Thursday, April 11, 2013

Therapy

Sometimes I wonder and worry if I am too honest here on my blog. And then I remember that though it is sometimes painful to put something 'out there' and be misunderstood... that it is still worth it. To the Lord be Glory and Praise.


I have something to confess. Before last December, I had never actually seen a counselor since the first five years since Owen died. In the year after Owen died, I hardly talked to anyone (this is pretty literal). I cried out to my husband, I wrote a lot, and tried talking to friends who would listen. The next year, Chris and I had quite a few appointments with pastors to talk about theology. You see, I thought that if I had the right theology then I could understand better and cope with what the Lord had ordained for our babies' lives.
And really, it is amazing to see how the Lord has transformed me since those early days. I feel such hope and rest and peace when I read the Bible now. Theology is merely (and GREATLY) how you think about God. I wanted what I thought about God to line up with who God actually is. I wanted to understand who this God of the broken world is, and I wanted to know him. I remember many nights rolling over in my bed and whispering to Chris to 'tell me something true and beautiful' before I fell asleep. I wanted to wrap myself in the Truth.


I've been sitting here with my hands on the keyboard for awhile trying to articulate what it feels like to know Him. But I can't quite verbalize it. 

Rest. Hope. Affection. Awe. Peace.

Those words will have to suffice. 


But I want you to know that I'm still broken. I still have wounds that can't won't quite heal. And it's because of this brokenness that I still struggle with God. There are still nights where I have no rest, no peace and little hope. Nights where I've wrestled so painfully with the Lord God that I love. 

I don't know how to articulate it, but I can try. 
I trust the Lord. But I fear what he may ordain for my life, or my family's life. 
I have hope for an eternal and unbroken remade home. But I fear how my loved ones may be separated from me, or I from them. 
I have affection and awe for the God who made me and who calls me his own daughter. But I fear his ways. 
I have peace that all will be made right one day. But I fear what may come from the days from now until then.


You see a pattern? Fear and anxiety.

I live with a lot of fear and anxiety in my life. It doesn't mean that God hasn't worked greatly in my heart or in my mind, or that I don't love and trust my Savior. Oh, I do. But because brokenness remains, so does fear.

I have been thankful to spend some time with some of Chris' professors here in seminary, and it has been good to sit with people who have spend most of their lives studying and learning about our Father in Heaven. The week of Owen's birthday, I sat down with a professor and tried to articulate my fears and the panic I feel sometimes. 
As sad as this may sound to some, this is how fear, trust, worry and rest look for me...

Some days before my eyes even open in the mornings, anxiety has already taken hold of my thoughts. I struggle to shake the worry out and replace it with the truth. "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up. God is our salvation." Psalm 68:19

I hear the sounds of my daughters awake and playing in their cribs and I breathe a sigh of relief. I thank the Lord that they are alive and well this morning. I cuddle and hug and kiss their sweet cheeks and we go about our day.
And then another bout of anxiety comes. I kneel with my girls and we pray together. "I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2
The worry creeps in. Some days are better than others. Some days I brush it away with clean stroke and do not miss a beat. Others, the worry turns to panic and I struggle. I forget to turn to my Father and I wrestle with my thoughts on my own. Those are the days that suck the most.

(I know this may sound terrible, but I know this is true for so many of you as well.) I live with the reality of death, of sickness, of separation constantly. It is almost always on my mind. It drives my thoughts to panic when Hannah or Ruby sleep longer than usual in the morning. I cannot explain what it feels like to know that one day I could wake up to death again. Just like that cold November day in 2007.

And it is with this thought, this increasing panic, that I am driven to counseling with a trained and professional counselor. Since last December, I have been seeing a counselor who is licensed in EMDR therapy. If you're curious about what this is, this website is very helpful. EMDR is a type of therapy for people who have had traumatic events in their past that have shaped and wired their brains in such a way that they get stuck there in the traumatic event. It has been used for people with PTSD with great success.

I am right smack in the middle of this therapy. And it is so hard. But so good.

If you're a friend in 'real life' who sees me on a daily basis, you may notice that I'm not quite myself lately. Therapy has forced me to relive past traumas and it is all being brought up to the surface, which in the short term may seem like I feel worse. But in the long term, this is vital.

I am not at the end stages of therapy yet, so I can't tell you what EMDR has done for me, but I wanted to come out and say it outloud.

I am in therapy, and I'm not ashamed. It is not a shameful secret. It is God's grace to me. It is okay to need help processing your past. Going to therapy, by no means, means that I am ready to move on from Owen or Sunshine or Chipmunk. That is not the goal of therapy. My children are my children, no matter where they are.


Therapy is a gracious, wonderful tool. Some people may feel like it's a private thing (which is fine) but let's not NOT talk about it. Talking about therapy may help someone else get the help they need. Talking about it may help someone feel less alone, less ostracized or less than others who don't seem to need therapy. 

Let us in the Church be loving, understanding and supportive of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us love one another, and serve one another... we are the body... made to help and support our members in love.

~~~
I started this post late last December, and finished it just now. It has taken me a few months to feel ready to share. Not because therapy is shameful, but because I didn't know how much to share on such an open forum. A lot of events have happened lately that have brought this post to my mind, and it feels right to share it now.

If you're struggling with the idea of therapy, of what it means to go, of what the goal of therapy might be for you, or how others might perceive you.... please know that therapy is probably not what you think. Therapy is listening to your body, to your thoughts, to the things that most often go unnoticed day to day, but these are the things that are shaping how you're living and reacting to life. If you are thinking right now that therapy sounds pretty good... then you'd be absolutely right... and with great love, I'd encourage you to look into it.