Millennial Counseling

Sometimes I just do not understand things in life. Surely I am not the only one.

DB086997-9FE1-4DE9-8257-69EE4E0773E6In regard to counseling, years ago and even today, others think you might be crazy to go for counseling or perhaps have a lack of faith in God. Trust me, I have experienced both of those situations. I know with myself, it is nice to have someone trusted and knowledgeable to talk to and gain advice by looking at them in the eye and knowing they are there with you, there’s a connection.

Back in 2002-2004, I went at first and finally insisted that my husband attend counseling so that we could get help 3F17B921-C853-4F57-8608-E331CA7B84D7for our marriage. Mind you, we were both active at our church and this did not look good if they knew we were seeing a counselor, the lack of faith part. We drove one hour to and from in order to avoid anyone knowing that our marriage was crumbling. I was too embarrassed and actually numb as to what was happening so this seemed to be the answer. It was great for awhile, things were improving between us. It was the fall of 2004 when it all went downhill.D2A19302-87E0-4F0E-BD9F-11542A8221E3

I was just done. Done with him, our marriage and done with that counselor.  Being betrayed by him, now the counselor. What do you do with that? I was slowly inching my way into a deep, dark hole of despair and depression only surviving by tending to my children and struggling to do that. While I was there for them physically, the rest of me lacked and, therefore, they lacked having a mother truly happy and whole. All of which I regret as I dealt with anger toward their father of what was lost in our family realm due to his choices, basically grief in the midst of it all. 

Years have passed and I thank the Lord that the boys have done very well but damage is there, as they also suffered, silently.  In many articles, discussions, etc., many argue whether is best to leave a bad marriage than stay and in my case, it was best that I stayed, so I did. Easy? No!

Finally, in 2008, I met with a male counselor for a year before he moved his practice out of state. Enough to get my mind calmed from the chaos of family estate issues on top of everything else. Also I learned that I had a stroke, probably due to the stress of it all. At least this counselor was only fifteen minutes from my home.

A new job for me, my son graduating, another son nearing graduation and mixed in with some friends that I could see trouble ensue and also a husband losing his job of twenty-two years, due to an offshore situation. Still dealing with a few family members and the hatred of me, being the Administratrix of now my brother’s estate, carried over from my parent’s estate, due to greed. How much more? Actually, I was afraid to ask how much more could I go through.0327EB99-60D1-4BFF-9F82-763285A949FC

Fast forward, life got busy as the boys graduated, college, moving to and from dorms to apartments, work, etc. Enough to keep me busy and my mind occupied of the issues and feelings stored within. The empty nest syndrome was alive and well causing now an emptiness along with a loneliness in my home. Each day was like the next while existing and lost in knowing who I was.

7F945197-238E-4E04-9046-7C1219A7A939As in my writings, I share that I saw my former counselor for four years and she was only two miles from church, if that, back in 2014. It did and does not matter any longer to be concerned in what others think, wondering if I was crazy or if I had a lack of faith. I was taking care of me. I had to. I still see counselors, as I find it helps me and I know I have come a long way.

AFC8DA0F-A4D9-4C90-A649-8F5447CEFE5ENow, I am dealing with a son, in the millennial age group, that could use counseling. I mentioned to him and have sent him leads of many in his area that would be good for him to go talk to. He knows I see a counselor, he never asks why but I have no doubt that he can see that he has a happier mother, and I am. Taking care of me so I can them, when and as needed.

Why is it that these millennials nowadays feel that going to counseling is not needed by going and sitting across from one another. It was when he said he would get counseling online. I just cannot grasp that. Perhaps if in an area that is remote but not where he lives. How can there be a connection? I would miss this closeness of meeting and talking, feeling safe to talk about whatever under the sun. I have loved my counselors, even the first one, even though we had an issue that was not handled properly.647E8292-1776-46F8-A84F-0552A21654D0I discussed this with my present counselor recently while trying to ‘get it’ in my head how this would help him or anyone. Trying to imagine myself in that online counseling, there’s no way. Those four years, my former counselor could pick up of me closing in due to depression, lack of self-worth, many physical signs and help me understand myself that a monitor would not do, I feel. I realize technology is the way of life nowadays and while I love it also, face to face counseling is important.

In all that and my thoughts and opinions, it is just that. Whether it be my son or others considering online counseling, that’s their decision. My son is an adult and he makes his own decisions in life. Still, I am his mom. I just have to pray for him, love him and trust the Lord to cover him in his daily life. I must have faith, as He knows all about my son.

