The Journey Back to Mental Wellness

Cairn, Bakersville, NC — In front of Crooked Little Flower’s studio|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Part III: Listening To My Surroundings

On my birthday, April 17, 2019, I had the opportunity to meet, spend time with, and enjoy the company of Crooked Little Flower in her neck of the woods. About two hours and thirty minutes away from me, but only about an hour from where I mini-vacationed, meeting Connie is sure to be one of the best things that has happened to me this year. Here is a woman I have known and loved for over three years on this platform and we have been close in proximity and had not met, but to scratch that one thing off of the to-do-list has filled my happy box with its much-needed ammunition. I basked in the beauty of nature near the place that she calls home and took in as much as I could of the sights, sounds, and tastes of the mountains.

Studios at High Cove, Bakersville, NC|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I toured the studio where she creates her art and also shares it with the community. This place, not only is it the homestead of amazing artwork, it is a tranquil space where upon entering it, all that broke me down previously, faded from view. I could hear the voices of artists whispering to me, asking me to tread lightly and look at a space where thoughts, ideas, and heartwork come to life. I felt the presence of artistry and all that makes up a creative and what we have to do in order to maintain the abilities to continue to create. Not only was Connie welcoming to me, but she also opened up her door to my Little Monster too, Jernee, and she gave her sniff of approval of the studio and of Crooked Little Flower too.

Jernee, posing for a “studio shot.”|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Watching this little one romp about the space, learning her new surroundings, and trying to lay claim to every nook and cranny moved me to no end. Jernee does not know a stranger. Any place that we may visit, tour, or plan a brief stay seems as if it is mentally logged into her doggy brain and becomes one with her forever. She remembers every place we have been and it shows when we return as she gets excited, plops her tongue out, and races around those spaces and places with undeniable joy. I am taking cues from her as I watch her listen to these places. I am still in the learning process — it is taking time, but it is proving to be beneficial.

I could hear my therapist saying to me, “have fun, create new memories, and take what you need and leave the rest.” I did exactly that. I could feel the pressure in my chest breaking down a bit and suddenly, smiling felt natural again.

“Wide Open Spaces,” Bakersville, NC. How can you see this and not be moved?|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

While listening and attempting to take in what I needed and leave what I did not, I could not stray away from the questions that have been plaguing me:

Why be overly sensitive?
What are you lacking?
What can you gain?

How can you be in a place so beautiful and still sense the ugliness of you?

And by ugliness, I mean — in my soul, in my heart. “We all have our demons” and how we deal with, struggle with, or overcome them is our personal testimony. There are a lot of things that I know I need to change and I also know that changing these things will take time. Taking the time that I needed away from my normal hustle and bustle was exactly what “the doctor ordered,” but in this case — what my therapist highly recommended. There will be shedding and as I continue to shed, I know there will also be more pain and tears and feelings of inadequacy and a bit of loneliness mixed in too and how I handle these emotions and various feelings as they come will dictate what I have learned.

For the next few weeks, I am making myself understand that although I am human and mistakes will be made, dwelling in the dark places does not have to be my end all, be all. I have more memories now to pull from and smile at on my down days. I have to thank nature, Connie, living to see another year, Jernee, and a few other remedies for that.

And, my therapist too.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.


Part I

Part II

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