Settling in for the long haul

Okay, so here I am five months in.  All the crazy paperwork is done.  The memorial service is over. I’ve been back at work for quite some time, and everyone has gone back to their normal life. Now it’s the long road stretching out ahead of me.

I feel ill-equipped for any kind of journey.  I have not been sleeping well for months. I have been trying to eat well. I can’t seem to motivate to do the simplest exercise program. I cry a little every day, I am happy a little every day and I think a lot.  I think about life before, about our marriage, about K’s death, about choices I made before, about what choices I should be making now, and on and on it goes.

I’m doing all the “right” things: I journal, I blog, I talk to friends and family.  I get out of the house, I go to church.  I have been attending a Grief Share group, and yet it’s just not enough, or not the right combination of things to get to the heart and soul of what I need. It’s like I see myself hanging over a precipice trying to get a grip and scrabble up onto firm ground and not making progress.  I did not die when K. did and I will not live like I did. I know there is no magic that will get me there, but I am ready to do whatever it takes to make a new future for myself. 

So I decided to start by seeing my doctor. He knew K. and was very understanding and supportive. He also wrote me a prescription for something to help me sleep with explicit instructions on how to take it on a very short-term basis to get my sleep back on track.  My body has forgotten how to get to sleep efficiently and stay asleep for more than two or three hours and that is complicating everything.

I also  called my employee assistance plan at work and got some names of local therapists. I called EAP on Monday.  I called one of the therapists on Tuesday and left a message. Thursday, having heard nothing from the first one I called another one.  She called back by the end of the day. She was covered by the EAP, but not by my regular insurance and was rightfully concerned that if I needed more that the initial 5 covered visits this might be a problem. I was feeling rather disappointed and dejected by this time, thinking “it shouldn’t be this hard to get help when you have so little energy to start with”. Friday I pulled that last bit of resolve out and called a third therapist. The receptionist picked up the phone and got me scheduled for an appointment in a little over a week, and put me on the cancellation list. This gave me some relief, just knowing that I will have someone to help me work through all this very soon.  Shortly after that the first therapist called.  I told her that I was all set, thank you very much, which wasn’t what I was thinking, but that was all I had energy to say.

An aside to any mental health professionals, if you are not available to get back to patients who call you within 24 hours, please leave that message on your voicemail.  It is difficult to make a call to a therapist, much less have to repeat the process two more times. I am fortunate enough to have found someone on my third try. I very nearly gave up after two and most certainly would have given up after three tries.

So I have slept for 5 hours for a couple of nights now and it has helped. I have also discovered a new podcast I like.  It is called The Widowed Mom Podcast with Krista St. Germain.  She is a widow and a life coach. She gives actual tools on how to start changing your thinking to help change your life in a positive manner.  You don’t need to be a widow to appreciate her insights. I feel like I am pulling myself up off the ledge

I am still grieving, but I have hope.

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