the holidays! I have never been a fanatic about the holidays but when my kids were growing up, I always tried to make it nice for them. It was fun making memories. I looked forward to having a house full of grandkids on the holidays to make even more special memories….but that’s where the depression comes in.

I don’t get to spend the holidays with any of the grandkids. It appears the newest grandbaby will be no exception. I’ve seen him 3 times since he was born, Sept. 1. I know they didn’t want to take him out until he was a bit bigger so I had no problem stopping by to see him. Chronic pain and mobility issues prevented me from stopping by more often. But now, my son and his wife are going here and there, spending time with her family…and here I sit waiting for them to come see me. They have gone out of town, and apparently, I won’t be seeing them on Thanksgiving either. So, it will be just Dad and I, once again.

That’s where the Kahlua Mudslide came in… I’m sick of feeling unnecessary, left out, and unwanted. I know alcohol doesn’t help but on the bright side, as I sit here my pain level is pretty low! Bazinga!

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. Mother TeresaRead more at_ https_www.brainyquote.comquotesmother_teresa_131834_img=2&s

Forgetful Mess

I swear, I forget things left and right these days. My pain level consumes me, even on a good day and if you know about chronic pain then you understand how difficult it is to stay focused.

I used to be able to multi-task, had a great memory, and even when surrounded by chaos I was able to get things done efficiently. Even when I worked full time and was running on empty most of my days off, I was still in control. The girls I worked with often commented how I was “on top of things” or “had it going on.” I was asked one time, “How do you hold it all together with kids and work and everything else?”

Those days are freakin’ gone. G.O.N.E.

Just gone.

This morning I left the house to go to town (28 miles away) and I didn’t notice until I got there that I had forgotten my phone. My only concern was if I had a problem, I would have no way of calling for help.

Saturday, before Dad and I left for our weekly lunch excursion, he asked if I needed the grocery list. I told him there were only 3 things on the list so “how the hell could I possibly forget them?” Guess what? I remembered 2 of those items but never did recall the 3rd until we got home.

I need both hands to get out of a chair. I have to set things down before I can get up. Well, if I forget my water bottle/coffee mug/phone or whatever else one more time I think I might scream! It’s just seconds! If I didn’t have to sit them down, I wouldn’t walk off and forget them!! It doesn’t help matters any that I walk with a cane so I only have one hand available to carry things. I have started keeping a tote bag next to my chair so if I have more than one item, I can carry them all!

A lot of people forget what they have entered a room for… I do this nearly every time I get up and walk into another room! I stand there scratching my head until I remember what it was I got up to do. Sometimes, I just go sit back down until it comes to me!

And trying to remember what the name of the movie was we just saw 2 nights ago or what we had for dinner last night or what day was it when _________? (Fill in the blank!) Lost cause. I have started keeping notes in a composition notebook. I call it the C.R.S. book.

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In case you haven’t guessed it, C.R.S. stands for Can’t Remember Shit…because I can’t remember shit!

I even keep a notebook in the car to keep track of where we go and the date. I have notes and notepads all over the house to help me remember things. If I don’t write it down, it’s LOST! I sync my desktop calendar to my phone calendar to help me keep track of appointments, birthdays, and other important dates. I’m lost without all of my note keeping aids.

Do you have a good or bad memory? Do you have any tricks or tips for helping you remember things? Please do share, because I am a FORGETFUL MESS!

10 Things I Have Learned With My Therapist’s Help

I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last 6 years. I never thought I would do this, not in a million years but I was tied up in knots, grief, sadness, depression, anger, and a whole lot of other detrimental emotions. I had to do something because I was sinking deeper and deeper.

I always thought, “Why do I need a therapist when I have friends and family to talk to about my problems?” The problem was that my friends and family were too close to the situation. I needed someone who was unbiased and professional. I needed guidance and I needed perspective from an outsider. I needed someone who would be honest with me but wouldn’t judge me, no matter what I told her.

