My therapist shoved a box of tissues at me and encouraged me to cry it out as I confided, "I know in the grand scheme of things that these things are not that big of a deal, but for my life it's a lot."
That particular session I was telling her about a ten day span during which I caused a car wreck ($800), contracted food poisoning, mourned the passing of my aunt (while attempting to comfort my grieving mother), and received a surprise bill in the mail for my D&C to the tune of $1000.
I accepted the kleenexes.
Truth be told, earlier this year I was just coming out of a challenging season for me with some non-family relationships. That, in addition to the everyday challenge of full-time work, full-time grad school, and full-time life, and I was ready for change. I was looking forward to a new chapter in my life when we found out that we were expecting Baby Johnson. All that to say, I was just finishing up licking my wounds when April happened and we lost the baby. It was just too much. Sure, I functioned - I continued with work and school, but I was not doing well at life in general.
I would be a liar if I said everything that has happened over the last seven months has been no big deal. It has been a big deal. Emotionally, I have been wrecked. In May, my anxiety began to spiral. Maybe you have experienced a similar spiral - I think it's somewhat common - and this has been a problem for me throughout my life. Anyway, I knew I needed help. So, I contacted a counselor that I found who specialized in pregnancy loss and seemed to be great fit for me. The weekend after I contacted her, we were robbed. Because, of course. Icing on the cake.
And so for the past few months, I have been sitting on a couch, nervous because of the unfortunate stigma of counseling, but leaving each session feeling empowered because I am dealing with my "stuff" and confident that things can and will change.
I have been learning to validate my feelings. It's normal that I have feelings of sadness when I see babies. It's normal to be frustrated each month when there is only one line on the stick. It's okay that when I hear a strange noise in the dark that my initial reaction is to want to start sobbing and running away. I don't have to have it all together all the time.
I don't have to have it all together all the time.
And you know what? It's so freeing. It is so freeing to know what when I have a less than stellar internal response to yet another pregnancy announcement, I can validate my own loss and why I am feeling that way, and work on being happy and joyful with that person. It's freeing that if I need a minute to be sad and re-goup, I can do that. It's freeing to know that my exaggerated responses of fear when I am around a person or situation that makes me uneasy are completely normal for someone who has been a victim of an armed robbery. I don't have to pretend like I have it together all the time.
I am also learning to take a step back and see this season of my life as a book on my shelf. That way, I see it for what it is. I can take the story of this last season down off the shelf temporarily and look at it, but then I can put it back. It's still there, but I'm not in it. The next book in our shelf may not be a light read, but I pray that is is.
Melodrama is not my goal here. Please don't misunderstand me. I appreciate that horrible things happen every day, and I am so beyond blessed. I don't want to lose that perspective. But I want to be honest -and writing this out is healing for me. And honestly, the fact that I'm to the point of writing about all this is really encouraging to me.
So, what now? Well, I certainly don't plan on wallowing in my circumstances. Do I still grieve for our baby? Absolutely. Am I still nervous to go to a gas station? You betcha. Do I still battle fear and anxiety? Certainly.
However, I am feeling the winds of change. No, I don't know the future, but I know that within my own atmosphere, I am on the cusp. I can feel new life budding. I feel tentative hopefulness. I feel renewed excitement for what is next. I feel like I am being healed. And I feel nervous.
I am wrapping up graduate school this week. I am closing that chapter of our book. Mark received a financial blessing at work this week that covers my hospital bill. The season is changing; I feel as though the fog is lifting. And for that I am so very, very thankful.
I think if I had to pick one particular song that summed up this season, it would be this one. I have sang this song countless times in my car. I have cried tears with this song. It has been a balm to my soul in the midst of my pain and uncertainty to know that God is constant. None of my circumstances change the fact that God is good - I can only control my response. I have learned that my responses need work, which is very humbling.
And now, I just blogged. I can't promise that I'm completely back yet, but I felt like writing. And that's a good thing.