Tag Archives: counseling

three things i learned from counseling.

I just left my last counseling appointment.

Mind you, this is only my last counseling appointment in this season of life with this particular counselor. My counseling journey isn’t over, by any means. But for now, as of 5PM today, this chapter of my journey has come to a close.

So. What did I glean from the past few months of counseling? A couple things. Let me share them with you! Sharing is caring, after all… especially when mental health is at stake.

1. I am not broken.

I’ve written about this before, but it deserves a second mention because it is so important. A lot of people associate counseling or therapy with the notion that you are in need of “fixing”. Sometimes, I guess that could be the case. But for me, it isn’t. And hasn’t been. I am not broken. I just need help processing things in a constructive and objective way.

2. I’m pretty well adjusted even though, by all accounts, I shouldn’t be.

According to my counselor, my upbringing should have yielded me a permanent residence within an insane asylum with my very own padded room and straight-jacket wardrobe. However, in the words of Dr. Maki, I’m “really put together”. Holla at your healthy boo.

3. Being open and honest about what struggles I have has been a huge asset.

I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again — no one, including you, benefits from you hiding your hurts. Opening up about the things I’ve dealt with, to not only counselors but also mentors and friends, has been more effective in my growth and health than anything else. And yes, that includes medicinal treatment.

So. I’ll say it again. If you are considering counseling but are afraid of any stigmas attached, take it from me: do it. See a counselor. Invite an unbiased professional into your life to help walk you through what you’re going through. See how it changes you for the better!

Have you ever gone to see a counselor? How did it work out for you?

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the power of affirmations.

For those of you who missed it, I’ve recently begun seeing a counselor on a regular basis. Counseling, in my opinion, has gotten a bad rap. You hear that someone is seeing a counselor and you immediately assume he or she is either battling a porn addiction or so depressed even this can’t help.

[Disclaimer: Should my terribly dry sense of humor be offensive to you, please know that I am NOT suggesting that depression be taken lightly. If you are clinically depressed, especially if you feel strongly that you want to hurt yourself or those around you, please know that your condition should be taken seriously and you deserve to be helped.]

I assure you — neither is the case for me. Rather, I believe that anyone who has spent five minutes on this broken earth trying to interact with other imperfect people can benefit from counseling and should, finances and time permitting, actively seek it out.

My counselor’s name is Dr. Maki. She is a bit older, and she’s refused to dye her hair anymore as a physical representation of her acceptance of her own body. This gives her a lovely grey-to-black ombre style. She has big, kind eyes that, when focused on you, seem to be searching your soul for answers. She wears a ring on each finger, each with a different but equally emboldened stone. She is, based on the three sessions I’ve had so far, simply wonderful.

Two weeks ago, when I saw Dr. Maki last, I was in a very bad way. I hadn’t slept in weeks and was battling such real and crippling anxiety I was literally vibrating uncontrollably. I couldn’t even handle my day-to-day activities. I had to call in to work. I was losing control of everything.

[Side note: Later that night I put 2 and 2 together to figure out that my Mirena IUD was causing these symptoms and I made an appointment the next day to have it removed. I have since gone back to my old self. But. That’s another blog post entirely.]

When Dr. Maki asked me what ran through my mind when I was battling the insomnia, I told her that, really, nothing was going through my mind at all. I wasn’t thinking anxiety-inducing thoughts. The insomnia was a side effect of the jitters from my IUD as opposed to something caused by a racing mind. But the thing I did keep thinking over and over was this:

“Why can’t I sleep like a normal person? Why am I so broken?”

As I spoke these words, tears sprang to my eyes and rained down my burning cheeks. I truly wanted the answer to that.

“Why am I so broken?” I repeated, hoping she could enlighten me. She took one of her many rings off and handed it to me.

“This ring is broken,” she said.

I examined the ring — a lapis lazuli stone in a beautifully intricate silver setting. Nothing about it looked broken to me. I pulled it closer to my cloudy eyes and tried to make out any flaw.

“If you look closely, you can see a little black crack that has been mended by a jeweler,” she continued.

As she said that, my eyes found what she was referring to. The slightest dark mark showing that the stone was, indeed, broken.

“Every morning when I put that ring on, I say to myself, ‘I am not broken. I am perfect just the way I am.’ For now, I want you to wear it and say the same thing.”