That’s exactly what I got. The first therapist I saw is the same therapist I am seeing now. She has helped me more than I can even express in words. After just 1 year I was in a much better place emotionally and mentally. With each passing year, I have become much stronger and able to cope with the emotions I must deal with on a day to day basis. The issues now are of my pain and mobility, which are just as detrimental as the issues of 6 years ago but I’m strong enough now to handle it. Thanks to my therapist, I have learned a lot of things to help me on my journey and I think I will always hear her voice in the back of my mind guiding me and challenging me. I’d like to share with you those things in hopes of encouraging others to seek therapy if needed because it certainly does help!

  1. I am able to identify and handle my triggers, those things that cause me anxiety or sadness. I now know how to refocus my attention on other things or prepare myself emotionally beforehand.
  2. I have learned several different methods of breathing to help me to relax or calm down when I become anxious or even when I need to fall asleep.
  3. I learned that I do not have to engage with people who are being belligerent or unpleasant in some way. I do not have to participate in confrontational conversations, nor do I have to take someone else’s abuse or accusations.  I hold the power to walk away or not respond. I end conversations that are rude and condescending. Why perpetuate the problem?
  4. I have learned that I am my own worst enemy! I am always second-guessing myself, making unrealistic demands of myself, comparing myself to others, over-thinking, and I’m very critical of everything I do. I have learned to curtail the urge to do these things! It’s hard sometimes, but I realize that I don’t have to be perfect.
  5. I have always known that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. But what I didn’t realize was that it was ok to NOT be someone’s go-to person for help and advice. I learned that those people sucked the energy right out of me and that I had the right to take care of me and say, “NO.” I let go of toxic people and made my life easier.
  6. I learned that my grief and sadness were valid. I had been through the wringer, as they say, and I had been carrying so much guilt and shame for things that #1) I didn’t do and #2) that were beyond my control. My therapist validated my feelings and helped me to realize that I could let go of those emotions because the guilt and shame were not mine to bear. Validation and a new perspective on things really do help!
  7. I have always been a people-pleaser. I’ve neglected myself for so many years in the past because I felt that others’ needs were more important. I always considered my children’s needs to be of more importance than my own needs when they were growing up, but there were still times I could have put my needs higher on the list. I have since stopped making everyone else a priority and am focusing on taking care of me! I am not responsible for anyone other than myself. My kids are grown and can take care of themselves. It’s time for me to take care of me. Of course, I still look out for my Dad. He’s almost 82 years old and needs a watchful eye at times, but for the most part, he takes care of himself.
  8. I’m an analytical thinker. I use information and evidence, as well as my own personal experiences to solve problems and form my own opinions. I am a logical thinker, so when people do stupid things it blows my freakin’ mind! I try to see both sides of an issue, which most people refuse to do – they believe what they believe and there is no room in their minds for any other position or way of thinking. I learned with the help of my therapist, that having an analytical mind creates conflict in that I can’t bond with others who don’t think as I do. Does that make sense? It’s very difficult for me to create friendships with people who don’t see things the same way I do. And that’s OK. I don’t dislike those people, I just can’t bond with them in the way that I would with someone of like-minded thinking.
  9. I have learned that it’s ok to cry. I grew up being ridiculed for being sensitive and for crying. Thanks, Mom. To this day, I avoid movies, songs, situations (like funerals, even weddings) because I feel ashamed to cry, especially in front of others. My feelings are just as important as anyone else’s and if I feel like crying then so be it. At least I can show sympathy and empathy for others, which is more than I can say for some people.
  10. Throw away the “should have, would have, could have” mentality. I’ve had this thought many times when I was dealing with past issues. It does nothing but waste time. This is a negative, unproductive way of thinking. The past is the past. It’s best to look forward and focus on the here and now. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in a place you don’t want to be. My therapist is a wise woman. She brought me out of that place and I’m not going back. EVER.

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So, these are just some of the things I’ve learned seeing my therapist. Of course, most of them I already knew (and I don’t know if this will make sense to you) but I was unaware. I was unaware of what I was doing and not doing in regards to my own mental health. Now I am more mindful of what I’m doing and thinking, and I am committed to myself.

Because I’m worth it. And so are you. If you are struggling, please don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to seek out help. You are worth it!