I wonder sometimes when it became “normal” for people to have more than one child. When did it just become the expectation that if you get married, then kids would follow. Certainly, there are no written rules about any of this, but it certainly feels like some people think there are.
Well, guess what? I have one child, and I don’t know that I will have any more. Not because I’m not physically able too, but because, so far at least, we have chosen not too. I don’t feel like I should have to explain this to anyone yet I often find myself doing so. Why is it even something people need to ask about? I’m sick of feeling guilty about my choice or feeling like I have to put an asterisk next to my response to “how many children do you have?”
Look, I’m far from perfect and, while I try not to, I judge other parents too. But, please people… don’t judge when you really don’t have any idea what their circumstances are. And maybe there aren’t any “special” circumstances. Maybe he or she has just made a decision based on what feels right for them in their season of life. If no one is getting hurt or being put in danger, then keep your eyes on your own life!
When I had my daughter more than 6 years ago, I absolutely thought I’d be having at least one more a few years later. I always assumed I’d have two or three kids, and I know my husband did too. But, things didn’t work out that way. Turns out, as I’ve written about previously, having a baby broke some kind of emotional “damn” inside of me and I began a personal battle with depression that still sits with me today. I had no idea that the way these last six years have played out would be the path my life would take, but it was. God gave me this path for some reason. It has taken me almost as long as my daughter has been alive to realize this. Slowly I am even becoming grateful for this experience because it has given me a direction for my future.
However, the earlier years of her life were filled with really bad times for me. Days where I could barely get out of bed. Days when I didn’t get out of med. Countless medication combinations and some time in the hospital. Also, lots of time spent feeling guilty about bringing her into the world when I could barely take care of myself.
So, yes I have chosen to not have another baby right now. Quite frankly the “why” is not really anyone’s business but my husband and mine. But, since so many seem to be curious, let me try and explain it a little. You see, I made a choice not to get pregnant again because it wasn’t fair to that future baby and it definitely wasn’t fair to the daughter I rocked to sleep at night. It wasn’t safe for me to carry a baby on the medications I was taking and it didn’t seem safe (or fair) to my family already on earth to go off of them. I always had the goal of getting well before she was old enough to realize what was going on. I don’t think I quite made that goal because I have realized that this will be a life long battle for me… but I’ve come to learn that that’s OK.
She asks me for a baby sister or brother quite often and of course that hurts my heart. I try my best to be honest with her always. I tell her that my brain is "a little sick" and that sometimes I need to rest a little extra. I will continue to have age appropriate, open communication with her about my mental health and hers. One day, if she remains an only child, I will explain to her how hard it was for me, and why I chose the things I chose. And I think, even if not right away, she will understand. If a few years from now my husband and I change our mind and try to give her a sibling, I will do my best to answer those questions as well. But for now, I am just focusing on getting well so I can be the best me for my own little family.
Having children is SO FREAKIN’ HARD!!!!! And yes, having just one kid is hard too. And, let me be VERY clear… for those of you who have two, three, four (or more!) kids… I have no doubt in my mind that things are hardER for you. But, please, don’t tell me how easy my life is. Please don’t roll your eyes at me and tell me I have no idea... Is your house more chaotic with four daughters? Absolutely! Is your calendar busier with two teenagers than mine will be with one? Probably. But, parenting is NOT a cake walk for anyone, anywhere.
I understand how this can appear selfish to you… to those who don’t know me well, or to those who just don't understand. But that is not my truth. If you take anything away from this, please just remember that you have NO IDEA what is going on with people in the deep private valleys of their lives. Don’t judge me. Don’t judge anyone.
Have you ever thought about what is holding you back? What is keeping you from being what/where/who you really want to be?
I happen to be a pro at making excuses. Once in a while, they are valid, but most of the time they are just that – excuses. Underneath all the excuses, however, is something deeper. Something I wasn’t aware of until recently when I was called out on it.
“Why are you so afraid to be happy?”
A loved one said this to me a few months ago and at first I was like, “that’s ridiculous.” But, when the moment calmed down a little, I thought about it and it turns out it wasn’t so ridiculous after all.
