Thursday, November 29, 2012

Asking For Help (Part Two)

This blog was originally posted on Pilgrimage to Diagnosis earlier this year.  The blog was a raw, genuine exploration into how easy or difficult it can be to recognize your need for help.  This blog remains relevant today and especially after recognizing in my last post that I am having difficulty processing all of my thoughts and feelings.  If you read this when it was originally posted then this is a similar but different foray into vulnerability.  If this is the first time reading it then please enjoy!

When I began writing blogs it was out of a desire to normalize my experience of death and grief by reaching out and receiving support from a virtual community of grievers.  It would be accurate to say that blogging was a form of therapy for me. It is also a fair assessment that this blog has been a way to convey messages to people I love and care for, from a distance rather then engaging in a discussion face to face.
In blogging about my life of  learning to cope with and manage my grief, I truly believed I embodied transparency.  At times I was capable of revealing some intimate details about my grief journey following the death of Flynn.  Other times I was simply pondering a thought or expressing an opinion to an elusive virtual community. 
Moreover, I was keeping my world at arms length.

Remaining anonymous to my own life.

There is an ease to conveying your feelings from an empty dining room table.
When you do not have to vocalize your emotions to another face that may react to what you have to say; you can say anything.
My ability to be open about my grief has been conditional on doing it from behind a computer screen.  In reality open only meant sharing the tip of the iceberg; the remaining 90% of my experience of grief and loss has been buried far beneath the surface, untouchable.
Regardless of how much I have researched grief and bereavement or learned how to strengthen my therapeutic abilities, I have not found the "solution" to living a life free of loss. There is no way to "fix it."  Consider that for a second.  I cannot fix something that feels broken - there is helplessness or powerlessness.  I may have been able to tell clients that living with grief is a journey that remains with you for a lifetime but I am not sure whether I heard that message myself.  

For the past several weeks I have been participating in a "Use of Self" class where we were asked to examine how we (as clinicians) impact the therapeutic process.  This exploration of self has not happened in a vaccuum, life has continued to happen too and sometimes all this reflectiveness has "taken its toll."  Peeling back the layers of loss and examining the health of my coping strategies has created a roller coaster of emotion. I have tried to laugh.  Mostly I have cried, cried and cried some more. I have had to talk about how I have been feeling, because it has been impossible to ignore that I have been feeling. 
Admittedly, stoicism is an inherited trait.  Even in my virtual openness I am unwilling to examine the depth of my grief.  I have been stuck in perpetual discomfort at the challenge of being vulnerable (a position that I usually always  usually run from - and  h  e   r   e   -  I  -  g   o  - a  g  a  i  n). 

I have always encouraged people to recognize their limits and honour their emotions.  I have challenged family, friends and clients to see a request for help as a sign of strength.  My entire life, I have been gauging my strength on my ability to push through, buck up and carry on.  What a contradiction!  There is a need for the "push through it" mentality, but there is also a cost.  

In revealing myself  I would caution individuals from jumping to the conclusion that I am stuck in my grief or that I am not coping in a "healthy" way.  This post is serving as my vehicle for a deeper level of honesty, a revealing portrayl of a bereaved mother. 

I may need to get comfortable with asking for help.  For now, one day at a time.

" - any love - reveals us in our nakedness, our misery, our vulnerability, our nothingness." ~ Cesare Pavese

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