 

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Little by Little

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Little by little the thoughts of you are slipping away unsure if it really matters, as I sometimes wipe my tears away.

You were there but now you are gone, while I do understand life goes on.B20AFD0D-E8E6-43A2-9967-844EDFEFCEB4

The journey of life takes many turns, and I am happy to say that I have learned.

Each day holds something new but my remembrance brings me back to you.

2354E5BF-54E8-4404-BF59-CE7A246ED04EHow can I forget what you have done, as it was you that made me to believe in who I am.

So many thoughts and words to say but the way it ended there was no way.

I think you would be proud of me of what I have done, I sometimes wish I could share.

Am I ever a thought in the mind of yours, perhaps wondering if I am doing okay?

I am trying so hard to move on, but I still get hung up with the lack of closure we had.F0A28DBD-4DB9-42DE-9D82-B36A5C3632C9

Thoughts of gratitude most often I have, but still I have bouts of anger that appear.

No matter whether I am a thought or not, I am so thankful from the bottom my heart.

I would not be where I am today had it not been for you, and I know that was all in the Lord’s plan.

So little by little I will go about my days, knowing my questions of why and my hurt will go away.39EAE351-D11A-4164-B39F-623D41901EF3

I wish you well as I try to let go but knowing you will always be a part of my testimony.

I will keep moving forward and enjoy each day, knowing my days ahead will lead to joy.

You may never read this and that is okay, it is just my way of letting go, little by little, day by day.

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In my previous writings, I have mentioned my counselor, now former counselor. I had been with her for four years, weekly if not twice, and to count it all up, that is a lot of time together. Besides the Lord, she knew me quite well, more than my family and friends, actually better than I knew myself. The closing of her counseling services was like a death to me, so I still grieve. No matter, I am always thankful for her. 

 

 

Past Present Future

36859847-8A5A-4506-85AE-45C768209177Last night, as I stood at my kitchen counter cutting up vegetables for our Christmas dinner, I could not help but to think of how many others are doing just the same.  While some are celebrating Christmas already and the joy felt in these homes, with children screaming with delight DD51C1EB-378A-4FE8-A277-60E216708330or perhaps a child already crying over something while a mother and father are exhausted from putting the final touches for their Christmas celebration.

Thinking back of the excitement and anticipation of Santa from when I was a child and then with my own children, all of these thoughts helped me with the ache in my back standing there which seemed like all day, to be one step ahead in my preparation.

It was from joy and excitement in my thoughts to the sadness and the thought of many not feeling so joyous and depression knocking at their door or worse. Within this time span over my vegetable plate prepared, I went from past, present and future in my thoughts, somewhat like the Christmas movie, A Christmas Carol. 2FE8E5A0-AEE6-4AEE-AEA2-0642BDF58916

Sadly, I remember being in that state, too. No matter where each of us are in this vast array of emotions that exist, the Lord sees and knows our name and where we are. Some may doubt and question that with an undertone or outright anger of not so, how could He? Questioning His love and care. I understand that as I have been there also. While I knew different deep within, I sure did not feel anything, trust Him or anybody else for that matter. I was angry with Him, myself and with others and life itself. Definitely not a fun place to be.

E3539BCD-8F78-43EC-B951-77380D63FC33I did not understand the emotional pain endured for years and the isolation I put myself in while wearing a mask with work or public appearances. I definitely struggled, fighting through a depressive state. Thank God I had my children as they were my focus to hold on but even in that, I am sure they did not feel the true joy in my life, as their mother. Still, I managed and I am here, perhaps just for someone to read my own experiences and to give hope. Thank God, He did not give up on me.C9E4F7BB-A203-43A8-B2D8-B6A10C44C797

Sometimes life does not turn out to the expectation we had hoped for in our mind. I never thought I would go through what I did and have but I did, I went through. Is my life perfect? No. I can say that my mindset is a lot better though. I had to work on myself and trust God to get me to this point. I am with myself 24/7 as you are with yourself. If you want change, you need to change, not for anyone else.0EE32B92-F35F-43A1-B892-A24959108EDE

While I had my church and my faith in God, I pulled away  in the isolation of the depression hovering 6515C897-7ED1-4B84-B58C-82A4B6C554AAover my head. As the Bible says, the enemy is out to kill, steal and destroy. He wanted to knock me out.