Like most emotions, fear has a place in everyone’s life. It keeps us safe. It pops up in situations where we need to be more aware of our surroundings. Perhaps someone is following you or you get lost in an unsafe area of a city… Situations, such as these, require our nervous system to react so that we can run if necessary. It’s our fight or flight and we don’t want to dismiss or diminish it. However, for some of us, this part of our being can be hyperactive and this is when we get in trouble.
Fear can be a beast of an emotion. If we aren’t careful, it can take over and we aren’t even aware of what’s happening. I’m not sure when this happened to me, but it did. Fear has been running my life and it leaves me sad, nervous, and really freakin’ tired!
What am I so afraid of? Failure. What other people think of me. Letting others down. Making a mistake. The fall from happiness. So many things…
By living (and sometimes obsessing) in a state of fear, I miss out on A LOT. It has left me super stuck in this place that leaves me so unhappy. Then, when I have moments of clarity and motivation, I can look past the fear and have motivation to make changes. The problem with this, for me, is that I then “decide” to make ALL the changes at once. Then, the moment it gets even a little uncomfortable, the fear takes over and that’s the end of it. It truly feels like that last 6+ years have been a constant stream of one step forward and two steps back.
More than anything, fear has gotten in the way of my general happiness. When things seem to be going well, or when I might be having a good day, it makes me uncomfortable. I get nervous when I feel happy! How ridiculous is that?!?!?
When I get nervous, my anxiety takes over and if I can’t get it into check I become a “not so nice” person. For reasons I still can’t seem to understand or get ahold of, I sabotage happy times. I have a tough time enjoying things, because my mind goes to “what goes up, must come down…” I fear the bad things that may happen next. I fear the people I love will leave me, and so I push them away first. I let myself become a hermit so that I won’t be let down by the world outside the front door. I would NEVER let my daughter live this way, so why do I let myself live this way. Why do I do this to me?
Fear. It’s a beast.
“Where did Katie (that’s me!) go?!?!?”
I’m probably actually the only person who’s really asked this question, but as far as blogging goes, where did I go?
I can’t believe it has been over 2 months since I’ve posted. I’ve thought about it so many times and I really was committed to it when I started, but it always got pushed to “tomorrow,” which unfortunately is a common theme for me. I always seem to have a lot of goals, but not a lot of follow through. I have a terrible habit of setting unrealistic expectations for myself and then get overwhelmed and quickly fall back into unhealthy ways.
But regardless, there were two reasons I started this blog – both of which are still very much true.
My therapists’ favorite sayings is “what you pay attention to will grow.” A friend of mine says she pictures it as watering her garden. Her thoughts are like plants and what she waters will grow and multiply – and in some instances, take over. In other words, if you focus on negativity then the positive will seem out of reach and the suffering will continue. But, if you can get yourself (sometimes forcefully) to focus on the positive, it hopefully can become a habit that will increase your happiness.
I have a long list of topics I want to blog about and hopefully I can get some of my readers and followers back… but if not then that is OK too.
As the seasons change and the weather becomes cooler, I’ve had HUGE transitions and changes in my life in the last month and I let it get the best of me. So, here is to new commitments…
In my last post, I enumerated three road blocks I have identified in my own recovery efforts. Things that have gotten in my way on the search for health and happiness. Although I struggle every day with these things, the bright side is that I have also learned the healthier alternatives.
As I continue this fight to better myself, I hope I can slow the racing thoughts of negativity and find room for some healthier ways of thinking.
My psychiatrist is a great doctor, but we’ve been butting heads a little lately about my treatment. Despite this, he always reminds me of something that I wish I was better at. Managing my expectations. Of course, it’s good for anyone to set goals, but I keep getting caught up in wanting to make drastic changes to every aspect of my life and all at once. Let’s face it, that would be hard for anyone, but lump on top of that a struggle with depression and anxiety, and it’s really just a recipe for disaster. I am setting myself up for failure.
I think deep down I understand this, and I try and set smaller goals, but as of now I have a hard time knowing how to keep myself from expanding the goals and, before I know it, the expectations are out of control again.
