Saturday, March 27, 2010

Guts and Grief

So, I did it. I went to my first solo counseling appointment.

That's it. I'm cured...no need for any further intervention. I've been declared "problem free".

Just kidding.

So, back up a bit and you'll remember that my going to the appointment was a result of a slight temper tantrum - breakdown I had after I thought it was a fine and harmless idea to delve into scientific Trisomy and other birth defect testing. (Remember, I just wanted another ultrasound...) Even though the results told me nothing I couldn't learn by reading a medical handbook about the risks of pregnant 38 year old women, it still struck a heart cord in me and really revealed, at least in my own heart and mind, that I wasn't allowing myself to connect, or attach, to this pregnancy. I mean, if I skip the attachment part then the possibility of being faced with saying goodbye all too soon wouldn't be as difficult, right? Right!#$%^&*

I knew it was a load of crap, as well, so, I went ahead and made an appointment with a woman licensed in grief counseling. I had previously asked a few friends if they had recommendations of good counselors, but after reviewing their suggestions, two of which would have a previous knowledge of me, and then finding out I could meet for 6 sessions through Jason's insurance for FREE, I went with the obvious choice: FREE. But seriously, I really valued the idea of walking into an office and knowing I'd never be seeing the person on the "outside" in "real life." Just safety in knowing this for some reason...

So, halfway through my session, I looked around the office for a small break in eye contact. The guy in the picture looked familiar but I couldn't quite place it. Back to eye contact and my story...why was I here?

I gave her the "Jason" abbreviated version of Noah's story and then shared my own grief journey, the blog, group counseling and how this pregnancy has messed with my heart a bit. I was obviously aware of it and that's why I thought maybe I should have some counseling. She said that it sounded to her that possibly my faith or my knowledge of God was a cover up for allowing myself to really feel my grief. I told her it was more of a deep comfort, knowing that God knew exactly how I felt and that His knowledge of a bigger picture was something that gave me peace.

I also told her that over the last 3 and a half years I have processed my grief quite candidly and openly with awesome family and friends, and, with all of you! I have allowed myself to feel every emotion, including, but not limited to: anger, disgust, being totally pissed at God and Noah, despair, jealousy, hope, peace, happiness, trust, failure, anger at the unknown, frustration with "modern medicine" and the "system" of politics and insurance, surrender, peace deep down that I can't explain, hope that there is a reason for everything and it's okay that I don't understand it, and trust that He's not done with me yet...for some crazy reason.

I looked around the room again for a break in eye contact. Saw the same guy, smiling huge in a photo where he was hugging the woman across from me...

Me: "What is your last name?"
Her: "Such and such..."
Me: "We'll be at barbecues together in the future...our husband's just went to Bolivia together."

She asked me at the end of our time together if that made me uncomfortable. I didn't answer the question but asked her the question in return. I went ahead and signed up for our week two appointment.

On the way home I had a bit more time to process. Even though I felt comfortable sharing with this woman, who made me feel comfortable, I really treasured the assurance of having a neutral counselor, someone with no "outside" knowledge of me. I also realized that once I made the connection of who she was, I shut off part of my story...part of my heart. Adrienne, a person not afraid to share all of my guts, threw up some walls and started "monitoring" anything I shared.

As a result, I called the office, rescheduled with another counselor and also shot off a quick email sharing why I was switching. She called back and completely understood. I told her I looked forward to knowing her on the "outside".

One thing that I realized from our session was that over the past 3 and a half years, I have been processing my grief. I don't claim to have the corner on the market on how to grieve beautifully, but I believe I have allowed myself to walk through it, the highs and lows, and I have a pretty good grasp on grief and its triggers in my life. Hence, the reason I made an appointment in the first place.

So, even though I'll likely share more of my grief experience with the new counselor, I am also looking at this as an opportunity to dig in deep to the crap I've been burying for years...just other sludge that comes to the surface as a result of interacting with certain personality types and situations and my own coping methods as a middle child peacemaker...for me, I think it's going to be very interesting to see just how screwed up I really am. (Smiley face) But really...

