Posts Tagged ‘grief work’

A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

Especially since I am a therapist in training, although, let me tell you, I felt like a therapist today, seeing clients, filing paperwork, checking all the boxes, circling all the things that needed to be circled and doing the work.

I can get super caught up in how much longer this road is and how the hell am I ever, I mean, ever, going to get 3,000 hours, but I can’t, I just can’t focus on that.

One hour at a time.

Fortunately I have some practice living a day at a time and when I reflect on how those days add up and all my accomplishments have come in small increments, but come they have, then I don’t have to get too caught up in the numbers.

It’s just a numbers game and I’m doing it the best I can as fast as I can without killing myself in the process.

I mean.

I still have to process all my own stuff, plus carrying around my clients in my head.

I do that now.

I have them in my head and sometimes I will think about them and once in a while I have a momentary flash, a connection, a thought or feeling and a little aha moment, that feels pretty special.

But.

Yes.

I do have to process my own stuff too, I have to look at my own emotional life sift through the chafe and dander and see what is needing to seen and what is needing to be let go.

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

On and off all day, with one really big cry in the evening when I was talking with my person on the phone and going over the shock of what had happened and how the death of my friend had not just hit me, but many others, the numbers of people who showed up to be present for each other and for the family of the deceased was extraordinary.

Not to mention all the people in so many other places he had affected, who’s lives he had touched–Portland, Seattle, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Oakland.

Gah.

I can hear him saying “West Oakland” in my head and such joy at his goofiness suffuses me.

For he was joyful.

Oh sure, sad and fucked up and scared and young and insecure, who hasn’t been those things, but also bright and kind and funny and so there for you and warm and sweet and musically talented.

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

Seeing all the pictures, all the photographs, all the expressions of heartbreak, my social media feed was just awash in tears and sadness.

I really had to not look after a while.

And I knew when I woke up having felt puffy eyed and sluggish and a bit off kilter that I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in the emotionalism of social media.

I needed coffee, some ibuprofen, and a good breakfast.

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

And as I expressed to my therapist today after plopping down on her couch and telling her I was going to cry and then immediately doing so, I also realized that some, a lot of the emotion I had in my body, on my heart, in my head, was not mine.

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

So I talked it out, processed it, linked it to other things, made traverses, expressed emotions, cried a lot in the beginning, but by the middle of my session I was going other places.

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

I am a work in progress, people, don’t expect perfection, I am far, far, far from perfect.

But.

I am loving and kind and sweet, I would hazard.

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

Sometimes too much and I get overextended and I give too much, I have been trained well in that way of life, being my mom’s caretaker, taking care of my sister, my oldest niece, an ex-boyfriend of five years who might as well have been my mother for all the caretaking he required, but I have grown a lot.

Oh, so fucking much.

And I know when I need to caretake and when the other person needs to do the job their own damn self.

And there’s no irony that I am in the care taking profession.

A. I am a nanny, I care take all day long.

B. I am a psychotherapist.

But it’s not my job to care take as a therapist and that’s a really intriguing thing for me.

I am also not there to make my client feel better, to sugar coat, or to shoo away uncomfortable feelings.

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

I like to look at them as signposts, directions, “hey this thing you do, it doesn’t work for you.”

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

They are signs that the way things are going, the tools being used for living, well they might not be working so well.

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

I remember the first time I did a line of good blow.

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

And I was fine with the way those answers were conveyed and I rather scoffed at a friends warning that perhaps I like that drug a little more than was perhaps healthy.

Um.

Yeah.

But when those solutions failed I had to find a better way, a different way and there was depression there and there was anxiety and all sorts of other juicy psychological terms and conditions.

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

I won’t tell that to a client, they have to find their own way, I think that I am a mirror, an attachment figure, a person who can and will have to withstand the disappointments and anger and discomfort of others so that they can learn how to use that information and devise their own solution.

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

Just like alcohol, ultimately, and every other drug I took, weren’t for symptom relief.

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

And today when I walked out of my therapist office I felt a lightness and a joy.

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

I have so much joy and passion in my life, such happiness, I felt light and though there is still sadness for the loss of this beautiful person, I have also a deeper connection to how alive I want to be and how alive I am allowed to be.

To be alive, in this moment, sober, and free.

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

Moved beyond words for my experiences and this amazing place I have been lead to.

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

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Get Used To It

October 4, 2015

Yeah.

I know.

Get used to the busy.

Get used to the overwhelmed.

Get used to it, kid.

You’re in graduate school.

And.

You have seven hours of T-Group tomorrow.

Ugh.

But.

Yippee!

I mean.

REALLY?

T-group is great, it’s just a lot of work, constant emotional work, I am working, let me tell you.