Another concept that I have learned to try and combat, is the idea of “black or white”… all or nothing. This stems from my perfectionism, and it is a dangerous way of thinking. Dangerous because it very often leads to disappointment which often puts me on a downward spiral of unhealthy choices. Real life cannot be measured in black or white. It’s healthier to live in shades of gray. Things shouldn’t have to be perfect for them to be acceptable. I need to let go of the idea of only perfection is good enough.
Self-love and Acceptance
It’s no secret that I don’t really like myself. I really lack self-esteem… confidence. I am not sure when this started, but for as far back as I can remember I have been self-conscious. Despite doing well in school, I never had confidence in my abilities or my intelligence. Despite being a great athlete, in great, strong physical shape, I have always felt fat. I have never felt good enough. I am not saying this for sympathy, I’m just admitting fully for the first time.
The truth is, now I am overweight. But I definitely was not back in middle school and high school. I am sad for that young woman. Sad that she didn’t have someone to teach her how to feel good about herself. Someone to teach her how to be healthy in mind and body. Now that I have a daughter, it makes me even more sad. I catch myself sometimes let my anxieties and perfectionism seep out in my mothering. I want desperately for her to grow up differently than me. I want her to know how wonderful she is. I want her to know that SHE IS ENOUGH and that she deserves great things.
The interesting part of all of this is I think the first step in helping my daughter is learning to help myself, first. I have to find a way to be happy with ME. No one can truly do that for me, but ME. And, God willing, I can teach my daughter to live a healthier and happier life than I have.
For a long time, I have been so frustrated that the depression meds weren’t working. I thought that if I just had the right medication, or combination of medications, I would have this miraculous recovery. I wanted someone (or something) to do the work for me. Truth is, I didn’t want to deal with the deep seeded pain that is at the root of my problems.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe there is a chemical imbalance involved in mental health issues. However, I have come to learn that that is not the only thing. There are other aspects of life that keep you down in that deep, dark hole. You have to do the work to climb out. You need to find what is causing so much emotional pain and work, as hard as it can be, to LET. IT. GO!
Quick fixes have also derailed any progress in weight loss and bettering my physical health. I also searched for easy diets or magic pills that never resulted in any change, or at least not any change that lasted. People always say you have to make it a “lifestyle change” not just a diet. I have come to believe this too, but that doesn’t make it any easier. My sadness leaves a hole inside of me that I think I am always trying to fill and unfortunately I tend to fill it with food. Emotional eating is a real problem for a lot of people, but it is just another bad habit of mine that sends me spiraling and it’s only a temporary “fix.”
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So, where do I go from here? I have to keep trying, right? I need to slow down… take things as they come. I need to make one choice at a time and, hopefully, more of those will be good choices than not. Back to the drawing board. ONE. DAY. AT. A. TIME.
Happy September! I haven’t posted in a while… but I’ve been writing a lot. The problem is, I’ve also been deleting a lot. I’ve been struggling with how to articulate my life and feelings lately – I’ve been struggling, period, if I’m being honest… The feelings of depression sneaking up on me. Certainly I have had these feelings before, but it feels a little different this time… like a bigger let down.
I started this blog only a few month ago. When I started it, I had a lot hope and was feeling inspired. I had this vision of documenting this time of growth in my life. I wanted to look back at this time and be able to say, “see, I finally did it… I finally turned the corner.” Perhaps it was too much of a fantasy. Perhaps I set my expectations too high. I have a habit of that, after all (more on this later).
After a couple months of feeling pretty good, more often than not, I started to feel a little down a few weeks ago. My sleeping started to suffer again, my energy was a little lower. I stopped watching my diet and I really wasn’t exercising. And before I knew it, I was back in my dark place.
I feel a lot pressure. My husband says I am the only one applying this pressure, but its pressure none the less. My life feels like it’s at a crossroad, perhaps I’ve mentioned this before. I knew things were changing… I knew I had to make some decisions. I got scared… I am scared, because I am entering uncharted territory during a time of year when I have struggled extra hard in the past.
This time of year has been especially hard for me the past several years. As summer comes to an end, my daughter goes back to school, and the days start to become shorter, I often find myself feeling down. A lot changes in life toward the end of August and into September each year, and it invokes a lot of stress and dread… and on top of that, it’s my birthday next week. I used to like my birthday just as much as the next gal, but the last few have been depressing for me. I mean, no one wants to get older – and I’m certainly not old – but for me, my birthdays have become a marker of time gone by. Another year gone by during which I haven’t been happy with myself or my life.
