The Journey Back to Mental Wellness

Part V: Relinquishing Control

Jernee: Post bath and haircut on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

There are some gritty parts of me that I find, of late, bring me no pleasure to share. Isn’t that what this is all about, though? Releasing, removing everything from the system that clings to the depths of my bowels and makes it hard for me to handle life accordingly? I can vocalize this now without actually sly-giggling while I state it, but I have a problem with relinquishing control, especially if I feel a situation at hand will crumble if I do not have my hands somewhere in the mix. Ego knows when the right time is upon it. I take on quite a bit of responsibility, but I always have. I am the eldest child, the first great-grandchild and grandchild on both sides, so naturally, I was given the green light to make a few decisions before I truly knew what decision-making was. The problem is, that stuck . . . And it did so a little too well.

Ego knows when the right time is upon it.

While speaking to my therapist during our last session, I informed her that I can feel a lot of tension fall away from me because I am letting things go — things of which I have no control. There have been so many events that have happened recently that would have seriously made me break or lose my cool, but for some odd reason, I am regaining balance. I want to say that I can pinpoint when it took place, but really, I cannot. I just know that it feels good. At work, I am one of the “go-to people” and when I am not there, things do not typically flow the way they should. But, I feel the brunt of it too whenever anyone is out or away from work. We are all a part of a great team and each of us brings something incredible to our facility. We play our roles and we play them well.

What has been hardest for me, recently, is separating work-life from home-life because I have begun to get rather close to my teammates. So when the workday ends, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I am no longer in touch with the members of my team. When one works closely with others for over a year, bonds take place — feelings mature. You become sad if something happens to one of them, if they’re ill, have been in a car accident, or if the stressors of life begin to wear them down. I am learning to feel what I need to feel for them but to not feel like I have to solve their problems or find a solution.

Some things do not require our input.

And in learning this, I can continue to move forward with self-care and self-love. It is not my duty to hold the hands of my adult loved ones. It is not expected of me to center around them and jump onto every little case that causes a bit of friction in their lives. I have to learn to step out of the way and only be available when asked — if asked. Some things do not require our input. They simply require us to be present in that moment when we need to know what is going on and nothing more. Making room to pull this piece of me away from my skin is opening up new doors for me to be able to focus on self-care and self-love more. But, it will take time — years, I am certain.

Standing out| Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

My therapist notices that I would rather handle someone else’s problems and ease their pain than willingly acknowledge mine and work on regaining my own balance. I admitted to her that it is easier to help someone else than to help myself. That I have been in the nurturer/caretaker role for a very long time and this — this taking care of myself, is all relatively new to me. Taking time away from work to go on adventures, mini-vacations to places on my bucket list, and to spend time away from the electronic devices that can cripple me have been the best methods in ushering me to a place of centeredness and understanding.

I want to understand how to better care for myself but not to completely shut out or cut off the problems of others. The hard thing is finding a happy medium. When is it okay to step in? Is it ever okay to step in to ease someone else’s burden or pain? Should I wait until asked or use my heart to continue to guide me to know when the time is best? I like to say, that “I am a flawed piece of life still learning how to live,” and there is much truth in that statement. The quiet space of my therapist’s office is the circle of openness that I need. I am shedding and although it is scary, this is necessary. We are not meant to remain the same throughout our lives. Age ages. It keeps going and I am making it a point to go along with it — to grow along with it.

“I am a flawed piece of life still learning how to live.”

None of it is easy. I have turned the mirror on me and who I see when I stare into it is a beautiful being who needs tender love and care. I also see someone who can be so much more if she pushes fear to the side. The main thing is the fear of noticing how much of me needs changing — how much pruning I require in order to stand up straight and sway passionately in the sunlight. I take at least an hour or two out of my day and I read. I unplug. No television. No cell phone usage. No laptop or desktop usage. I simply sit in silence or I read. Is it helping to shape me into a better person? I think so. I feel as though the opportunity to embrace peace and quiet daily when my world is so full of noise is going to further help me on my journey.

“You have to know when to let go, Tre. The sooner you do this, the easier it will be.”

Her final words to me during our last session — the light that needed to be shined on my face still stings . . . “You have to know when to let go, Tre. The sooner you do this, the easier it will be.” I am fully aware of my path and I know it will be hard to stay on it, but I want to move forward. I just hope that what I see of me as months pass will pull me closer into loving me instead of shifting me even further away.

And of this, I also, have no control.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Parts I – IV

The Journey Back To Mental Wellness

Will Rogers’ paraphrased quote, located in my therapist’s office. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Part IV: Releasing Tension

“So, do you think you’ll take the job with your old supervisor?”

“I am still weighing my options with that. I’d have opportunities afforded me there that I do not at my current job, plus — no weekend work and more holiday time off. Did I mention that the practice is closer to where we live?”

“So many pros. Cons?”

“Well, if I took the position, I’d be leaving a team of great people and I love where I currently work. I’d put them in the position of trying to replace yet another person. I just wish things had not taken place the way that they have, but I have no control over that and I am trying to find a way to deal with each blow as they come.

