Sunday, October 22, 2017

Self Care Sunday | Living in my Truth | Dealing with Grief + Anxiety

Happy Self Care Sunday everyone!  Every week I attempt to focus on self care for myself, its so important to pour back into yourself after a long week.  Many times I know for me personally I am   pulled in various directions, asked to do & be so many things for so many people that recharging is very necessary.

This week I am sharing a personal truth in what the last 6 months in 2017 has looked like for me.  It has been one of the toughest seasons of my life but I do think that I am getting a handle on everything.  I've thought about this day for a while now in really sharing this truth and the shear thought of it, made me physically sick.  So I am thankful that I've even been able to get this far into this post with the intention to share my truth.

My Truth:

{Sigh} When I was 5 years old, (in kindergarten) my biological father committed suicide. {Sigh}
As a child his death was not really talked about at all.  My parents were a very young couple when they had me, and he was 24 when he chose to end his life.  Growing up in Kentucky in a small town suicide was not what you really discussed especially in the African American community.  I remember growing up especially through my teens that I would ask questions about him, but was given very little information. Maybe it was my families way to protecting me, I don't know.   To be honest I did not remember much about him since it happened when I was so young.  Still to this day I have very faint memories but nothing really stands out for me.  I was never really close to his side of the family after his death.  If I were ever around them, it was because my Mother wanted me to know them, but I never felt a connection with them because I did not feel connected to him.
All I knew was the life with my mother who remained a single mother until I was 10 when she married my step father, who has always treated me like his own child.  There were times during their dating process that I was determined not to like him even though I didn't have a reason BUT I knew he wasn't my father. I didn't know how to feel about "this man" coming around all the time and taking my mothers attention from me.  I have always been a very quiet and private person maybe because I was an only child for 10 years but in saying that when I had something to say, it was and possibly still is true that I am very "Matter of Fact".  I could tell you some stories...but I won't!

If you recall earlier I mentioned I did ask about my biological father growing up, but never really received alot of information.  I don't know if it was because my Mother was still grieving but after a while, I just stopped asking and stored my feelings about it in a secret place that I never wanted to revisit ever again.  Fast forward  to the present....37 years later for what ever reason that secret place was cracked wide open.  I feel like the last few months God has been preparing me for my future and where he is taking me, I could not succeed with all of these emotions that had been bottled up for all those years.

My Heart Cracked Open:

In May 2017, I was leaving a clients house after a style fitting and for some reason my biological father came to my spirit.  Not sure where & why but it did and from that day I wasn't able to shake thoughts of him or the lack there of.  I wasn't sure how I was feeling but it was a very unsettling feeling and I didn't know what to do  about it so I prayed.  "God please reveal to me where this is coming from and why now?"   I mean I was doing so  well in working with my style clients and building relationships with people in the style industry and then BOOM this hit me like a ton of bricks.

It was grief, I was finally grieving my biological father  and from the months of  May - September 2017 I have literally experienced every form of grief there is & many feelings are still hard for me to put into words.  I was very angry that he left me and my mother, I was sad, I felt like he was a coward & very selfish to go out like that.  All of those 37 years of bottled up emotions were staring me right in the face and I literally shut down.  So I ran for a while, I closed myself off from friends and family, I traveled hoping to get clarity but also to rest.  During these months I really saw who my friends were because you know what they say, about strong people in your life, "people always assume that everything with them is alright and they have everything under control."  I am here to tell you that is a lie from the pit of hell.  I am so grateful for 3 girlfriends in particular that noticed my shift in personality and pulling away and I finally opened up to what I was experiencing, to this day they have held me down and I will forever be grateful for the love and support.  I keep my circle small for this very reason.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with was the anger & the fact that I was experiencing alot of anxiety which later what I now understand was paired with depression.  We often times play with the words "I am so depressed" but listen those words have a new meaning for me.  There were days I physically felt chained to my bed, I didn't care about much of anything I was just in my feelings.  I had always heard of people with anxiety and depression but never really experienced any of that personally.   It was at that point the stress from all of this was taking a toll on my body, I knew it was time to seek help....

Therapy Changed My Life:

Toward the end of June I was scrolling around the MyTaughtYou Podcast Discussion Group by  (Myleik Teele) on Facebook and someone had posted a a link to a Therapist for Black Girls Directory.  Could this be my answer, and a step toward my healing from all this grief?  I was very apprehensive about seeking counseling because again like suicide, mental health wellness is something that is a very taboo topic especially in the African American community.  However it is definitely something that we all need to talk about among our circle of friends and also family.  So many times people just tell you to "Pray & take it to the Lord" but the Lord also allowed qualified professionals to be trained in the counseling industry to help also.

So I took the leap and called for my first appointment and it was hard, but when I left it was like a load was lifted off of my shoulders.  Finally I felt a sense of relief and could learn how to channel all of these emotions.  During this time I was still running, I didn't know how to tell my mother still how I was feeling so through a few of my sessions we walked through what that would look like.  I need structure and I don't like surprises at least not that kind.  I felt like I had to be very prepared to deal with the conversation that I had been dodging for months.  Its my very Type A personality for sure!  I won't go into what happened but trust me, it did not go anything like "my plan" & it was one of the hardest conversations I've ever had to have and I literally got sick afterwards from the flood of emotions. However I felt better because that was another weight that was lifted off of my shoulders.

So here I am today, on this Self Care Sunday, I am feeling more like myself, very productive and very little signs of grief.  The anxiety will try to creep in from time to time but its all mind over matter.  I have always during this process stayed firm that I did not want to be on any anxiety medication and I was blessed to have found 2 all natural gluten free supplements that I take when I feel a little uneasy or anxious.  Writing this blog post was one of my milestones in my healing process that I committed to in counseling and being at the end now...this is another load that has been lifted off of my shoulders!

 I am so blessed & grateful.  I hope that by me sharing my story that it may help someone that is dealing with learning how to handle grief & anxiety. Seeking counseling is one of the best gifts that I have given to myself.  We have to lift each other up & support one another.  I don't know much, but what little I do know if you need some assistance I would be more than happy to direct you to the things that have helped me along my journey!

Peace & Blessings...A. Latrice