Working.

And hella grateful that this morning I reminded myself to not wear eyeliner and to make sure I was wearing waterproof mascara.

Done and done.

Because, this lady cried a lot today–T-Group brings it out.

The tears.

They flowed.

And.

The catharsis happened and I got insight and I felt better.

Had the catharsis happened without the insight, I think I might not have felt the way I did by the end of the group, but I got a load of insight and a lot of self-awareness around how I put up walls and where I need to work on being vulnerable.

And also how to process emotions that clients are going to bring up in me that are not pertinent to the client experience.

In other words, I am learning to deal with conflict in a calm manner.

I still am emotional and I cry easily, but I am coming to terms with that and also seeing that I consistently show up for the work and I do a lot of it.

I carry my weight in the group.

Perhaps a little more.

But then I am a greedy girl, I want to get every last drop out of it, I want to wring out the learning, I am paying an arm and a leg, yes I am, for the experience–I want to get every dollar out of it that I can, I am after all borrowing a lot of money to be there.

In that spirit I am grateful too for my Psychodynamic course and how the professor is teaching it and how she wants us to learn.

I was expressing to a fellow in my cohort at lunch what it was like, the experience of learning Freudian analytics, with this professor and how she reminded me of a professor I had in undergrad who taught graduate level TS Eliot.

I learned more than I could ever have believed.

Whenever I wrote a paper or took an exam I found that I had absorbed and rearranged the material in my head in a way that was new and interesting and I did not even know it until I was challenged to react to the work and respond.

This professor is like that, I like how she teaches, she uses everything, she is dramatic and smart and amiable, and quick-witted and a character and she makes learning exciting.

I find myself answering her rhetorical questions out loud in the class and interacting with her and the lecture and having a dialogue about the material.

It’s fucking fascinating.

That doesn’t mean it’s not exhausting.

My brain could use a little break from Freud.

I mean I spent three hours tonight, 5p.m.-8p.m., going over theories on hysteria, mourning, and melancholia.

It was a lot to take on after having a really raucous start to the day with some poorly handled treatment of a touchy subject in my Human Development class and then three hours previous in an emotionally charged T-Group.

By the time I was in the Freud class I was pretty kaput.

Then.

We wrap up the case of the infamous Dora and her notorious relationship with Freud and hysteria and move into Melancholia and Mourning.

Grief and depression.

Two things I have had plenty of experience in.

And yet.

I learned more.

The learning.

It just keeps happening.

I’m not caught up on all the reading either, but I am so much further ahead with it that I am able to keep up with my classes, and in the Freud class I am entirely caught up (in fact, I got into one of the vignettes in the reader and realized that I was actually reading ahead of the assigned class work.  It was so fascinating that I contemplated continuing to read it, but realized that I needed to focus on my T-Group reading and get my butt going on the Therapeutics of Group Dynamics–say that ten times fast).

The class I am least caught up with is my Human Development class and I just don’t care.

The professor is not a bad person, but she is a poor teacher and in the over reliance upon the work assignments and regurgitation of ideas, really with little to compel me towards further learning, I am loath to spend any extra time or resources on her class.

Of course.

Her class is the one with the highest work load and amount of reading.

Five response and reaction papers, one group project, on solo final project, a reader–a gigantic reader (bigger than any of my other classes, additional videos online, extra handouts (outside of the enormous reader) and the biggest text-book I have ever carted around in my entire academic career.

It’s not that I can’t do the work or won’t do the work, it’s just that when the work is so uninspiring and there is so much material to parrot back that I feel lost in the muck of it.  Overwhelmed by the sheer volume and what feels like frankly, the most boring of my classes.

C’est la vie.

There will be classes like this.

There have always been classes like this.

I am going to show up and do the work and let go of the results and not care too much about the content, that feels the worst somehow, as a writer, to be writing so much volume but to not have an emotional or even intellectual resonance with the work.

That is the work.

That is the exhaustion.

That is the rub.

But.

I know it and though it is a slog, it is a slog I can do.

And tomorrow I won’t have to slog through her class.

I will have to work on her paper over next weekend, there is no getting around it.

I have done one response paper and my chapter outline project, the group project, for the class.

Which leaves four more papers to write and one final project–I’m going to write about using sign language with babies and toddlers and language development and emotional response to communication thereof.

Scintillating.

I promise.

Ah.

It’s been a day.

I am in school.

I had no clue it was Saturday or where the day went.

It just went.

I am grateful to keep showing up and that I feel better and more prepared for the work then I did the last weekend of classes.

Here’s to showing up one more day, amongst many, tomorrow.

And.

Getting used to it.


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