It’s amazing, sometimes, the lessons from your parents that you actually remember over time. And how, regardless of the context the lesson was in 30 years ago, it has relevance today in a different context.
My dad, as many of you know, was into fundraising stuff — particularly for the local little league. Well, I remember one day having to to go with him to the local Bess Eaton Donut Shop to pick up some coffee the store was donating for some little league function.
Dad, why are we doing this, I wondered.
Michael, when you need something, you just ask for it. You’ll be amazed at how often you get what you ask for.
Well, 30 years ago it was just coffee for a little league function. Today, it was something of much greater value. It was, in a nut shell, my well being.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t going over the edge — honest! But, I was having some serious difficulty dealing with some things in my life — primarily loss. No surprise for anyone that’s been a regular reader.
I wrote about this back in November, but in order to deal with this, I asked for help. And I got it.
From a counselor.
And this little journey has been incredible.
I started out by utilizing the EAP at my work. I figured, why not start there and see what happens. Easier said than done. It only took me, oh, I don’t know, a month or more to finally make the phone call to get in. Only one person knew I was contemplating doing this. Renee didn’t even know. She knew I was having some challenges, but not to the extent that I was. So after some encouragement, I made the call.
After my first visit, I don’t know what I was so afraid of. It was great. Refreshing. Say what you want. No judgment. No anything. Just say it. And then hear some interesting questions and statements. Continue that for a while and it was like, damn, this isn’t so bad! Actually, wait, this feels good.
So those sessions only continued for a bit before it was recommended to me to try this other type of therapy with a different counselor.
So, I made that call. I asked for help. Because I needed it. I needed to get a handle on loss. I needed to not be absorbed. I had a horrible situation in my life. But I’m no different than anyone else. I had to stop letting it consume me and who I was. I had to stop it from taking over even more of me.
I had to change my attitude. I simply had to change. Constantly consumed by this.
So in November, I started meeting this other counselor a few times a month. We just finished earlier this month. And, I gotta tell you, I didn’t want to finish. But, we were at a good breaking point, so I’m test driving what I learned, so to speak. If I need some more guidance, I just call him back up.
But through the course of our work, he helped me. Immensely. He was the first person to really understand what was going in my head. (I know, poor guy.) He learned quickly what bothered me, how it bothered me and why it bothered me. And, he helped me learn to deal with that.
We spent sessions going over every minute detail of an event — finding clues and other things as to what my behavior was and how I reacted in certain circumstances. The point being, if I felt those things again, I could getter a quicker (and better) handle on them.
He taught me how to slow down. He taught me to find the good. Don’t dwell on the bad, work to find the good. And when you find it, focus on it. Not everything has to be negative, he said. And for you, he so boldly added, that’s where you start. You aren’t giving enough people and things the benefit of the doubt.
Damn. He was kind of right. Things were setting me off. For no reason. I would be in a bad mood just because.
While I knew that my counselor was making a difference because of what I felt inside, I wasn’t totally sure if the outside world was noticing a difference. Well, turns out they were. A variety of people said they noticed a difference in me. For the better.
I was worried about January and June…those are my two worse months to deal with loss. Well, with a twist on things and a new perspective, I was able to turn negatives into positives and those months didn’t wear me down this year like they have in the past.
One of the most interesting things we talked about was feelings. I have incredibly strong feelings about a lot of things. My problem? I apparently don’t always express them. And when I do, I need to think a step or two ahead sometimes.
He was pushing me hard to work more on feelings….on expressing them. And I said, you know what, let’s see how things go and we can revisit that if necessary.
And I am getting better. It’s not easy. But I’m trying. I’m trying at home. I’m trying at work. I’m trying with friends. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s not.
But, the point is, I stopped going for now because I had success accomplishing what it is I wanted to in fact accomplish through this. It wasn’t easy…but strangely enough, it was fun. Because there was no hiding. Everything was real. And my guy had a way of pushing my buttons. He knew what it would take to get me to fully engage. And he did it. Well.
So, yeah, I’m going to miss talking to him on a regular basis. He helped me immensely by giving me understanding and helping me realize that I can do this. That I don’t have to dwell on negative. That if I look hard enough, I can, in fact, find the positive.
And, well, I know that if I need it, I can go back. And it’ll be much easier arranging an appointment this time than last. Because, well, like my father said, all you have to do is ask for help and people will give it.