After years of mental torment of unworthiness and everything else that I believed to be true, I went for counseling, this was five years ago. Best decision ever. Was it easy? No. It was worth my time, money and the emotional ups and downs of understanding myself and in healing many 8A5C9536-F5E4-41B6-A135-16B18934163Abroken areas of my life, which I am still working on and plan to continue. This was my past and is my present.

In the present, I am feeling excitement and joy as I once did in life or perhaps and honestly moreso. I am looking forward to the future to finish out my years with the same and more. It took one step forward and sometimes two backward to get here, and still, but I keep moving forward and desiring more, trusting the Lord. I wanted a change, and that’s a start from the past to be present now and my goal for the future.95C57C62-1A6C-4305-952C-7547691BC035

As we go into the new year and resolutions are made and many broken, do not let that hinder you, it happens. Still, set a goal for a healthier you because it is only YOU that can make this happen. You are worthy. Trust Him.

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I Cancelled Thanksgiving

5C2A1F8F-F0E8-4B04-B87F-AC23C8C8CD13This time last year, my life was going in all directions, feeling lost, abandoned, grieving, overwhelmed and well, you get the picture.

There was an excitement just months prior of me enrolling in a medical class, which was a big step for this old girl.  I finally felt empowered enough to move forward after many years of feeling hopeless.  Counseling for years was helping me cope and understand myself plus my faith knowing I could do this and my dreams and desires were coming alive. Wonderful.  Life was good.

It was in September though as classes started and my counselor of almost four years decided to close her office due to medical issues, of course, unexpectedly. While I understood and was concerned, I could not help but feel abandoned by her.  My heart was hurting and my emotions were everywhere.

I would work full-time, go to class in the evenings and when I left, I sat in my car and cried, the grief was too much.  This class was too much.  My life was too much. 6315B5C0-B00E-4882-B65D-6B42AD8F745AHow can I do this? Overwhelmed was an understatement.

Through all of this turmoil within, I also knew I had to put a Thanksgiving dinner together for my husband’s family and our own, although my oldest son, now married would be with his wife’s family several states away.  The month of November was one with my nose in the medical book, studying for finals the week before Thanksgiving, my house not ready and no desire to go forward, just managing the best I could. My surprise was to get a 94 on my final, which shocked me completely. The joy of the results disappeared soon after, as I was still falling apart within and now no counselor to counsel me, left totally in the dark.  Now the anger was more prevalent due to it all.

Being so overwhelmed and grieving, I cancelled  Thanksgiving.  I did. I was done.

Thanksgiving Day was lonely in my home, just like any other day.  My youngest son, living an hour away, decided to stay at his home.  I offered for him, me and his father to go out and eat but he had no interest. Loneliness all around with depression raining down on each of us.

Finally, it was late that night when I spoke to my son, instead of texting.  In the voice, a lot can be heard and discerned.  I knew he was sad over no Thanksgiving.  He probably thought that since his older brother was not present, he was not worth it.  Still, that thought brings 4BD339ED-93A0-4EE6-BECF-84F34CD16FEDsadness all over me.  I will NEVER cancel Thanksgiving or a family gathering again.  He did not know my circumstance and the struggle I was dealing with but I was wrong.

In our telephone call, with my motherly instinct, thank God, I told him to get ready as I am coming down to his house.  It was dark and late but off I went to be with him, I apologized and told him I will never do that again.  We went to eat, get groceries, do all of his laundry and went bowling at midnight.  We both had fun and I put a pot of chili in his crock pot to enjoy the next few days.  In the end, he received my undivided attention and his mother’s love. He needed me and I needed him.

This year we will have the family in for Thanksgiving and if I get the house clean, fine and if not, fine.  I learned my lesson.959C31B5-EC01-444A-AF14-044F96E476B1

Thanksgiving is the holiday where people come together. At least, that’s what most of us are conditioned to believe. While Thanksgiving has the potential to be the most inclusive and unifying holiday on the calendar — particularly for families — it also has the potential to generate the most loneliness.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-art-closeness/201511/4-reasons-thanksgiving-is-the-loneliest-holiday

Holiday Depression, it happens! 

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays#1

Self-Care During the Holidays, it’s needed!

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-importance-of-self-care-during-the-holidays/

Accelerate

3E25D218-716C-4109-83EC-BB9EA2750E57There have been so many years to where I was stuck in a depressed state of mind, body and spirit in my life that I did not see a way through the dark pit of despair.

