Journey of Life

947F91A9-B1D8-49C6-8138-5C2EEA15DF62Here I am, home from my counseling session and so thankful of having such great counselors as I deal with life. I would not be where I am today had it not been with each one.

Mental health awareness has been quite visible lately in the news and on Facebook of not denying or keeping your head in the sand that it does not exist. It does. Look around and listen to the news, there is mental health issues of all levels around us. Some being hidden by a mask or fake smile and those that are down right out there and may cause issues.

Why is there such a stigma of counseling and sadly in the church making people feel shame in going? Many years I secretly went to counseling almost an hour away to avoid my church and members from knowing I needed help. You know, those that will say I did not have enough faith in God. Those that will bring shame, which is why I went out of my way to go. No more!8DDBBD6E-CF15-41B4-BEFC-5BD3D2AC9032

I found myself, as I was leaving my counselor’s office the other day and several women were in the waiting room. I couldn’t help but think about them and wonder why they were there, too. Did they feel shame being there or did they just accept that they, too, need help. For a moment, and to be honest, I felt a judgment of them, just as many would and have in the past and/or in our experiences. Wrong! I captured that thought quickly realizing I just walked out of a counseling session. I am no better than them and we all need to support one another. It’s that stigma that latches on.  I’m sure others have had that of me.  While that quick lesson allowed me to see both sides, I politely smiled and wished them a good day. As we make these appointments and deal with life, that is self-care and much needed for me, you and others.  It’s okay!

We all have issues. Even counselors, doctors and so forth. I totally recommend seeing a counselor for issues or just to stay in tune with life and healing for yourself of past, present and for the future.  In my case, it started with marriage but nowadays it is to help me grow and heal some much-need broken places in my spirit, soul and body. I am a better person with counseling. Not having a spouse to relate to and cry on his shoulder or my close friends that do not live near, I have my counselors. Yes, counselors.

For this period in my life, I started with one to help me get over my last counselor of four years that left due to health issues.  We were dealing with abandonment issues in my life, yet I was abandoned by her. While not her fault, still it was and is still hard some days. Talk about a double whammy! Plus, I have another counselor to help me move forward in life, not so much focus on past counselor. Both have been good for me in my journey right now.  It’s been a good thing.

A2D1DCB8-345F-4FBF-9E47-A34CDC8843BAJust with my last appointment, she said that a poem reminded her of me of my past counseling experience, which I will share. Perfect. Again, I have had the best and thankful for what each one has done to help me grow, understand life, and even understand myself.

So, if you are considering to go see a counselor, do it. Give it time so each one can get familiar and build a relationship.  If after a time and there is no connection, change your counselor but do not quit taking care of you. There are some really good ones out there. Just know YOU MATTER and YOU are worth it.DE7BECC3-28B7-4B8B-83B3-C9265B356DA0

Just FYI, there is a lot of information on Pinterest regarding mental health, groups on Facebook and Google searches, too.

I Am Worthy

I Am Worthy!12BE7E16-A8D2-49AE-8B6F-B93188D0496F   You Are Worthy!

It has taken me years to get that in my thick skull to understand and feel I am worthy. I am sure I have wrote about this before, at some point.

At times regretting it took so long to get here but on the other hand, a relief that I am finally here. I am ME. The Lord knew me before I was even born, He had plans for me and what I was to face in life, never leaving me but loving me, just as I am.

25C9C74C-4032-4844-912D-F00358AAFA33So many times, I looked to others for my worth waiting for a compliment or to know they cared in some, small way or the hugs I craved. When received, my hope and worth in life became alive and joyful. Somebody cares for me. Sadly, short lived. The memories of that moment of high feeling that may last for days, comes down to trying to conjure up the memory or that same, sweet feeling and hearing words said directly to me. While I can remember, it is not the same. Sadness overcomes my soul for I need another fix. Somebody please tell me you care for me, hug me please as my mind is screaming, pat my arm so I can feel that touch again and burn it in my memory, I am desperate for connection.

I would never share those thoughts or words with anyone, always knowing I was desiring and screaming on the inside. In hopes one day, I would be loved by somebody and find my worth.

Thankfully, I had a counselor that heard the cries within and speaking of them with her, I no longer had to carry them alone. The Lord truly knew my heartache and allowed her to intervene. To share them brought embarrassment and shame but brought healing each time.

0917CC9A-78AD-4BC9-9154-22ED5C8E3B30The cage I was in of desperately wanting love and worth of others can only come from the Lord.  Releasing others from their attention and love that I required and hungered for only comes in small doses but receiving at times sometimes unexpectedly is so much sweeter.

