What to do, what to do?

When I was newly married I started to feel like I was depressed. I was in college and they had a mental health clinic. I went to the clinic and met with a counselor there. He asked what had brought me to him. I told him how I was feeling and he responded that to him I wasn’t depressed but grieving. We discovered that I had never grieved the death of the man, who would have been my first stepfather. He died on the day he was to be married to my mother. I was around the age of 9. It was in the summer between 3rd and 4th grades. I remember when my mom told me. I remember talking with his foster brother outside while I was sitting on a swing on the day of the funeral. What I saw was my mother was devastated and his foster brother so sad, that I held in what I was feeling. Then years later as a young adult it came out in the form of depression. Once the counselor said I was grieving that was all I needed to know and I don’t think I saw that counselor again. He had done his job for me when I needed it.

It is important as you do your healing journey to seek out professionals to help you move along when you need it. There are many techniques and methods to help us and having the right one at the right time is very beneficial.

The important thing about seeking a professional is finding one that you can feel some trust in because it is important to be vulnerable and share. Usually, the first session with a professional is spent getting to know each other enough so that you can have a sense of whether it will work for you or not. Being open and honest with this person is important. If it doesn’t feel like it will work it is ok to tell them and they might have suggestions about how best for you to proceed. It might be the person or it might be the method.

Recently I had such a conversation with my counselor. We were talking about different methods. The one we decided that might be good for me to try is a different method than my counselor normally uses so she suggested a different counselor for me to work with as I use that method. An example of various approaches is listed here at Talkspace.com. I am actually going to try something not listed there. It is called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or rapid eye therapy.

In my work doing family history, I have come across a place called an insane asylum and those days are long gone. The world of mental health has progressed far from lobotomies and shock therapy. And thank goodness for that!

It is not a sign of weakness to seek professional help. I mentioned a few blogs ago how it is just another form of help that our body needs. We go to a medical doctor for medical ailments and seeking professional help for recovery from trauma is just a version of the same thing. Our brains are part of us and we need them to be healthy as well.

I also want to mention that feeling uncomfortable with a therapist has more than one meaning. Feeling uncomfortable because you are facing something difficult to work through is different than feeling uncomfortable about sharing or being in the presence of someone. Counseling needs to be a safe space and the latter is definitely a sign it is time to find someone new in which to counsel.

I have had many different counselors through the 50 years of healing. Most of them provided what I needed to help me move forward. Occasionally I encountered one that was not helpful. Sometimes I didn’t stay long with a particular counselor because it was not helpful but also sometimes I only needed one thing to get me moving in the right direction like the one from my story.

Our mental and emotional health is as important as our physical well-being. A good book that illustrates that is called, “Our Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk. Finding someone to help us be healthy is important so maybe you should give it a try.

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1 Comment

  1. I love this book mentioned. I did EMDR a year or so. Best choice has been the IFS – Internal Family System for me. It is like putting humpty dumpty back together.

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