Walking aimlessly day to day from home to work and back again was my life. No goals, desires or dreams, total hopelessness. Wearing the mask of a smile while tending to the bandages wrapped around my broken and frail heart. Will there ever be more, I would ask so often C4F4348B-5A7D-4E57-B429-29DF2B769643within myself of my life here on out. I saw no hope.

Now it seems that this past year, everything has been accelerated, as in making up for lost time.

Last September, I took a medical class that was completed in eight weeks. Let me tell you, it was accelerated and more so for this old mind to grasp, but I passed with a 94.

Now I joke when I tell those that need to know, like a new doctor recently, that I am presently seeing two counselors a week. While they overlap in topics at times, one I feel is to get me through a loss through feelings of abandonment and where I lost ground somewhat and the other is to push me forward. So, I told 9CFB3676-1B38-4E3B-ADD1-13B42DF06D9Fhim that I am in accelerated counseling, and we both laughed. Funny but true. I have lost too much in my life and I need to regain my years back, as my age is adding up to numbers that I find I shake my head at in shock. I want more in life and I know the Lord has more for me.

Part of my loss has been in my marriage, as I have mentioned in my writings at times.  Recently, talking to a sweet, young girl in our office the other day when she dropped off paperwork for me, well basically listening as she spoke more to my assistant.  I could not help but ache for her and encourage her before leaving. Here she is living with a guy for seven years, recently engaged of which I think pushed by her and understandably so, after seven years together. They are both miserable and she wants out but feels stuck, as she feels seven years will be wasted.  Hopelessly feeling she has to start again.  In my mind and my assistant’s mind, it is better to leave now before marriage, house and children.  Run sweetheart run! Who knows but God what is in store for her but hopefully more than a sad, depressed and unhappy relationship whether married or not. Good news, she left.

AB9D14D6-708F-442F-8401-55BBDF102E48So many things have happened in this last year moreso that I cannot help but see the Hand of God at work. While it was rough and I took a nosedive last fall/winter, I was being pulled through with my nose to the grind in the medical class, while most times falling apart in an emotional chaos afterward.  Another approach was with the acceleration with counseling this year that was put in place to keep me focused. Most importantly, trusting the Lord that He surely has a purpose and a plan for my life.  There is light at the end of this tunnel and I am going through.D2B58A4D-9428-4B02-898D-0BA474E1422B

We all need to make a choice of staying stuck or moving through. I was stuck for way too long, still am, but I want more. As they say, no hell or high water will stop me now. I have a goal, which is to move forward. Unsure what and where forward is right now but I know to keep going. I want the last course of my life to be fun, enjoyable knowing the Lord loves me and is with me.

D3529520-8857-4DFA-A404-23D03899AAD7You, too, have a choice. Unsure where you are, whether spinning your wheels or stuck in the mud, as I have been there. Decide you want more. Take care of you. If you need counseling to figure life out, get counseling. If your energy level is depleted, go see your doctor and get blood work. It might be that you are low in iron or off in other areas within your body. If depressed, get an anti-depressant for a bit to get over the hump. Go for a walk, if just for fifteen minutes or stand outside (then you can say… you are Outstanding) and look around and breathe. It is a start. Nobody can do this for you. You have to make a choice that you want more and that you are important enough. You Are!

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/god-can-restor-your-lost-years/

The Wilderness

B112A881-D709-462B-8110-422DF57971B5Many years ago I went through one of the toughest battles ever, feeling lost in the darkness of my thoughts and feelings with nobody to turn to.  It’s interesting, twice this past week, this time of my life came up in conversations.  I discussed with my counselor but also listening and encouraging a friend the other night, who is experiencing total hopelessness in her life, wanting to die.  Sadly, I knew exactly what she felt and heard the screams of her begging God to let her die.

Taking day by day but really just existing, it got so bad I remember feeling actually numb and not knowing how I got from home to work, vice versa, and dealt with life.  I remember driving to work, knowing deep within that 7C031C4F-1822-45B7-AFEE-4A4AF7B3E0E0God was carrying me. He had to carry me. The Footprints in the Sand picture and the words that I have read many times, became real. One of those moments when you think or say, so that is what this feels like.  Yes.  He was carrying me and at times dragging or pushing me. Had it not been and had I not had my faith in Him, I do not know what I would have done.

Many in the church were present around me as I tried to go and worship but still, even in the midst, I felt invisible.  I worked closely with the Pastor with typing and tending to his paperwork and correspondence, but even he did not discern, acknowledge or offer to see through my heavy heart or hear my silent screams.  Alone in the dark for years not understanding or able to confide in others. I had been hurt so much by those that said they loved me and cared so how could I trust another.