Admittedly, I have a rather unhealthy obsession with time. I always find myself anxious over how much I’ve gotten done in a day as compared to what time it is. Toward the end of July, I found myself getting sad and anxious about summer coming to an end, even though there was almost a month left. I’m supposed to be celebrating a fun weekend for my birthday but all I want to do is stay home in my PJs because I feel so sad and defeated about the status of my life and the lack of changes I’ve made since my last birthday.
I’m guessing there is at least a few of you out there that can relate to these types of feelings. I talk about these sorts of things a lot in therapy and with those close to me. It’s a terrible cycle to be in for anyone.
Set goals/make plans --> do nothing/make mistakes/give up --> feel guilty --> panic about the future…
And around and around it goes…
I have been stuck in this cycle with so many different aspects of my life for so many years, I can hardly see straight anymore! I talk the talk about making slow but deliberate changes to better my life, but I really never “walk the walk.” I’ve been “trying” to eat cleaner and healthier for years. I’ve been “trying” to exercise more for years. I’ve been “trying” to lose weight for years. I’ve been “trying” to decrease my stress. I’ve been “trying” to (insert anything)…
Why is it that I used to be so driven to succeed but when it comes to doing anything that is truly for me I can’t seem to get my s$!t together!
Well, there are a few things I’ve learned about myself and, if you see yourself in any of it, maybe we can work on bettering these habits together.
Currently, these are my road blocks on my road to wellness:
Perhaps that is for another day…
But, for today, I am going to keep trying. I’m going to keep praying and working on myself. After all, my journey hasn’t ended… it has just gone off course a bit.
I haven’t been able to write in a little over a week. I tried a few times, but had a hard time getting much more than a few sentences down. I’ve been struggling a lot lately. About a week ago, I hit a mental and physical wall. I crashed. I’ve been so tired, irritable and achy all over. It’s amazing how much your mental wellness corresponds with your physical body… I needed a break, but couldn’t quite get myself to take one. I pushed myself too hard, I think. I did too much and I let the self-care lapse.
Several weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled “Self-care Part I – Katie’s Corner.” The gist of that post was about how helpful I found it, as part of my process to have better self-care, to have a place to go in my house where I could be alone and decompress. I was using it for urgent “mommy needs a timeout NOW” moments and throughout the week as a place of peace. I was feeling over all pretty good and I think I let myself ease up too much on the healthier routine I had established.
I am paying the price for this now. I struggled this past week… feeling down, feeling sad, feeling anxious… feeling very overwhelmed. It still amazes me how fast I can fall back down in the hole. Sometimes I feel like each time I fall, the hole gets deeper and darker. And anytime I work my way back to the top, someone with a big boot kicks me back down.
I need a reset now. I need to slow down, catch my breath, and slow my mind. My husband gave me some advice a few months ago that I think I need to go back to. He called it “back to basics.” When it first came up, I was deeply depressed, having tons of panic attacks, and often suicidal. He talked very calmly to me and said that all I needed to focus on was making sure I was fed, rested, and clean. The basics. So simple, right? Wrong… It’s hard. I think maybe it’s something we, as women, struggle with most. Putting our needs above our family’s. Add on depression that makes it hard to even get out of bed, much less take a shower, or make a healthy meal.
But, I like the idea of it. It gives me a place to start… something to focus my energy on. I often need a place to start. Maybe you do too?
-- the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.
Joy. A word (an idea…) that has left me with a lot to contemplate lately. I wonder how many people actually know JOY. I’m sure most people can define joy, but how many of us actually live with it? If you do, what brings you joy? What brings anyone joy? Love? Family? A job promotion? A new outfit? Sure, all these things make us happy but how many of us can say we live a life with real joy.
I think joy is much deeper than just being happy… just feeling like it’s a good day. I think joy is a way of life. A deep way you feel something good… a way you feel it in your soul.
