I wrote last Thursday’s fictional post, Hopes And Dreams, around two or three weeks ago.
I have been experiencing a lot of stress for the past several weeks.
Things ended with Lucy. Then I started to see Sandy, but after three weeks it became very apparent this was not going to work out either. Nothing bad happened, just unfortunate.
I respect elderly people, I think we don’t respect them enough in our society. I believe they have so much to offer us and are a valuable part of our communities. I could go on, but I wanted to make these statements before I continue.
Sandy was wonderful, I wish I had met her ten years or so ago. I liked her very much and she was helpful to me. She is semi-retired and I believe in her late seventies. Each week I saw her, things kept accumulating regarding the loss of her memory. At least her short term memory.The last time I saw her it was very evident that I could not continue. It was sad to see and hard to decide to try again.
Deciding to see a therapist in the first place, looking for one, filling out the paperwork, and then making the step to actually show up for an appointment was more stressful on me than I was consciously aware of. It was also stressful having to gracefully decline someone. And now I am going through the same with Sandy.
Last Wednesday I saw a new therapist, I have decided to simply refer to her as A. I woke up that morning with crushing anxiety that I continued to fight and push down inside. It was then that I realized how much all of this has been weighing on me. Not because I was thinking about it a lot or worrying a lot. But because “my body keeps the score.” There is no way to convince my mind or emotions that this is not a potentially dangerous pursuit for me. I think there was a part of me that knew this was it, either it worked out or I was done. And with that I felt a sense of desperation.
As soon as A. came out to the waiting room to get me, my heart relaxed. The session was hard and very emotional. But it was wonderful all at the same time. She was kind, compassionate, soft spoken, and engaging. Her presence helped me to feel safe enough to answer her questions and to be honest with my answers.
This is the first time I have met with a therapist that I did not come away filled with at least a few questions inside of me. I left without even a hint of a concern. Having this to compare to my other experiences was such a relief. I do believe I have found THE therapist for me. And after all that I went through, she is in-network for our insurance which is also a big blessing. My husband didn’t want who I chose to see to be about the money but a good match. She just happened to fit both.
I do have a sense of relief. And a break in my intense anxiety regarding this decision. She does have extensive experience treating trauma. Because of her calming presence, it felt as though the time floated by instead of feeling rushed. I like her very much and I feel very blessed to have found her. And I am very glad that I didn’t just give up, but kept trying.
She shared with me two coping techniques to try when I have triggers and experience panic attacks. I thought I would share them here just in case they may help someone else. The first one is called a butterfly hug. Which consists of crossing your arms, as if to give yourself a hug. And then alternate tapping on your upper arms with your hands as slow or fast as you like. And the second one is for if you are out in public at the time. You press on an acupressure point in the center of your hands with your thumb, alternating between each hand.
The other thing she requested that I do, is to download an app called PTSD Coach. It was originally created for the military and has a lot of information about PTSD on it. Hopefully these will be helpful to others as well.
When I read back through my post, Hopes And Dreams, it feels as though the first few lines have already come true. Finally, for the first time, I have found someone who may actually be able to help me!