What happened after #TimeToTalk

I walked out of the book filled room and soft furnishings, blinking in the rare, bright sunshine with a lightness I hadn’t felt in a long time.

It was my last session of counselling and a chance to reflect and see whether we had achieved what we set out to do together over the last 6 sessions.

The sessions had come about once I was able to admit there was something wrong and I hadn’t been coping as well as I thought. It took some gentle prods from my wife and self reflection before I was able to see that I needed some help to deal with emotional triggers, taming the chaos in my head and my anger.

Identifying and tackling triggers
This was tricky. The obvious ones I know all ready. The flippant use of twins as if it would be the worst thing in the world, the phrase everything happens for a reason and such are easy ones. What’s more interesting is why other events and encounters push the button marked *FOOM*.

What I’ve been trying to do is an assessment of whether these things are worth my psychic energy and generally, no. If there is no chance of changing someone’s mind about your character or motivations or basic right to exist then nothing is solved by trying to convince them otherwise. Smile sweetly, present the smallest possible target and wait for them to drift way like an angry cloud.

There are other triggers though which come from deeper hurts. The ones that remind me that the past is never far away. It can come from the most unexpected place. It’s out there and it’s going to get you.

These are harder to deal with as these are the wounds that will never heal. The unresolved matters promising only further painful revelations and ever shifting history and shattered memories.

For all the best will in the world 6 sessions or 6000 sessions will never be enough to make peace with that constant war.

Handling the overwhelming rush of emotion
Regular readers will know (because I keep telling them) how this blog was intended to be a way of getting all the chaos out of my head. To a certain extent it is still is.

Early drafts of posts are often closer to stream of consciousness or automatic writing. I then go over it with a clearer, cleaner mind and start editing out fluff, purple and tortured metaphors and try and give it structure, order and flow.

One of the things I am good at in my job is absorbing information and making connections. This is not always a good thing when it comes to my own thoughts where tangents become spirals and loops.

Sometimes it’s all too much and the other option is to practice some mindfulness techniques. I had reservations but thanks to @bipolarblogger’s post and the free app Headspace I gave it a go. I was pleasantly surprised to find the first session effective at tempering that weird murderous apathy that comes with a daily commute.

Taking 10 minutes to still a racing mind and allow it to float like a balloon and then gently tug the string to bring it back was unexpectedly soothing. Also helps me get back to sleep after night feeds and vivid creeping nightmares.

Dealing with anger
We didn’t go into this in depth but touched upon being angry and the fear of openly expressing it.

The danger is by not finding a healthy outlet that it leaks out in unexpected ways or finds its expression in hateful passive aggression or worse depression where the rage turns inward.

Anger and depression are reflective of each other. Anger is a furious hurricane capable of destroying all in its path and leaving behind only wreckage and dust. Depression is quicksand pulling everything under its deceptive flatness into an inescapable abyss.

Of the two only the first can be harnessed for good. Depression produces nothing good. By its nature makes its home in a bleak wasteland where nothing grows, a merciless, pitiless non-existence. It doesn’t produce art or action, its brutal numbness smothers creativity.

Anger can be translated into action. Sometimes destruction is needed to wipe away the old structures that confine and allow something new, something better to be built.

It was anger that pushed me to do more in our boys’ memory and take a more active role in pushing for change and offering support.

It’s anger that made me attend consultation events making sure my voice was heard so that parents could be spared the agony of a preventable loss.

It’s anger that millions of babies are dying each year and effective prevention is strangled by a misguided belief that preventable deaths are inevitable. It’s anger that cultural stigma works against the bereaved leaving them lonely, isolated and belittled.

Time to Talk
By making use of the counselling and blogging I’ve come to understand more about my motivations and thought processes and how to work with them rather than fighting them.

I think of myself as a pragmatist but it’s hugely unrealistic to expect that there is one job that will fill all my needs. Thinking that there was made me frustrated and miserable.

By using this blog to let my creative side play and in doing so contribute to campaigning for preventing stillbirths, better maternity care and bereavement support I can achieve what I can’t in my current role.

Through bereavement befriending I can directly help others to talk about their experiences and emotions to provide reassurance and support.