8 comments:

  1. Praying the Lord will send you to just the right counselor.

    AndI can't help thinking if you lived in our small town, you would probably be related to every person and would never be able to get someone who didn't know you on the 'outside'. ;)

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  2. Adrienne,

    Hey, my name is Krystal I have read your blog for a couple of years now but this is my first time commenting. I lost my dad in 2006 to pancreatic cancer while I realize that our losses are very different I don't want to seem like someone who says "I know how it feels," because in your case I don't. In a way I think that is the hardest part about grieving because it is so different and personal for everyone but maybe that's what makes it beautiful in a way too. Even though it has been over 3 years since I lost my dad I just went to my first counseling session this month and the counselor I saw uses a technique called Rapid Resolution Therapy, it was different and interesting, nothing like I expected even though I didn't know what to expect. But I wanted to tell you about it in case you wanted to check it out. I guess it is a fairly new type of therapy but I found it to be very helpful. I live in FL but here is the link to the office I went to it kind of gives a background on RRT. I am also in a similar boat as you as far as insurance I have 5 free sessions and didn't want to go beyond that. I met with him for 2hours the first time and he wants to see me again in a couple of weeks for an hour and that's it which I thought was great! The theory behind this type of therapy is interesting, so I just wanted to let you know in case you wanted to find someone in your area that does it. Your family is precious and reading your blog has indeed helped me in my grieving process as well so thank you!

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  3. oops forgot to post the link
    http://www.drquintal.com/

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  4. Small world! Hope you connect with the next counselor and can make the most of your sessions.

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  5. dear adrienne...
    i am praying for you as you press on in the process of grief and the past. i haven't been through your pain...i haven't lived anything like your story. however, i have had a lot of stuff from my past that i am trying to work through, and i too, started counseling a little over a month ago. i, too, am seeing someone who knows nothing about "my" world or anyone in my world other than a friend who referred me. i have been "diagnosed" with "severe anxiety disorder" and "clinical depression". while i know that anxiety is something that i have dealt with since the time i was a little girl, it's weird to be "labeled" after 33 years. it's nice to have the explanation...to feel "validated"...but weird. i have been told that i need to be on medication since this is an "organic" situation (in my DNA)....that has been a hard pill for me to swallow. after much time, research and begging God to show me what to do....i tried the medication...all the while not having a peace about it and not liking the side effects. so i stopped. i just can't help but feel that God can heal me of this and that i don't need a little pill to assist. time will tell. it's a hard place to be for someone to tell you that you need it to have "quality of life"....knowing all the while that God is capable of healing my mind. will you pray for me, too? therapy is great for all kinds of people with all kinds of pain. i pray for you, that God give you a peace from the past that allows you to enjoy the present and the blessing within to its fullest. that you can have complete joy as you face the future and not fear of the unknown. you seems so strong when you write....with all you have been through....there is a lot of pain there, too. it's such a HUGE step to acknowledge the pain exists and robs us of all the joy we were meant to experience...God can heal our broken hearts...and He can use therapists/counselors/doctors as a vessel to reach us in our time of need. so i am praying for you. know that you are loved. and i thnak God for noah, to this day, for allowing a way to "know" you and your family...so we can pray for you and we can grow, too, in the process of your journey. thank you. He is real. thank you for sharing your life with us. it has encouraged my walk with Christ and has shown me more of His love for all of us...for His creation. what an amazing God we serve and strive to follow. may God continue to bless and strengthen you and use to bring glory to Himself. you are and have been such a blessing!
    much love and prayers...
    shannon stinson

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  6. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Hi,
    Haven't read for awhile, but am catching up - read from today back to Jan.6, skimmed Jan. 3 but need to go back to it and then catch up further. Had a feeling that was what was brewing under the surface.
    Especially liked Jan. 6 and March 22 - ministered to me and many others also, I am sure. Yes, your "big" sister does and is willing to receive from you. (Not so anonymous post anymore, I guess) Also, "Hard boiled eggs" made me smile - classic Em. Love, You Know Who, and yes, you can e-mail or call to check if it's me.

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  7. So proud of you!!!

    You are doing this so well....love you!

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