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.

Do Not Cry!

A6F81475-ECE3-4F9F-AE52-53929BA045B9Is every family dysfunctional?  I just do not understand sometimes.  A lady I work with said once to me and we laughed as it hit home, too, but said, ‘If you look up the word dysfunction in the dictionary, a picture of my family is there.’

Each of us are unique and each family. We all have hang ups and quirks.  Life.

I have been recognizing and understanding my own life and family dynamics moreso the last several years while in counseling, has been eye opening.

Just over a month ago now, my older sister and I were on our way to see a movie, just to have some fun hanging out.  On the way, something happened that would change things in my life.  Disappointment and sadness gripped my soul.

77DA73C3-6C9A-4601-B3DD-C663390E84A7I normally contain my emotions with her, as that is one of the shameful things within our family. We must be able to be strong and controlled.  No crying or sign of weakness.  I could not.  I could not continue the outing so I took her back home so I could just fall apart of which I did.

Still to this day, no contact from her calling to check on me.  I find that interesting and even hurtful but then again understanding that concept of being strong and controlled, which she maintains and that I must, too.  Just the get over it mentality.  I cannot do that.  Plus, I don’t want that.  There is a time and place to be strong and controlled  in our emotions, such as work, but she could clearly see I was at a real breaking point emotionally in my life.

That situation, which was major to me, but nothing to her.  No empathy.   What devastated me so much, that situation was to disappear and no longer affect me.  It goes under the rug, never to be remembered or spoken.  That’s been my life.  To marry a man with the same concept of emotions, too.  I have hid my tears way too long.  Interesting, after writing this, I ran into her at the grocery store today.  Strangers as sisters.

I am not the same person I was walking into my counselor’s door many years ago and drawing closer to the Lord in my relationship with Him.  Thank God.

It’s okay to have emotions and to not feel shameful for having them.  It is okay to cry, sometimes cry like a baby.    What is not okay is to dismiss the emotions whether in yourself or others.

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Just a few Bible verses on crying.  Most importantly, even Jesus wept:

“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”  (Ecclesiastes 3:4). 

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).  

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled … Jesus wept” (John 11:33, 35).

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

“Put my tears in Your bottle” (Psalm 56:8).

… Am I Special?

Numerous times through my life I get to this point of wondering, in a certain situations, plus I feel a panic within because I don’t feel special.  Those negative thoughts emerge of not feeling loved, etc.

Whether we are young or old, we all want to feel special and should make it a point of making others feel special.

fa8e3947-a071-4e73-a7f3-3c588c3d7ea9-495-00000017993225c5Knowing this is a childhood issue that seems to be on the verge of healing within me but still it just stops in a panic, as tears always begin rolling down my face.  I cannot get past this point.

Something caused this many, many years ago and here I am and it still stops me in my tracks.  What made me feel so bad back then?

All a little girl wants is to feel special and loved.  Apparently, at some point that died within me.  Existence became the norm.  I understand how to exist but love, there I am hesitant and question its validity.

The past few days, I have been reading a book, “Think This Not That” by Rita A. Schultz, LPC.   My counselor talked many times about the neurons that can be rewired within our brain so this was a book that I knew would be relevant and carry on her information.

I totally recommend this book.  Today though, I hit a section called Breaking Free.  This chapter dealt with shame, the meaning, what it is, how it affects us, etc.  At the Breaking Free section within the chapter on shame, it brought back a remembrance and I just broke.  Big, hot tears flowed.  I had to put the book down to take care of me and my emotional turmoil within. As I write this, the tears well up again and fall.

Shame causes much pain and heartache, not even knowing it.   I really was lost and unsure what shame was when I started with my counselor.  A wise woman, as my counselor, helped me to see so many things clearer and that of shame.  How did I get so old and not realize all those years, I have been dealing with shame-based lies and the torment is presents?  Thank God I had her in my life to help me.