I was recently listening to a podcast and heard a story about a man who consciously tried to avoid letting joy into his life. This way, he figured, if something good happened it would be a pleasant surprise. And if things didn’t go that well, he wouldn’t be disappointed. When he was in his 60s, he lost his wife of 40 years in a car accident. I don’t remember the direct quote, but he said that in that moment of loss his biggest regret was that he didn’t take the time to enjoy her… to really find the JOY in his everyday life with her.
I was listening to this as I was driving and I just started to cry – dang emotions! But seriously, this hit me so hard that I gasped and covered my mouth. I was living that life! I’ve been walking around on egg shells with myself trying to avoid anything too good from happening… trying to avoid anything feeling too good. If I had more than one good day in a row it gave me immense anxiety because I just expected the other shoe to drop at any moment.
My depression – specifically my negative thoughts – have been running (and ruining) my life for years now. YEARS! Years of life with my husband, my family, my daughter. Those in my inner circle know that the last one – time with my daughter – has hit me the hardest. The amount of guilt I have about this hurts me so deeply. She’s what’s important, BUT I’m important too. In the words of the wisest woman I’ve ever met, I am learning to “turn the channel” on my negative thoughts. I can’t do anything about the past, but I CAN do something about today.
I’m learning to let down the walls of perfectionism. I can’t stop the thoughts from appearing, but I can stop grabbing on to them. Through a lot of therapy, I am learning to identify behaviors (such as this avoidance of joy) and learning tools to help deal with some of my biggest struggles. And in group therapy, I have learned that I am not alone. This is the greatest gift that I have gotten out of my therapy. There is nothing quite like sitting in a room and listening to someone explain their own struggles AND their own triumphs in a way that you know you connect with.
Through this work, I am searching for JOY. In the acts of self-care that I have begun to practice, I am able to be open to JOY. By practicing mindfulness, I am looking for JOY. By sitting with my daughter and practicing being fully present for her AND for me, I am seeing JOY.
I want to FEEL joy in my life. It’s a process… it’s a journey. This has all been a difficult yet rewarding journey. Every day is different. Every day is a NEW day and every day is an opportunity for me to be a better mom… a better wife… a better ME. One day at a time. Bring me the good things, God… I think I’m ready now.
Relationships. *BIG SIIIGGGHHH* They are what life is made of. But, wow, they can be hard and stressful. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me on a personal level. The last several weeks have brought a lot of changes to my life and a lot of decisions are being made that, while not permanently, are going to have a huge impact on life. These things have made me a little more sensitive than usual… to put it politely. In the middle of this personal chaos, while I’m trying my best to practice my self-soothing skills, I got into a fight with someone I love.
Note: Because I have chosen to write this blog and share my deep secrets and feelings, doesn’t mean those in my life have also signed on. So, I am going to do my best to keep things anonymous even if it may appear obvious who I am writing about.
This wasn’t just any old fight or disagreement – it was a big one. Something happened several years ago that really hurt my trust with this person and I’m not sure I ever fully got over it. Well, it happened again.
Lets take a step back for a minute…
I have a long way to go to better my mental health, but something I have done in the last several months is become very self-aware. (In otherwords, I may not have the tools to fix my issues yet, but I know all about them!) I have a hard time trusting people, especially trusting them with my feelings. When I feel threatened by someone who may be about to hurt my feelings, I tend to either retreat or lash out. And, unfortunately, the closer I am to the person, the more likely I am to lash out. When I feel hurt or offended I tend to go back at that person with a lot of anger. During times like this, I have said a lot of things that I later regret. I have come to realize that I do this so that I can hurt them before they hurt me. I’m going to do THIS to YOU before YOU can do THAT to me. It certainly never works out that well, however.
Knowing this about myself has really opened my eyes to some of my behavior. However, it has also confused me a little about my feelings.
So, here is where my problem lies… I have had a tendency to over react for most of my life. I think it stems from the anger in my household growing up. The only way you may get heard is if you scream and yell the loudest. And so that’s what I do – sometimes it’s warranted, sometimes not. But then a little while later I just want the conflict to go away. And so, I apologize. I apologize ALL. THE. TIME. Again, we learn from our childhood and when you grow up in a house where you are always walking on egg shells, apologizing becomes a defensive mechanism.
