Monday, October 7, 2013

Why I'm Starting Therapy

Whenever the subject of Blake's death is awkwardly broached, nine times out of ten people tell me they were originally afraid to bring it up. One reason is that they see me doing well and don't want to shove me back into a dark place. They think it will remind me of the tragedy when it looks like I am finally pushing past it. Another very significant fear of discussing my grief has nothing to do with me. Although to me this pain is all too familiar, it can be uncomfortable and unnerving for other people to hear about. Instead of being fearful of sending me down a dark path by bringing it up, they themselves don't want to be dragged along. Letting me go into detail about how I feel can be detrimental to them.

As time passes, it feels decreasingly acceptable to avoid work, cancel plans, shut myself in my room, cry uncontrollably, reminisce longingly, or desperately pray for ways to feel connected to Blake. That doesn't mean I don't do all of those things, because I absolutely still do. But rather, as time goes on I have gotten better at keeping them from other people. After four months, I feel that my friends' and family's patience with my all-consuming grief must be diminishing. Instead of testing their limits, I choose to share selectively or not at all.

Although it may seem like I'm letting it all out in conversations with close friends and family, there is not a single person who knows even the half of how I'm feeling. One part of that has to do with protecting myself from judgment and the other has to do with shielding everyone else from how scary my mind can be. Writing has given me a little more freedom from this, but lacks the element of human connection. The process of writing out how I feel is cathartic in itself, but sometimes leaves me lonely, wondering if anyone is reading it or even cares.

This is why I'm starting therapy. I finally found a therapist who specializes in traumatic deaths and am in the process of making an appointment for this week. I am confident that until now I wasn't at a place where this method of coping was best for me, so I am not ashamed that it took this long to take this step. I believe that I needed to struggle, lean on friends, and explore support group settings in order to get to a place where I know what I need and what I don't. In this time I've done the background work of really figuring out what I want to get from therapy. Now, I can go into it with both self-awareness and purpose.

Although I will continue to confide in my friends and family and process through writing, therapy can be the extra piece that ties everything together. Therapy can be an outlet to get all of my feelings out so I'm not walking around carrying their weight, the space to talk about my scariest thoughts that I would never want to burden friends with, and the tool to help me work on myself in a way that I've been unable to do on my own.

With strength from Blake and a whole lot of my own, I'm ready.

12 comments:

  1. Amen, sister.. i hope you find what you need in this process. Xoxoxo

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    1. Me too! Thanks for your support, Laurie! It means so much to me :)

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  2. This is a very brave thing you're doing and it makes me smile to see that you love yourself enough to ask for help. You're an inspiration and you make a lot of people very proud. keep it up.

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    1. Thanks, Aisha, I really appreciate you saying that! I love you and think about you all the time <3

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  3. I love you too, Briana and I've been keeping up with your journey and think of you so often. I hope you know how inspirational your writing is and how beautifully you illustrate Blake. As an outsider, I can see how incredible he was as an individual and how genuine the love is that you two share (because that will always remain). Thank you for letting us into your most private thoughts by being so honest about them and for letting us all get to know Blake. Through this journey, please know that you have supporters everywhere :) Thinking of you constantly, missing the whole family<3

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    1. Wow that was so, so sweet. Thank you :). The whole family will actually be in Radburn for Thanksgiving! We miss you and your family as well <3

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  4. Love you, Briana -- you are so, so much stronger than you even realize :)

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    1. Love you too, Ms. Allen! So, so much!

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  5. I'm glad you're taking this step, Briana. Please continue to write if you are able. There are many of us who are following you on this journey. Just keep swimming ;)

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    1. I will definitely keep writing. Thank you for your encouragement :)

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  6. It's a big step, but an important one. I've been attending a Grief Recovery class that goes for 12 weeks, and while they say you will never "get over" someone's death, it will hopefully help us complete and recover from this and any other future loss, whether it's death, loss of a job, divorce, loss of trust, whatever. Those at the Grief Recovery Institute say we learn how to "acquire" things, but not how to deal with loss ... which is very true. I know you know it will be tough at times, but I do hope it's helpful.

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    1. A grief recovery class sounds interesting! I would definitely think it would be helpful to do that, especially because it allows you to connect with other people dealing with similar losses.

      You're so right about never "getting over" someone's death. I am very aware that losing Blake is something I'll never get over, just as you will never get over the loss of your husband. But I know with the help of talking with friends, writing, and therapy, I can better deal with this loss and build coping skills to help me do that.

      I am really hoping it's a positive experience!

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