Honesty and authenticity is where my blog writing begins. There are moments in the journey that spark continuity in the conversation of my condition but there is so much else involved that I don’t know how to articulate yet. There is no manual on how to do this. The road is written as its traveled.
One aspect I haven’t shared about is professional therapy. There is a good reason for that – I haven’t had much. Right after Clayton died, Hospice contacted me to see what support I needed. It took me a bit to speak to someone. I gathered my grief and went to see a man about a complex condition. After pouring my emotions out, he informed me he was retiring and there was no one to replace him. I would have to find someone new.
My search for someone else has not been easy. Providers not available, my own fear and frustration tied in with life’s “I’ll get to it soon.” So I chose to climb the wall of despair on my own. The added stress year 2020 has slowed and caused me to slip. The extra weight exhausting as I kept pushing until the feeling of panic swept in and stopped my climb. I had panic attacks before but not like these. Each building in intensity and striking at more and more random times. Losing my weekends and evenings to high emotions, exhaustion followed by guilt and feeling ashamed.
Many of you reading will instantly offer to be there for me and I deeply know and appreciate that I have so many to turn too. Here is where the grief layers the loss and twists my view. I don’t want to take others away from their family. I feel responsible for stealing that precious time. I know what it’s like regretting hours and minutes list. I don’t want to be the cause of that regret for someone else. It’s a vicious untrue cycle. I’m well aware of it.
So this week I found a counselor. She asked what people often ask me to share on stage but this time it’s different.
“Share your story.”
The words that bring me to speak and inspire others brought me right back to all the moments of loss in my life. Love ones lost, relationships leaving and animals reaching the end of their time all joined in sound and filled the room with a symphony of sadness – Heartbreak Harmony.
She said things I have said to myself. I suffer from depression and have a unique type of grief. I have gone through a lot of deep loss with no time to process it. I coped and worked harder to get past or skip over it.
“You have complicated grief disorder and it’s going to be ok.”
Our visit ended with her asking what the rest of my day was like. I planned to go to the gym and run errands but she pointed out it’s ok to go home and just feel. This morning I woke up and started coffee. I looked around and saw all the things I didn’t do yesterday. The stress built and the room became overwhelming. A pile of clean laundry on the chair is normal but every time I see it I’m reminded that Clayton is gone. Fear floods the room and I’m gasping for air. Minutes later I find myself on the floor tight, tense and terrified. However this time was different. I texted a friend who called and said it will pass but I had to let it happen. In the midst of the storm I remembered I had an official diagnosis, it had a name, I was not the only person who feels this way, people want to help me, I’m not a burden just understandably broken. I finally told myself it’s ok to not be ok…