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Why I {STILL} go to counseling.

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It will be 9 {NINE!!} years this May since I’ve held my Madelyn in my arms, and about 5 years since we choose to no longer try to give Maddie biological siblings.  Any way you dice that it’s been a long time – I mean there are 4 people in my immediate family that never knew Madelyn or experienced our fertility journey…

You would THINK I’d be over it, that I’d have moved on…

…and some days I wonder if I have…but let’s be honest. You never ‘move on’. You never ‘get over it’. You just learn to live with it. You learn to bring it into your life and wear it like a scar. The problem, I’ve found though, is that my scar has never really scarred over – it’s more of a never-ending scab. A scab that I continue to pick at with every 1st {or 2nd or 3rd} I never get to experience, with every 1st {and 2nd and 3rd} that those close to me experience, with every well-meaning question from a stranger, with every sleepFUL night and late morning non-soccer practice sleep ins…

The thing is those ‘uneventful events’ happen frequently – on an almost daily basis. It’s so easy to brush them aside because I’m busy, I have places to go and other people to see.

In my previous career, I had a saying: ‘If it’s not on the calendar it doesn’t exist’. I scheduled everything! Phone calls, lunch meetings, bedtimes, even potty breaks if it was a particularly busy week… It’s not the worst habit to have and has moved with me to the land of Sharing Solace.

But, that doesn’t always allow me the time I need to feel my feels – especially given the intensely personal work I’m doing now. Even though I’m working through a lot of my grief {right out there in the public eye} I’m still sweeping some things under the rug hoping they will just disappear.

Having ‘time on the calendar’ is more important now then it has ever been in the past {probably}. Not only do I continue to pick at my scab…but I’ve found a way to tie that scab into my self-worth and ultimate love for my daughter. Plus, I’m carrying the weight of ‘helping’ others pick at their scabs too. {It’s just a big bloody mess over here sometimes.}

I found I need to have someone help bandage me up once in a while – I do an ok job by myself most the time, but it’s still nice to have a professional take a look.

So, I see a counselor every 4-6 weeks. Just for a ‘check up from the neck up’. Sometimes we don’t talk about much – just day to day life. Sometimes if a full-on ugly cry session… Either way, here are a few of the reasons I continue to see a certified professional:

  • I pay this lady {with the help of my insurance, but would still be totally worth it if not} a lot of $$ to listen to me. That means I get to direct the conversation any way I choose. I get to talk about what I want to talk about. That $$ for time trade means I get to be selfish {something a good friend doesn’t do with her girl time, IMHO}. If I want to talk about how my hangnail is actually a metaphor for the fact that {fill in the blank} that’s my prerogative.
  • On that same note, this lady is basically a complete stranger. We don’t have any ‘real life’ contact. We’re not going to meet at the grocery store. We don’t go to the same church. We’re strangers. I can say whatever I need to and don’t have to worry about any societal repercussions {within reason of course} that she’s going to hold it over my head. I can be uncensored.
  • Sometimes it’s ‘nice’ to be poked with a stick. You know that feeling the day after leg day at the gym – where it hurts to do anything {including breathe}?  Yeah, that’s what it feels like walking out of that office. But, you also feel so accomplished and you know you made it through one more session. You’ll be stronger for next time!
  • If it’s not on the calendar it doesn’t happen. Plus, there’s cold hard cash involved so it’s harder to blow it off. It is a commitment to myself. It’s really self-care. Heck, there have been times that I’ve contemplated using my $100/hour session as nap time…and it didn’t seem like a terrible idea because it’s my me time!

I mean we go to the gym, the doctor, the dentist, the chiropractor, the manicurist, the masseuse, the salon and just about every other professional there is under the sun for check-ups and routine maintenance. Why is it so socially unacceptable {and stigmatized} to do routine maintenance on your mind?

Do you see a therapist? How often do you go? And, what do you like the most when you get up from that chair?



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