I went through a couple titles for this blog post. Getting Help. Help. Reaching Out. Talking to Someone. Using euphemism didn’t feel right. I don’t want to hide this or shroud this in euphemism.
Here is what I posted on Facebook a week ago:
Started therapy again. Tonight was my first session. Maybe it’s weird to share this on here, but maybe we should be as open about this as we are about our dentist appointments. Teacher friends, especially, I just need to remind you that we are not alright. Parent friends, we are not alright. Friends who are teachers and parents, there are so few words for what we are going through. Not much more to say other than remember to ask for help.
I don’t like talking about silver linings, but one silver lining of this pandemic is that all therapy has gone online through video calls. That suits me better because it’s hard for me to get in my car and head out to an office during business hours. After school, we’ve got playing and dinner and homework. I would probably have to drive pretty far, deal with parking…it’s just a lot of hassle.
From a friend and colleague, I heard about the Truman Group, which specializes in mental health and counseling for expats–Americans living abroad. I think they were always a telehealth company, because of all the different countries and time zones. I was able to pick a time that worked for me (8:30 pm) and all of their counselors have experience overseas.
It’s not the same as talking to someone in a room on a comfy chair or couch. I have to bring my own tissues. But I’m so glad I’m doing it.
I saw a therapist a little bit in college, then in grad school, and then again after my kids were born and I had really bad post-partum anxiety. This feels different though. In some ways, I didn’t recognize where I was mentally and emotionally, because it doesn’t feel exactly like my old anxiety. (Ugh, go ahead and say “unprecedented” in your head. It’s what we’re all thinking, but I’m so sick of that word.) This snuck up on me. I wasn’t having panic attacks or trouble sleeping. I am just mad all the time. Mad and taking it out on the only 4 people I interact with. They deserve better and I deserve better. I can’t get my old life back yet, but I can work on what’s happening in me as a result of what’s happening to me.
I’m also reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. It’s a whole theme I’ve got going here. (Why yes, I read Untamed and Daring Greatly before this, how’d you guess?)
That’s all, really. That’s all I have to say. I’m doing all the things that are in my control to do. And then I tell myself about how I’m doing all the things that are in my control. I’m even doing face masks and teeth whitening strips. Seriously, if you have any ideas of things that are in my control that might make me feel a little better, throw them my way.
This feels anticlimactic. Was this post building to something? I guess not. The work begins. That could be the motto of my Game of Thrones House. House Griswold: And so the work begins.
AllisonAugust 21, 2020
I felt this: “…I can work on what’s happening in me as a result of what’s happening to me.” I like this so much more than “give yourself grace” in the moment I’m reading this. A lot has happened, and a lot is happening, around and to you. With that, I also felt the “what you can control” bit. I remember when my friend just looked at me and said “you have so much control,” when I was feeling like a tumbleweed once. Putting it in the form of a reminder was a pretty amazing act of friendship. Anyway, I believe in you, and I think you’re doing the right thing. Love you, and those 4 people you mention too.