Counselling can seem like a soft option or a sticking plaster but by going for it and doing the homework I feel better and have a clearer idea of what I need to do now and how to handle the dips when they happen (and they will happen).

http://www.reflectionsfromme.com
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20 Comments Add yours

  1. mackenzieglanville says:

    counselling is never a soft option, it is really tough work. It makes us really look at what we are going through, face it and deal with it! I think it is great to get the help you need after all you have been through, and then like you say harness that anger for good, for change! You have an ability to write beautifully and challenge the way people think, this blog is a great way to spread the word and help others and the more we can share the word the more we can create change. Always happy to share for you and support you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thank you. I was surprised at how draining it could be and particular the ‘jab another pin’ session where we went for a walk down the bit of memory lane I’d prefer to grow weeds.

      Like

  2. Mrs Tubbs says:

    There are lots of different sorts of anger – the destructive sort and the constructive / righteous sort. The latter says that this isn’t right, shouldn’t be allowed to happen and makes you do something to change it.

    And what MG said πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. I am working on translating this voice into action just working on the details! “Anger is an energy”

      Like

  3. ljdove23 says:

    I found that the anger was something that I really struggled with in the earlier years. I had SO much anger that I didn’t even know what to do with. I had so many questions, I wanted someone to blame, someone to direct my anger at. I was angry with my husband for not grieving in the same way as I, angry at my family for not understanding just how devastated I was, angry at friends for not being supportive enough and so very angry at myself that I couldn’t save him. Almost ten years later, I assure you that the anger is far less and yet the knowledge that this is still happening, to far too many babies, saddens me deeply. Keep going, you are doing a great job. #mg

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa says:

    Anger is such a complex emotion. The first time a councillor asked me what I felt just before feeling anger, I was shocked to think that there was a ‘just before’; anger seemed to flood my mind and body, without pause. But once I started looking for the pause, the tiniest breath before the deluge of anger descended, I found something else. I found another emotion that was cloaked in anger, hiding behind its roaring fury. Often it was an emotion I didn’t want to know, which is why it had become an expert at camouflage. Thanks for your honesty in sharing your experience. #mg

    Liked by 1 person

  5. marmeemarch says:

    What a heartfelt post. I really admire you honesty and the way you are using your anger constructively. Warmest wishes #BloggersClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really believe in the power of talking. I took a couple of counselling courses before I had my children and I always came away from my classes feeling lighter for having talked and more purposeful for having helped someone. I’ve always believed that no harm can ever come from talking things out with someone who is trained to guide you through whatever difficulties you are warring with inside your own mind, and I’m glad to read this post and know that you have to gained something from counselling. Thank you for sharing. #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Helena says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you are aware of your thoughts and feelings and why you act the way you do. Talking/writing things out are great. I’m not for the stiff upper lip and bottling things up. #bestandworst and #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

  8. randommusings29 says:

    Personally, I think counselling is the hard option – getting to know yourself in ways you often don’t want to is not easy, but I think it’s worth it, especially if commit to trying to get the best out of it
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK πŸ™‚
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Silly Mummy says:

    Counselling is hard in my view, not an easy option. I had a lot of different forms, and different treatments, in my past (for eating disorder mainly, but depression, anxiety, OCD all linked), and I’m always interested to hear how people find counselling. I struggled with it. I’m argumentative, stubborn and very closed off, and I found it hard to talk, was resistant to methods like CBT, and (helpfully!) had a tendency to argue my therapists round in circles until they were confused. I don’t, however, consider these behaviours to be particularly sensible or helpful, so I admire people who commit themselves properly to the hard work and vulnerability involved in counselling in order to achieve something from it. I did eventually find one counsellor who I did connect with and make progress with – he found a better way of dealing with me than the others. I’m glad you found your sessions helped you to achieve greater clarity.

    Very interested in your comment about being good at absorbing and connecting information & the problems in your own mind from that. It’s really true. I have always been good at processing and analysing too, & it did make me good at the job I did, but I entirely agree – I tangle myself up in my own mind with all those connections & jumps I will make. #bestandworst

    Liked by 1 person

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