I think this has left a lot of unresolved issues within my relationships and has left me with a lot of pent up frustration and anger towards some people. Because, often, when I am in conflict with someone, I just ended up saying “I’m sorry” when I’m not… OR taking full responsibility for something that shouldn’t all be on me. So, the “issue” that caused the fight in the first place never actually gets resolved. Consequently, little “issues” down the road quickly escalate to BIG issues for me leaving the other person thinking I am over reacting! And yes, to the outsider I probably am over reacting. However, the way I feel is REAL to me in those moments.
Because of my unhealthy way of dealing with conflict, I often get stuck after a fight with a loved one. Stuck in how maybe I should feel versus how I am actually feeling. And then I end up beating myself up for my emotional behavior…. And then, guess what!?!?!?! I end up apologizing! (insert bang head against wall emoji)
Let’s circle back to this week, shall we?
I was lied to by someone the other day that I care deeply about. This person has lied to me in the past, but has always claimed it was just to protect me. We’ve had the discussion about how I appreciate the good intention, but I always end up angry at some point when I find out the truth, so just TELL ME THE TRUTH to begin with.
I was very hurt. I was angry and so sad. I had just started to let my walls down with this person… I was just letting them in. They were stuck on the idea of what was lied about while I was upset with the lying in and of itself! People have their “buttons” and this is definitely one of mine and it was pushed!!!!
I was devastated, actually. I felt disrespected. I felt unimportant. I felt lost. I felt alone. I am not very good at regulating my emotions and I over flow quickly. I wanted this person gone. Out of my life. Don’t come near me again so you can’t ever hurt me again.
It’s not the first time the two of us have gotten into such a fight. Usually I end up going to bed and a day or two later we kind of make up and go back to “normal.” But something different happened this time. I told the person for probably the hundredth time, “I’m done with you.” Usually this is responded to with an eye roll or silence, but this time I got the response of “ok, fine we’re done because I don’t know what to do with you anymore.”
It was like a slap in the face – a slap I needed. I couldn’t catch my breath in that moment. I suddenly felt the walls caving in on me. In that moment, I had pushed too hard. I’ve pushed people away before that care about me, but never quite like this.
I don’t want to go into the details of the rest of that evening… it feels too personal to share. However, for some reason this person loves me even though I’m a whole lot to put up with and we worked through it. Perhaps it has even brought us to a deeper level of understanding. Do you know what I also realized after that night? I can be manipulative. I make empty and cruel threats directed at loved ones when I feel hurt or threatened. I think I do it as a test almost… if they REALLY love me they’ll come beg me to stay or profess their undying admiration for me. This is a pretty embarrassing self-realization, but its honest. It’s my truth.
At the end of the day, I am still that little girl who just wants to be loved and accepted. I mean don’t we all? The difference is that I now need to learn a healthier way to handle my emotions. Add it to the list… I’m a work in progress!
“Too many high hopes, too many disappointments.” (weheartit.com)
I promised on Instagram that I would write a post about shame, and I will, but something else has come up that I need to write about before I finished that post.
I want to write (and by write, I guess I mean vent…) about people who let us down. People who are the closest to us. People you let in over and over… sometimes against your gut feelings. Maybe a sister? Or maybe a best friend? A co-worker you thought you could trust? A spouse?
It doesn’t necessarily matter who the person is to you, because the feelings you have about the situation are probably about the same. If you love someone and they lie to you, it never feels good. But what if they spend years trying to earn your trust back and it just so happens that as soon as you let your guard down, they lie again.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on ME???” Is this an accurate quote? This is what I’m struggling with. When someone you trust makes you feel as small as can be, shouldn’t it be there fault? After all, THEY did wrong… right?
I’m feeling very lost regarding this. How is it that someone can lie to me on more than one occasion, but somehow I still sit here feeling bad?
When someone struggling with low self-esteem like I do, I think it’s easy to get beaten down by people. I have an insatiable need to please people. So much so, that even when I can recognize that someone is beating me down, it’s hard for me to step away. Perhaps those close to me may even take advantage of this weakness I have. I always seem to end up apologizing and trying to crawl my way back to them. I feel completely lost in this situation. I have let myself get close to someone again, I let them take care of me, I let myself feel safe and taken care of. Was this their plan all along? To make me feel indebted to them before they stabbed me in the back again?