Perhaps the walls surrounding me were so high, that I had built and rightfully so and normal, that they could not see or reach out to me. Still, if you cared enough, chip away at the wall to help me tear the walls down, as I needed freedom from the hell within. Desperate and hopeless, just as my friend.

Years progressed to more years and I felt I finally gave up.  One last straw broke me. Isolation and depression attacked my very being. My life was between going to and from work and home to repeat the next day. Being an empty nester, I did not have to act as though I was fine because I was not.  My husband was present in body only but nothing more, just keeping the legal form of our marriage license intact only.814A9057-3FDA-4418-9080-178EC9794093

Even though the dark days of this wilderness journey was horrendous for me, today I am much stronger in my faith.  It was through those times and many nights curled up in my chair struggling to live through the emotional pain and mental torment, but I had to trust in the Lord. He said in His Word that He has a purpose and a plan for me, He would not leave or forsake me.  I had to trust Him. Even when I was so angry with myself, others, my life and even God and then to express such anger to Him. My faith deepened even through my screams of anger at Him. He knew I was angry anyway, I had to be real with Him.

Wildernesses are not wasted by God.

As bad as it was, I know the trials that come now won’t last forever and hopefully not as long as the wilderness experience I had.  Tomorrow will be better.  No matter what comes, I must trust Him. You, too.

Know He loves you. He knows your name.  He knows where you are.  He knows all about you.  Trust Him! ✝️

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God does not waste any of our life experiences and promises that although, life might not feel good right now, he works all things for our benefit and for the purpose of transforming us into the image of his son, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:28-29). https://asistasjourney.com/2012/06/29/a-wilderness-experience-depression/

Wilderness Experience https://www.gotquestions.org/wilderness-experience.html

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SHAME

 

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Shame – Wikipedia
Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self, withdrawal motivations, and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness

I cannot make that word large or ugly enough to express of how much it has affected my life.

To keep shame hidden and unaware, is a weight I have carried and many carry daily and throughout their lifetime.  The thoughts that come that we are not good enough for this or that, the negative that has infiltrated our minds from childhood and through life is somewhat disabling.

It was not until a few years ago that I understood shame and it’s effects upon my life.  Still, this morning as I am looking and researching many websites about shame did I realize that I was triggered just a few weeks ago of something that put me in a downward spiral of anger, unworthiness and sadness.  While I managed and coped, I realized today that was shame again heaped upon me.  Not understanding the situation and why somebody that was dear to me would ignore me basically.  I took that as I am unworthy, they have lied to me all this time and I am a nobody.  While I identified I was angry, it was not until writing this blog did I recognize shame.  Disappointment and all the emotions became alive with this situation, I became stuck.  It’s shame, yet again.  Shame, it’s time to go! Thankfully, through this period, I had my counselors to allow me to talk and work through it all.  Just to recognize shame, it cannot stay.

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Shame wants us to hide and be all negative about ourselves that we will not fully succeed in life.  It’s a great ploy of the enemy because he knows that if we had the confidence and compassion toward ourselves, as we do others, we can make an impact.  As a Christian, the enemy does not want that at all.  Keep him or her quiet and all is well.  Becoming aware of shame and how it has tormented me, I will speak out and go forward.  It may knock me for a loop, as it did recently, but I will bounce back.F6035147-A86B-4B42-99AC-84F8E79DC483

To understand and to put a word with the feelings is enlightening.  Why I never knew of shame really before in life is unbeknownst to me.  Perhaps it wasn’t the time.

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Shame is feeling sorry about who you are as a person.     And toxic shame is feeling bad about who you are as a person all the time – it is pervasive.  What is Toxic Shame?  (The Little-Known Mental Illness) LonerWolf  https://lonerwolf.com/toxic-shame/

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First, identify what shame feels like in your body. How do you embody shame? For many people, shame feels and looks closed down. We tend to embody “closed down” by hunching our shoulders or looking down, anything we can do to hide. We might clench our jaw, hold our hands as fists, or harden our gaze. The longer we hold these closed down expressions or “poses,” the longer we embody, feel, and think shame.   How to Overcome the Weight of Shame  by https://www.recoverywarriors.com/the-weight-of-shame/

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👉🏻 Be aware! 

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For more information about shame, Brene Brown is awesome!  https://brenebrown.com/