I started seeking a counselor very soon after Steve had passed away remembering how much it had helped after my friend had died.
I recommend that everyone see a counselor or a therapist at some point in their life. I think it is good to have a relationship established with someone because you never know what's going to come up and when you are going to need to talk to somebody. This is another thing that does not have to be long-term but I found so helpful. I had my boys also see therapists to help with grief, anxiety, depression and being able to go to school.
I knew that if I did not make a connection with the therapist or counselor I was meeting with that it would not help me and I needed to find someone else. I did end up working with three different women for different lengths of time. Each experience was unique and gave me what I needed. I mostly sought validation of my feelings.
I was prescribed a therapist through the hospital by my primary physician. I was able to make a connection with her and found that she listened to me and she was able to guide me to learn about what I was feeling and how to cope with grief and the other emotions I was feeling. It was in talking to her that I realized I just wanted somebody to tell me that it was okay to be okay. Everyone told me that it was okay to grieve for as long as I needed to and that there was no timeline to grief. Although I believe that is true I also believe that you can have good days and that you can be happy and experienced joy. Because you are happy does not mean that you have forgotten the person that is gone or that you don't love them anymore or that you're not still grieving. I was also able to talk with her about my job and dealing with secondary trauma related to the students I taught. I got parenting tips and ideas of things to journal about and other self-care ideas. The one thing I appreciated the most about working with her was that she wasn't grieving the loss of Steve. Everyone else in my life that I was connected to also was grieving in some way or another. It's hard to share your grief with other people when not everyone is in the same space or dealing with the same emotions at the same time.
I also joined a group called Self Care Bestie. Cathleen Bearse is a licensed social worker who had a Facebook group and also offered monthly sessions with her. Because we live in different states I was able to do phone calls with her. She put together a course called Fearless which dealt with anxiety. I find anxiety a large part of grief. There were many things to worry about especially around parenting and finances. She offered multiple techniques and validated how I was feeling and the things that I was doing. She made me feel what I was experiencing was normal and that I was okay and going to be okay. Cathleen gave ideas about cognitive behavior therapy, breathing exercises, meditations guided and not, and journal prompts. I think she helped me realize that I was a good mom and that I was going to continue to be a good mom.
After attending 6 weeks of meditation I started personal sessions with a spiritual healer. Most of the session is counseling and talking through what I'm experiencing and then there is time for quiet healing. Almost every time during the healing portion I was able to meditate and connect with God. One time, I experienced being in the garden of Gethsemane before Christ was crucified. It was so peaceful and I was able to hear Christ telling God that he would follow his plan even though he didn't want to. Through her style of guidance, I was able to learn more about who I am and the roles I play. I have learned about setting boundaries and allowing my body to experience what it needs to and to listen to my intuition and do what I felt led to do regardless of how others were going to feel or be affected.
The other people that I have in my life are my best friends. Although most of them are not licensed therapists or social workers, talking with them has been so helpful. One friend and I try to get together weekly for a half an hour just to share what's going on in our lives. Another friend and I get together once a month and spend a couple hours together. A friend that lives far away and I try connect on the phone. Sometimes conversations with them is hard because of the connection with Steve.