I have decided to start therapy. For many reasons. I have had a couple of sessions already and it’s been enlightening. Betterhelp.com is trying something new by connecting people all over the world with a group therapy session. The therapist is an expert in the related field and you can choose from many topics and time slots. I thought I would give it a try.
What have I learned so far?
There are plenty of others suffering the same kind of feelings, issues and trauma that I am in this world. Not surprising, just comforting to know.I can help by telling my story and being open to discussion. I get help by telling my story and being open. I struggle with being vulnerable. Trust is a topic I have mentioned numerous times on this blog and my lack of it. Somehow it’s easier to trust and be vulnerable with strangers than it is with your intimate network of support.
The group I attended yesterday was on managing grief. A question was posed about why join a group like this now? It was clarified with what it is about the upcoming holidays that makes dealing with death so much harder? Well darn, I hadn’t really made the connection between the time of year and my choice of groups until it was highlighted.
Christmas is a challenge for me at the best of times. I am not a big fan of the whole concept or all it has come to represent. When the kids were younger I did get caught up in making sure they got all they wanted and more. I remember being young and the reality that there were seven of us to buy for. My parents did amazing by getting us each at least one thing close to what we had asked for. I look back now on the way I acted and wish I would have been more grateful for their effort. I guess that’s why we grow to have insight and awareness. You have to experience the challenges in life to understand the depth of selflessness.
My sister, who passed away, loved Christmas. She went as far as to set up several trees in the basement of one of her houses. She called it her Christmas forest. We used to sit in her forest and drink wine. It was lovely and I miss her enthusiasm for the season.
The grief session brought up memories I had not examined for a while. My brother in law died on Christmas morning in 2014. I was there with my sister and their family. It was one of my saddest Christmases and yet it was one of my most peaceful. As we sat in his room listening to him struggle for breaths, the sound of each breath was a gift. One more moment, one more opportunity to tell him how much he was loved.
The Christmas before my mom died we decided to make cookies for everyone. I always tend to go overboard and buy enough ingredients to make cookies for a hundred people. Monster cookies are everyone’s favorite and thanks heavens the cookie dough freezes well. What a wonderful day I had with my mom. Doing what she loved to do which was spending time with her girls and making something to give to someone else. I baked my last roll of cookie dough last Christmas. It was emotional to let it go of something that linked me so directly with my mom.
The group was a big help to give me common ground with others who showed up to talk about the same thing. We were all there to gain support and realize our stories were different but there is an abundance of commonality to discover. Being sensitive to family who get upset when you try to talk about your feelings of grief is hard. Most people don’t want to talk about it let alone see you shed tears. If you hold it in then it becomes a waiting game. The level of the dam rises until the pressure can’t be contained anymore. Somethings gotta give. The timing of the burst will happen at the worst circumstances. Releasing the pressure is healthy and required to heal the heart.
It was a good session. It was hard and at first, uncomfortable but necessary and freeing.
My heart is full of gratitude as the season unfolds. I am grateful that I have many memories of my loved ones who have passed. Many Christmases celebrated with them even though I would have rather stayed home and let the holidays pass by unopened. Those moments of sharing and expressing joy are my most precious gifts now. I can open them anytime, anywhere to help give me peace when I need it.
I would recommend Betterhelp.com to anyone who needs an affordable platform to get help dealing with anything. It has helped me to appreciate the value of having a community available to reach out to.