My eyes shot up from the stone to meet her gaze. “Really? You want me to wear your ring?”

“Yes,” she reassured. “For as long as you need. I’ll get it back. Someday. But you need it right now.”

To be real with you guys, I felt so weird about it. But I did it.

“I am not broken,” I said with a smile I couldn’t contain. “I am perfect just the way I am.” And I slipped the ring on my right ring finger.

not_broken_ringI’ve put that ring on every day since then, keeping my promise to Dr. Maki to repeat the affirmation each time. It has gotten less and less weird with the dawn of each new day and, believe it or not, has even become something I actually believe.

Because this has been working so well for me, I decided to try it with something else I put on each morning — my wedding rings. Now, whenever I put those on, I say to myself, “I am loved.”

I am not broken. I am perfect just the way I am. I am loved.

It is my firm belief that the truth sounds the most beautiful when it comes from within yourself.

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working through your crap. or, a crappy metaphor.

This morning while I was getting ready for work, I looked back to the bed to see my husband doing something strange.

He was holding our baby boy upright, while gently pushing on his tummy, and working his legs in a bicycling motion.

“I’m trying to get him to poop,” he explained. “He hasn’t pooped in three days.”

Mind you, Dax wasn’t fussy or anything about his gastrointestinal disposition. He was rather happy, actually. But, concerning this issue, Dan and I were miserable. The kid was farting like he wanted to gas us out. I swear, I thought he had turned against us and was using his own methane to let us know.

After a determined Daddy stuck by him all morning, Dax finally pooped. Not as much as he should have after holding it in for three days, but at least we got some movement going. This will, we believe, encourage more poop later. This is exciting!

Oh, the way your life changes once you become a parent.

You see, Dax needed to poop, no doubt. He just needed a little help from Daddy to work it out. We are not unlike my (almost) four-month-old child in this. Please excuse my “crappy” metaphor and the consequential puns, but this needs to be said.

Sometimes (more often than not, I’d argue) we need people to help us work through our own crap. We might not know we need help, but others around us — those who are close enough to us to “smell” our “farts” — know something’s up. For a while, they may be polite and not say anything. After all, they’re probably just hoping you’ll work it out on your own. And they don’t want to call you out or embarrass you. But other times, if it goes for an extended period of time, they may step in and finally confront you.

I’d really encourage you to get some counseling about this.

Have you talked to anyone about this issue you have? 

Get your shiz together already. Jeez.

Someone close to me said that to me recently. And a year ago. And the previous year.

“Lindsay, you should really consider seeing a counselor about the fact that you grew up without a dad.”

Up until now, I’ve just been kind of ignoring it. Hoping it goes away on its own. Letting those around me “smell the farts” — seeing the destructive behaviors and attitudes born out of this gaping void I have in my life.

A couple weeks ago, I went to the doctor for insomnia. I hadn’t slept more than a couple hours a night for seven days and I’d had it. The doctor gave me a prescription for Ambien but, since I was in tears over being so exhausted, he also referred me to a counselor for postpartum depression.

I don’t think I have PPD. I think I have insomnia, like I always have. And I think I was sobbing over the fact that I was so bloody exhausted. But the doctor insisted I see a counselor, so I shrugged my shoulders and went. I thought it might be divine intervention or something. My time was up. It was time to “poop”. This is how the first couple minutes of my first session went:

Counselor: “What brings you in today?”

Me: “Well, honestly, I didn’t sleep for a week so I burst into tears in my doctor’s office and they said I have postpartum depression. I don’t think that’s the case. I mean, maybe? But probably not. So, at any rate, postpartum depression is what ACTUALLY brings me here today but I don’t think we need to talk about that. What we SHOULD talk about is that my dad left me when I was three years old and I think I’ve got some issues surrounding that and I think it’s time I dealt with them.”

Counselor: “Oh. Uh… you’re pretty self-aware.”

Me: “I try to be.”

And so — here I am, admitting to the entire Internet that I’m currently seeing a counselor. I’m letting someone help me work through my crap. I’ve only had one session but I can already tell it’s going to do wonders for my spirit.

Is there something in your life that you need help working through? My advice is just take the plunge. Get the help you need. We can all smell your farts anyway; stop denying it.

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