Something happened but to pinpoint it today, is a mystery.   I do know the Lord is healing me and this is no mistake I am reading this book, too. Just a little deeper into the mire of shame that has been heaped upon my head as a child and carried through adulthood.

When the Breaking Free section I read, I remembered when my counselor and I talked last, before her leave of absence, she said to me and I wrote about it earlier, “I care for you and I love you.”54775180-765f-4786-b227-cee1e0ac83eb-495-0000001666283ad2

In my mind and like I have questioned others when they  have said such to me or similar and that is, “but… did you tell the others (clients, people, etc.) the same?   Knowing, if so, I can dismiss the heartfelt words as I am not special. Too good to be true!

Just that thought of questioning their care and love for me and the possibility it said or expressed to another/others, my heart sinks within.  I truly hate when that occurs within me, it’s like all hope is gone.

Please love me, make me feel like I am special to you.

Oh my heart wants to believe and know without a doubt that I am special, cared for and loved.

I do and I don’t and repeat, at times.

Funny, this book mentioned is basically about turning the thoughts around, as I was being taught and now reinforced.  Like, I am doubting of being special and loved.   To turn it around and rewire my brain, I must believe and tell myself that I know she (counselor, in this instance) does in fact care for me, how could she not love me and I know I am special to her.  This brings peace to my heart and soul. 7A858015-0E7E-434D-9386-A279EF302AFB

I like that and want to stay here.  Hoping that rewiring works!   So many times we have discussed such in counseling.  I do know she cares.  Seriously, how could she not love me after four years of sessions weekly or more.  I am special to her, as she is to me.

Knowing full well, she has to maintain her role as my counselor still while on leave.  There’s a boundary that must be maintained although I so miss her and our time talking.

Not just her, there is one that I also remembered today in the same situation.  Jan is a well-known figure in our area and she was like a mother figure to me, especially after my mother passed.  If it had not been for her, her hugs and all, my grief and dealing with other things in my life, my marriage dying also, I cannot imagine what I would have done.  Her care and love proved itself to me during those dark days of my life.

0E8E6586-CCB7-4F5E-9E2E-6CFDF560210EI do believe the Lord places people in our lives at the right time to get us through a path we are walking.  As for the counselor, I was not ready for that to end.  I felt abandoned.  Still dealing with that but to rewire my mind and know it was necessary of this leave for her, I know she still cares and probably wonders how I am doing.  I hope so, ant not forgotten.

With Jan, in her public role, she is thought of by so many and she loves everyone.  I had a hard time with that at certain points because I wanted to feel special to her.  How can she love them, she loves me.  The chaos that can bring in my mind was torment.  Again, somewhere in my childhood, this is left dangling and I was hurt.

Today, it is possible and I know that, to care for others.  It is just sorting this out.  Perhaps bringing me to the point of healing of a deep wound within.  I’m so open for that.

c7d7b775-af1a-45f4-aac1-4d4a08cac7c6-495-0000001cf5eb797bUnderstanding and seeing this pattern also, I have people that mean a lot to me, as I am well liked and I am very personable.  So I know it is possible.

It’s the WHY inside me that I need to feel special whether to my counselor or to Jan, just two as examples.  Why do I fall apart when I start questioning them?  Lord, show me!

Narrowing down, I want to know where the root is at and where and when it started and dig it out.  I desire healing of this hole in my heart and to be whole.

Most importantly, I know I AM SPECIAL TO GOD, that’s all that matters anyway. ❤️

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Left Untold

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The untold story will wreck havoc on a family so in denial.  Where to even begin.  Is it a book that is written in annomity or by fact?

Kind of reminds me of the book, The Help.  You know the characters but you have to surmise and wonder.

That’s where I am.  Where to begin.  I have bits and pieces all around me in notes, actual chapters of how and what went down but putting them all together and tying it together, is yet another thing.