“You said it best. You have no control over these things. I have a feeling you will choose what you believe to be the best option for both you and your current place of employment. Remember, self-care is important and if transferring will possibly aid you in maintaining self-care, do not deny yourself that.”

Jarred seashells. My therapist has collected these over the years during her visits to various beaches. Just seeing them made me want to start collecting shells too. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

won’t deny myself what I know is best, but I will not live in the world of a “possibility” or “probability,” either. The job offer comes as an “if.” The facility is new and building a name for itself while marketing its existence and gaining a few new patients each day. I could be a big part of this as I do love telling people about where I work. Our organization has proven to be one of the top organizations in North Carolina. I also believe that I could advance a bit more with this new facility and it would be such an honor to watch it grow and shift and take on new phases in operations as they come. I also know that there is a big chance that other people may be hired even if my old supervisor is currently the Clinic Administrator. She has power, but the higher-ups of our organization have more.

I am waiting, but not waiting at the same time. “Whatever will be, will be.” I tell my therapist this and she commends me on my ability to go along with what is taken place without emotionally breaking down.

“You are moving closer to your center, Tre.”

I hope she’s right. I tell her how I feel myself holding in so much tension and it is all piling up in my neck and shoulders and she stands up and shows me a method her chiropractor introduced to her since she tends to hold tension in the same area. She signals me to rise from the couch and follow her in motion. I do so. We center our heads, hold our arms out horizontally, spread our fingers, and then push our arms down, centering our elbows, and touching our hips with our hands. I could feel the relief in my neck area as the method ends. I tell her that this method will be a useful thing to do right before bed. She agrees.

There were brief moments where I teared up — just thinking of possibly leaving yet not knowing what lies ahead, frightens me. I want to be able to make a difference wherever I work and I get the opportunity to do this daily at my current job, however, roles have shifted and some people are clueless to their roles and that can be a harmful thing. I fear another toxic work environment, but I also believe that I can prevent it from becoming one.

That is too much pressure for one person, Tre.”

She’s right. She is definitely right.


Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on Medium.

Part I

Part II

Part III

The Journey Back To Wellness


ShadowCreek
Devil’s Creek and my shadow, Bakersville, NC|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Part II: Getting Personal|Lune, 10 Parts

so close to one month
we’ve shared me
now, she’s sharing her.

simple, welcoming
divine words
calm this fragile soul.

we discuss a plan
towards peace
what will help shape me?

Devil’s creek becomes
a safe place —
a sweet memory.

I pull from it love
that I need
when days are so hard.

“give yourself new things,
inspire
yourself in new ways.”

went to the mountains,
breathed fresh air,
found a sense of home

and left the pieces
of my world
that’d been crushing me.

she says, “you’re solid,
a still rock,
but it’s time to move.”

I hear her, I do.
but instinct
has its claws in me.


*My therapist is teaching me how to better listen to my surroundings, especially in places of peace. I have taken a ton of pictures of late and with each passing day, in those photos, and around me, I am pulling out what I need and leaving what I do not. I still have a long road ahead of me, though.

Thank you for reading.


Part I

The Journey Back To Mental Wellness: My First Therapy Session

Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

The Journey Back to Mental Wellness

My First Therapist Session

koreansoup
Korean Soup for the Soul. My good friend Heej/Classical Sass makes this per my request every time I visit. It is a happy place for me. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

found myself working through a fit of disconnectedness on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, simply trying to get through the day to get to my first therapist appointment at 12:30 pm. Jernee spiked a fever the day before and we had been to the Vet’s office for what was supposed to be just her annual exam but turned into a big-to-do because the fever would not break, however, given one day to rest and be at home to romp about at will, she began to feel much better. Wednesday also found me in a meeting at my job for most of my scheduled half-day of work, so I felt all out of sorts with just a little bit more weight on my shoulders from Tuesday’s doggy shenanigans.

But, when I walked through the door of the psychiatric practice/mood treatment facility, a calming sense of peace came over me. I registered at the check-in desk by presenting my insurance card, recent lab work, and my Living Will and Testament. I paid my copay and before I could sit down, the lady who would be my therapist greeted me at the door to lead me on my journey and even said my name correctly. If I had a gold star in my pocket, she would have received it. We circled the hall and walked towards her office where she guided me to a medium-sized room, big enough for a comfortable couch, two even more comfortable chairs, and her desk space/work area.

She added to my increased level of comfort by asking me which type of lighting I preferred. I said to myself, “I am going to like her.” And, I did. I do. We began by breaking the ice, introducing ourselves, and then she said, “So, tell me what is going on,” and I let it rip. I started from when I noticed my mood changes and my decline in happiness and overall feeling of unworthiness and informed her that it all came to an intense spike a couple of weeks ago. As I was talking, I maintained eye contact, and so did she. She only broke my verbal stride to clarify what I was saying and to be sure she heard everything correctly. She took actual notes, reading back to me what was stated to her.