Sometimes I feel trapped in my own head… trapped in my own life. I feel like no matter how hard I try to better myself, my life seems to always be one step forward, two steps (or more) back.
I’ve utterly lost myself. I’ve probably been lost for years, actually. In a sense, I’ve gotten clearer about things in the last several months… but my “clarity” has only revealed a confused and lonely 32 year old woman who has no idea how she ended up here.
I’m at a crossroads… a major crossroads I think. Things are changing around me and I’m having to make some choices. I’m tired though… exhausted by the constant rumination and self-doubt. I’m scared for the future, but even more scared of the present.
I’m trying to focus on ME… I’m trying to find some peace and some connection to something greater than myself. I’m searching for MY happiness… MY peace. Hoping I find some of it soon…
How many of you have been seeing the same therapist for many years? If you have been, is it because they are helping you make a lot of progress? Or is it because you are comfortable with them?
Have you stopped to think about this recently?
Honestly, I have been in and out of therapy for most of my life. However, after my daughter was born in 2011 I fell into a deep postpartum depression. Leading up to and during my pregnancy, I was not in therapy. I was taking a low dose anti-depressant and was feeling pretty stable. But when my baby was about 6 weeks old, our pediatrician (God bless him) saw something in my eyes – or perhaps a lack of something. I was barely surviving and didn’t even realize it until he asked me if I was OK.
He referred me to a wonderful woman in mental health. She was so kind, gentle and wonderful to me at a time when I was very fragile. She was always so welcoming and made me feel very comfortable. We worked together for about 4 years. She spent a lot of time listening and life flew by… but I struggled and struggled. There were times when I felt a little better, but most of the time I was suffering deeply. I was frustrated with not getting better. I felt very hopeless and felt like I was “un-fixable.”
For a long time I really believed that I needed to find the right pill. I believed (and still do) that chemical imbalances were the important key to improving mental health. I expressed these concerns to my psychiatrist at one of my med check visits. He was not very happy with me and my logic. He told me that I couldn’t rely on medication to get well, but rather that I had to do the work to get to a better place. Medication was to be a support, not a crutch nor a cure. I believe this now, but didn’t have the strength to hear the hard truth back then.
He kept insisting that I see this new therapist at his office. I turned him down for several months and felt a bit of anger toward him for quite a while because I felt like he was being unfair and not wanting to help me.
Finally, last September, after avoiding it for months, I agreed to work with his recommended therapist for a few months just to get a different perspective. I think deep down I just wanted to prove him wrong. I told my long term therapist that I’d be back in a few months…
I saw Holly for the first time right after Labor Day 2016. The first time I met her, I was terribly overwhelmed. She was VERY high energy and VERY cheerful. She sat way to close to me (I’m kindof neurotic about my personal space) and, as I’ve shared with her, I wasn’t sure if she was authentic. I was sure I’d be back with my previous therapist before year’s end. But, I committed to seeing her for atleast 3 months, so I made a few more appointments and went back again… and again… and again.
Fast forward 10 months and she has transformed my life. I recently gave her a thank you card and told her she was a “unicorn therapist.” I feel it is my privilege to be one of her patients.
she is unlike anyone I have ever met. She has said some of the most profound things to me in the last several months, then anyone ever has in the 30+ years prior. She pushes me out of my comfort zone. She makes me want to be better… for me, for my family, and for her. She shapes things and ideas into a new light for me. The passion she has for her work and for life, are infectious and amazing.
At this point, I am still having more bad days than good ones… BUT I can honestly say that for the first time in nearly 6 years, I feel motivated and have an understanding of how much power I have over my thoughts and emotions. I feel HOPE!
I wanted to share this story to give you something to contemplate if you’ve been struggling for an extended period of time. Even if you really like your therapist, ask yourself – am I just really comfortable? Are they really pushing me to be better and get well anymore? If not, then IT’S OK to switch it up. Don’t feel like you owe them an explanation or that, if you’ve been with them for a long time, that you have some kind of loyalty to them that is required.
If you feel stuck, then put yourself first and shop around for someone new. A new opinion may make all the difference. Be brave. Take the leap. Find YOUR unicorn.