We can all write a book probably and I sometimes think why would I want to add another to the shelves that are way more popular and exquisite than mine would be.  Still, I have an untold story that just may bring hope to another.  Or at least add to some juicy gossip.

Who knows what will transpire but if it is meant to be, it will.

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Bondage of Shame

F042F83C-8810-4E8F-A593-A7CC565FD963Why is it that so many ads and prescriptions are geared toward sex?  I listen to a radio station that discusses an erectile dysfunction (ED) medicine and comments to make your woman happy, which makes me cringe.  Hearing this in an office setting, although I love their music, it is not appropriate.  Not to forget the commercials on the television that are quite regular, too.

While sex is natural and has been around forever, there’s a time and a place to have and to talk about it.  A subject matter that should be private between couples.  Still, with all openness surrounding sex, Internet, tv programs, books, etc., the fact that shame and even guilt is still attached to it for many.  Also, shame has been with us forever, since the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 2).

What’s worse is the fact that guilt and the shame started in your younger years with masturbation probably.  Nobody discusses this natural process with the body or mentions the “M” word and to say it aloud, it is almost like saying a bad word, even worse than the “F” word, which I detest.  Masturbation, it’s a secret, of hoping and praying nobody knows what you do, when you do it, or going so far even wondering maybe they do know, etc., which is where the guilt and shame grows.

Even with that, it’s expected and normal with guys, it seems and understandably so.  As I ponder this for a girl/woman and God forbid, a married woman (a Christian married woman), it is not.  As a child, questions may emerge and remain through the years of why do I enjoy this, what’s wrong with me, do other people do this, am I doing it the right way, and all the questions within and surmising of others persist, unknowing.

Being a baby boomer, this was not discussed, only jokes about sex was heard growing up.  Of course, not knowing about anything sex related basically but always waiting for others to mention facts in order to learn, whether right or wrong.  And in all my years, never of masturbation itself although a vibrator was joked about on occasion.  With that, I was smart enough to put two and two together.  Even posts about shame or articles from the therapy point of view, still to this day, the percentage is very low, usually it is about sexual adultery.  Hush!  Don’t mention masturbation, as it will go away but it doesn’t.  Shame exists and among those around us.

Always knowing, too, that Satan has a game plan to keep those that deal with this area to remain down upon themselves, depressed, isolated, private and to cause so much unworthiness within. Christian or non-Christian, he doesn’t care.

No doubt, there are many who struggle with the shame.  Having sex and feeling pleasure from masturbating, at the right time and place, is normal.  While sex/masturbation can become addictive, also fantasizing of another man/woman other than your spouse/partner, viewing porn, etc., those are of a whole other matter involved and counseling might be needed.

With that, please note, there is nothing wrong with counseling whether it be sexual, etc.  This is another area that shame attaches itself to in order to keep you in the same pattern with no healing or growth in your life.

A good counselor will not heap more shame on you but will help you process and figure out why, which will probably stem from your childhood.  Childhood issues suck!  Sadly, you may not even realize just how much so until discussed.  Don’t give up, as it may take months or even years of counseling to get to the root of this bondage of shame.

In childhood, many facets of this shame are due to abandonment, rejection, loneliness, feeling unloved, etc., and the act of masturbation soothed the hurts within.  Not only the reasons mentioned but provide pleasure, release of stress and aid in sleep.  It is not selfish but normal.

How sad it is that this area is so secretive, leaving a child and even as adults struggling and lost within trying to understand him/herself.  If no adult/parent was available or cared enough or know how to explain that this is/was a normal puberty role that happens, and to be performed in the privacy of ones own bedroom, the root of guilt and shame develop. While this all should be without guilt and shame, the child/adult is lost in the ‘I am bad’ mentality of shame.  He/she is not bad though.

Without a doubt, the adult(s)/parent(s) carry the same shame and unsure what to do, how to express or share with their own child(ren), leaving a vicious cycle between generations.

The good news is that because of Jesus, we can be set free from the bondage of shame.  Trust Him!