The entire session felt like a conversational hug — like something I had deep down inside, tucked in a corner that was afraid to come out, and at that moment, decided to present itself to be coddled. I felt a sense of genuine welcome and there was soft lighting in every nook of the office with a fragrance that smelled close to vanilla or lavender or a mixture of both in the air. I did not feel any pressure. Oddly enough, this space, the one we created, seemed very much like a space of peace.

Just like the soup that you see as the photo above, the space we created was my happy place. I felt warm, understood, and heard. I had a voice with her. She acknowledged my concern and addressed it, and advised me to continue to use the tools that I am using to increase my happiness and shift my mood when a dark cloud hovers, however, she was vocal about contacting her directly if I felt as though a volcanic eruption could occur. She is letting me set my schedule to meet with her and at this time, I feel as though, twice per month, will be good.

The next session, we will get deeper into other helpful tools that will assist me in getting back to a level of balance and to also learn about a few other things that can combat the molehill that I have possibly turned into a mountain simply because that is how it feels. There is a good chance that I may have some homework too, she actually said this, “Tre, I may give you some homework as time goes on.” Overall, my first impression of her? Genuine — is doing the job she is meant to do, and a great listener.

I think I am on my way… In time, at least, I hope so

 


Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on Medium.

My Journey so far:

The Caretaker & Biting the Bullet

“Biting The Bullet”

I Have An Appointment. Hello, Anxiety.

My favorite piece of artwork, gifted to me by one of my aunts. It reminds me of Shug Avery singing in the juke joint in The Color Purple. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Lately, it has become evident that the walls are tumbling down around me and trying to steady them — maintain their stillness is lost on me. I am intelligent enough to know when I have to pull back. Essentially, I had to come to grips with pulling back, letting go, and letting someone else tackle the very fabric of my being in hopes of stitching me back together again. I think I told one of my loved ones something along the lines of, “I just need some help piecing me back together again. I am tired of feeling jigsawed.” Searching for a therapist is taxing. In my area, there are so many professionals who do what they do, but how many of them will do it the way that I need/prefer?

I did my research. I took names of establishments, opinions from others, and logged on to my computer with the information given. Thankfully, I am in the medical field as well as my cousin, and knowing what we know, it was not as hard for me to select an entity that made the cut. The one that I did select has everything that I am looking to experience in a center that has counselors, psychiatrists, etc., who also take the natural approach when aiming to better someone’s mental health. My fear has always been landing a therapist who feigns listening, writes me a prescription, then schedules me for another visit where the same thing occurs. No, thank you.

I want to be heard. I want this person to help me continue to break down what is going on and assist in leading me back to a path that keeps me from shaming myself, feeling as though I want to hurt/harm/kill myself, and to understand that I know from where everything is coming, I need a better understanding of why…Over the past year, I have been struggling with feelings of worthlessness from being rejected, not to mention trying to maintain everything on my own with no break, thus being exhausted. I have had a few people make commitments, then back out on them, numerous times. Add in my work schedule and the fact that I began a new job (after being in a toxic environment with my last employer for five years) with an organization that I love and my supervisor recently expressed to us that she is leaving to take on a new adventure and the flood not only hovered over me, it dropped down and my levees broke.

I was trying to get to a place where happiness could hold me a little tighter than it had and just when I thought I was getting there, life happened. Life always happens. To say that my supervisor is the glue for our team is an understatement. She has taken a team of seven women, all from different backgrounds and spanning across different age ranges and turned us into “The Dream Team.” At my job, we get things done and we know how to properly because of her. Getting that news — the last straw for the camel’s back, shattered me. It has been eons since I felt as though I belonged in my workplace, since I felt no pressure to overexert myself, or take on the tasks of someone else because they will not or cannot do them. I finally felt at home.

On that day, I felt everything that I felt in my teens — neglect, abandonment, feeling as though I was to blame, etc. And since that day, I cannot (un)feel those emotions. I submitted my inquiry. I filled out the questionnaire about my background and what I am looking for in a therapist. I corresponded with their New Client Intake Personnel and landed an appointment, and now, I wait. Next week, I will begin a journey that I have fretted for quite some time, but now — now, I am ready. Having done all of this, fear is creeping in and it has decided to bring its buddy anxiety and they are having some sort of weird shindig in my head and I just want to belt this initial appointment and move into a helpful routine.

I am asking myself off-the-wall questions like: “What will she think of me?” “Will there be a diagnosis?” “If so, when?” “What will the diagnosis be, will it be correct?” “Will she suggest medication and how will I react to that?” Every question that I can think of has greeted me and today, I finally said — “No more, you’ve bitten the bullet, now wait.” And I have to tell myself this in order to stop the questions, in order to get through my days.

The most important thing now is that I have taken the first step. Everything else that comes along will be managed, dealt with, and entertained when each bridge presents itself.

I am finally ready to cross them.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurlvia Medium.


My journey began here:

The Caretaker