I know without a doubt that joy, my sense of love, feeling special and worthiness is all from the Lord.554B51EB-EC85-4756-89E0-6041796A6FB7

When I don’t feel and know that within, my attention has wavered to people, not God. I always knew that deep down, but I thought it was easier to get and receive from those I can see and touch.

His Love is forever and ever.  It is where my love is focused upon that determines the outcome.

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870 Days

652B2586-29F0-48E6-A4E4-AB1FB25A3117I can honestly tell you, I dislike a part of the code of ethics between a counselor and client relationship.  I totally understand that the counselor’s personal life is private while the client shares their life and deepest, darkest secrets.  That’s fine because that is why you are there in counseling.  

While I do understand the boundaries during the process of counseling, I also understand it after counseling has ended between both but I just don’t like it.  The connection is no more, as if it never existed.

As I started counseling over four years ago, it recently ended due to health issues of my counselor.  Jokingly, although some seriousness in me, I have wondered maybe I caused her to have burnout. Possibly!?

With our time together, I found her to be one I could confide in and be honest with and that is exactly what you want in a counselor, a connection. While she maintained boundaries in her profession, I still considered her closer than my own sisters. I could talk to C16F158F-ACF3-4CF3-B616-32E1C8C0E1E6her in complete confidence, truly feeling she cared for me not only as a client but as a person. To be listened to, heard and understood, brings healing.  I have to say, she was one of the best.  I feel blessed to have had her in my life, when I needed her the most.

The word, had.  I had her in my life. Now I don’t. It’s that code of ethics that comes into play. Again, I really do understand but I really don’t like it. Okay, I am having a temper tantrum, and I’ve had a few.44590330-BB3A-43DD-86EE-727802A14440

At one time, a brief comment was made between us that no friendship relationship while counselor/client. Okay, fine. It was when she made her decision to close her office, it all became real and quite upsetting. Hoping now, at least we can become friends on Facebook to stay connected, was my hope. Nope!

Okay, now with that, a real temper tantrum because not only can we not be friends on Facebook, but no contact for three years. Three years!  As of today, that will be 870 days, but who is counting? Ha 6062824E-20AB-4CA3-93C2-A01347B364F0

Again, I do understand and I respect her in this matter. I just don’t like it. It’s like the song, ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.’ Well, this is my blog and I’ll complain if I want to, while working through it all and having fun, too.  Getting through the grief.  It would not surprise her to know I have a countdown timer on my iPhone.  I also have one of my retirement date, which is definitely more days than I want to be reminded.  It works for me.

In three years, I guess the reasoning is that the facts spoken within her four office walls will be forgotten, she will forget me and I will forget her and life goes on as if we never knew one another.  Can that really be true?

For me, not possible. On my end, she will always be a part of my testimony. While I am adjusting to the abandonment part of this situation, I still have my moments of grief and missing our talks.

So, perhaps this will help somebody know of what to expect when considering counseling.

Even though we both go our separate ways, I feel the Lord led me to her at the right time. He prepared her in this area for me, others clients also, but He knew I would need her many years before I even entered her door.  That’s God!

8E1FED02-9CEB-4A34-A7AE-D82DB646EA89The Lord knows and will put the right people in your path.

I really miss her.  Sometimes I hope she reads my writings, perhaps to know I care and appreciatative but be encouraged, too, because she helped me be who I am today.

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Grades of Grief

1CC51986-2CC6-456F-BCB2-98B5AF2690B2     I have had my share of grief in life and no doubt, you also.  It, of course, can come from a physical death of a loved one or friend but grief is shared among other losses and the pain is there.
     Growing up and probably until my own mother passed away, I dealt with deaths and the visitations, funerals and family gatherings afterward never wanting to lose touch with cousins and extended family members, but you do.
     It was when my mother passed that it all became real, the grieving of what was and what will never be.  While we were not the mother-daughter connection as pictures show and memories are made of, still she was my mother.  Sitting at traffic lights looking up at the beautiful sky and seeing the clouds, the tears would flow were my usual bouts of grief.
     Just a few years later, while trying to maintain my own home but also my father’s home and all of his financial and medical affairs, my marriage was dying.  I could feel it, I knew things were not right. I blamed myself as I was being pulled in many directions and apparently neglecting him.  While that was all true of caring and doing for many, I am not to accept all the blame and I will not.  Still, grieving the marriage of what was and what will never be.
F36661FC-75AE-4792-88F7-1F4EFB5ACE0E     Through the years, I have lost friendships for whatever reason by job change, moving, etc. no doubt, you have also.  Realizing their friendship was just for a season, whether it be their season or mine, it still hurts to lose the closeness. Depending how close we were, the grief can become intense, not just uncomfortable for a bit.
     With that I found myself to be distant with some because of the hurt, the grief of losing them. They are still alive but not there. Just recently, I went through this with someone very special to me. Every level of grief was there still and I knew it. Even today, I now teeter between the depression stage and acceptance.  This can last for a bit.  When sadness hits, I cry and then I get back up accept what is. Thankfully the anger has lost its power but it was there and normal.
     Whether it is a person, a pet or whatever to cause your heart to ache, it is normal.  It just shows you are normal and have a heart and love within that you shared.
Looking at the chart of the many levels of grief, I recognize each one and understand when it hits.  One of those, ‘been there, done that’ quotes.  No matter what your situation, grief is hard and exhausting.
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     Understanding the levels of grief in whatever you are facing, it will help you through it.  Normal.  Cry if you need to and then carry on the best you can. Some days you will need to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.  Normal.  Will life be the same?  No.  A new normal will form and you will adjust.  One day, your experience will be encouragement to another; you made it and they will also.
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Thrown Out to the Wolves

