There have been a lot of changes going on in our lives this summer and I'm sure I will update on here, sooner or later. I like change, actually. I kind of thrive off of it. It also helps to give me something to obsess over...which is something that I look for these days. Distraction. I earnestly look for new distractions to obsess over and keep my mind busy so that I won't stop and dwell on my sadness and empty heart. Otherwise I just constantly feel dead inside.
One good update to write about is that Mark and I have finally found a counselor that we really really like. We have been to see him about 4 times now and we are really impressed. He was referred to us by a friend at our church and I couldn't be more thankful for her adamant referral of him. A counselor who actually truly deeply cares? Wow - who would've thought that would be so hard to find? In just 4 short sessions, this man has taken us under his wing. His compassion towards us is palpable in every way he talks to us and, most importantly, listens to us. He has certainly gone above and beyond what I believe most counselors would typically do. For instance: He requested that we bring photos and videos of Vienne so that he may get to know her a bit. He asked permission to read this blog and then he actually DID and wrote us a heartfelt email about how much she touched his life and how angry he feels for us. He spotted some hydrangeas while on a bike ride so stopped and photographed them and framed them and gave them to us! (photography is a hobby of his) Wow. We are astounded.
But, beyond what he has "given" us in ways of compassion and support, he is also slowly starting to bring light to some areas that I struggle in. One mainly being my self-worth, especially after losing Vienne. I never originally thought that I struggled in that area...but he is starting to point some small things out that are giving me much food for thought.
The main reason I started to search for a counselor again was because my anxiety continues to worsen and worsen...which has, unfortunately, started to affect my physical health. My doctor recently asserted that she has come to believe that the majority of my maladies are being caused by my nervous system (or anxiety and grief). She took a thermogram of my abdomen, hoping that she might find some physical evidence of what's been making me ill...and it came up blank. Nothing physically causing this...which is why diet and herbs haven't helped. Since that discovery, we have been starting to address my nervous system. Counseling should also help. (I should clarify that, yes, I do still have gluten & grain intolerances...there are physical problems that have always been, but they have been worsened through my grief)
As our counselor is getting to know us, he has started to gently point out some things about how I talk about myself. I guess I have a tendency to interject small yet negative adjectives about myself when explaining things. For example: "I struggled with my vanity and my pride when...." or "I know this is weird but...". Nothing overt...but small unnecessary negative comments. He also asserted that he gathers that Mark and I are very selfless people - conscientious and thoughtful and caring. Nothing wrong with that at all, though he did point out that sometimes that means we might not take time to actually care for ourselves. This gave me something to think about. I know he is right.
Allowing my self-care to be put on the back burner and a tendency to interject negative comments about myself all points to my self-worth, in my eyes. When looking at my struggle with my anxiety, I see how that also reflects a struggle with my self-worth. My anxiety gets most intense when things get out of my "control" or don't go as expected or planned, especially in my mothering. I am most paranoid about my mothering to Ivy. Of course I struggle with that. In my disillusioned mind, ultimately, I failed Vienne. With EVERY over-the-top intentional effort I made for Vienne since the moment she was conceived, I still somehow failed in the end. I know I did way more for her than most moms even do. Mothering is my passion. It is what I am good at. But despite all my efforts and plans and intentions I still lost her. I still feel punished. And, so to make up for that, I struggle with putting standards on myself as I mother Ivy...in irrational fear that I could fail her, too. I know this is all irrational. I know most of you who read this want to argue this and tell me that I'm such a great mom. I know I'm a great mom. Deep down, I do know this. But, that voice still reminds me that I failed. And, I know that is the "voice" that the counselor wants to focus on addressing. I want to have something to blame. It's hard for me to let go of that. On the days I don't blame myself, I blame God. Two very difficult things to reconcile.
Anyway...so that's where I'm at in my head these days. Striving for distraction so that I can just plug along. It's almost a month until the dreaded one-year-anniversary of her death...the absolute most worst day of my life. Fun times ahead (note my heavy sarcastic tone).
(me and my first baby girl)