2C082FB0-2E80-42E6-BB9B-CD20F2D371D6Due to many weeks of building construction and using a side door to get to my counseling session, now many months ago, it was exciting to watch the progress and new facelift of the building be revealed.   I enjoy renovations.

It was during this construction and after my counseling sessions, my counselor would walk me to the side door, which was nice of her to do although uncomfortable. Knowing that she had to unlock the door to let me out and re-lock once out, I got that.  Plus, I liked that she was secure in a now empty building.

For whatever reason though, each time we walked through the hallway to the exit and usually I am tagging behind her a couple of steps, I felt a sense of dread.

Our session was over, so just random everyday talk while walking was awkward.  I could talk to her about my life, what my weekend plans were, etc., but hers could muddy the water as her personal life is off limits unless she opened up, which was rare and I understand that, too.  Once when on the walk to the door, passing the main office, she said the office secretary was a friend.  I get that, I do, but just another part of me not accepted to be in her life as a friend, because I am a client, rejection hit my heart.

I would love to be friends with her but I need her expertise in counseling.  Still the walk to the exit of dread, knowing she is her friend, I am not, my emotions of sadness and even jealousy smacked me around for a bit.

Oh the dreaded walk.  After the second time, I knew I could not do that again.  To have a few extra minutes with her was nice but not either.  It is like a kick of her foot on my backside of saying get out when at the door.  Odds are a childhood feeling and my adult life of not being wanted and triggered.  Imagine that!

The one good thing was the last words I heard her say to 6B450AC9-995C-471D-AD57-2804572B05B5me at our last session.  As we were ending our session, at the door to once again do the walk, I stopped and asked her to not walk me out.  Give me a couple of minutes and then lock the door.  My explanation to her was that I felt like she was throwing me out to the wolves.  That is how I felt and I could not take that again.  Her reply was, hesitating but then with a smile and feeling pleased I feel was, ‘you are taking care of you.’  We parted ways never to see each other again.

As much as I miss her and our sessions, that was a good parting of ways.  I am glad that the moment was etched in my brain of this ending.  I am taking care of me and will continue.  I feel the Lord is healing broken places within me, and I want. 534CC35E-E7FB-4D02-9504-0C4DE6425A32

Even though situations in life can throw us through some memories to trigger the feelings within us and make us feel unwanted, rejected, bring sadness, and whatever else, it is then that we must know that the Lord will never throw us out to the wolves.  He loves us.

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Stepping Stones

I was recently told by my former counselor that she was just a stepping stone in my journey of healing. So true but so hard to grasp when my heart was breaking reading the truth. Fear of letting go and going forward is scary. img_0304

As I remember my past and each person involved in my life, just like yours, they were each stepping stones to where we are today. Each one, we learn from and grow while in some of those brought hurt and sadness and are stumbling blocks. Either way, through each, they pushed us forward.

I don’t like change and this last stone I was pushed off due to circumstances out of her control, which made me unsteady. Actually, they all do but with most recent ones, the distress is great.

ADB8E177-52DF-4509-B97B-FF79A7DD854DTo recognize and accept finally, it makes it easier to understand and go forward. Reminding yourself, you can do this and you do.

No matter of those before, they will always be a part of your life and testimony. I would not be where I am today had it not been for each person that was a stepping stone in my life. For that, I am thankful.

B1336C71-9397-4B79-8801-EB0B05C9D46DI am stepping onward, sometimes in faith believing, and moving forward. We have to in order to grow and heal.

The Lord has a plan for each of our lives and He will get us to where we need to be. Trust Him as you go about the stepping stones in life.

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