I graduated yesterday

Yesterday my therapist retired.

We had worked together for seven years. It was a sad day for sure. (For him, as much as any of us patients… He is spending this week saying goodbye to people he loves. As excited as he is to move into post-therapy life, it was a hard day for him, too.)

As I prepared for our last session together – by making biscotti, and writing my therapist a heartfelt letter of thanks – I realized how far I’ve come in seven years.

In spring and summer 2014 I was at my lowest ebb.

I was in tremendous pain; I had almost no use of my hands due to the tendon disorder that I still live with today.

I had multiple symptoms of anxiety, everything from full out anxiety attacks, to pain and tingles all over my body.
I did not know what was causing them, and I had no idea how to recover.

I was as close to suicidal as I’ve ever been. I felt like such a burden to my husband Ben, and our two sons, who were then 13 and nine years old.

And then I met my therapist (whom I think of as “Dr. G.”)
When my primary care doctor recommended I contact Dr. G, I felt some trepidation. I had had some pretty bad therapists over the course of my life by that point! Trying the therapist-patient relationship once more felt truly scary. But I knew I needed something. I knew I needed help.

So, I called Dr. G and left a voicemail explaining my situation.

When he called me back, he left a message saying “I’m so sorry to hear that! It sounds so diminishing.”

It felt so GOOD to have my feelings validated. I remember listening to Dr. G’s voicemail and literally sagging with relief.
Immediately I knew I was in good hands. Here was someone who truly understood!

From there, Dr. G taught me many important tools to keep going.

The one I’m thinking of right now: “affect doesn’t lie.”

I think of those words each time I am close to tears, whether because of something sad, something that makes me angry and frustrated, or something that makes me so happy that I’m literally crying.

“Affect doesn’t lie” effectively means: emotions are part of the human condition.

Understanding and embracing that means that we can understand and embrace ourselves.

We can remain calm instead of lashing out when we feel emotion.
We can share about our feelings if we choose, rather than pushing them down deep inside.
We can connect with our emotions, and live a more fulfilling life.

Finally, we can be great role models for the people that we love by remembering simply that affect doesn’t lie.

That’s a pretty great tool that Dr. G taught me!

As he and I spoke yesterday we agreed: this is an ending, yes.
And it’s sad.

But it’s a beginning as well.

For Dr. G, hopefully it’s the beginning of a blissful, wonderful family time.

For me, it truly feels like I graduated yesterday.

I am moving out into my life, equipped with amazing tools that this incredible psychologist helped me learn.

As I said to him (because we have this wonderful, very familiar relationship)…
“I’m going to f**cking fly!”

My feeling is, it’s much more fun when we all fly together, which makes me extra super grateful that you are reading this letter today <3

Cheers and thanks for reading –
Karen

PS We Turned Out Okay Playbook is now available as a digital subscription! Woot!

The We Turned Out Okay Playbook, my subscription-only, quality monthly playbook for parents, is going digital! You can now get this essential tool for parental well-being either in your physical snail mailbox, or (if you’re outside the US or you simply prefer) digitally!

Last call! SUBSCRIPTIONS CLOSE Monday 5/24/21 for Issue 11/June 2021 of the WTOO Playbook

June’s Playbook is all about intuition, hunches, gut feelings… 
It’s easy to underestimate intuition, to discount what our gut tells us. But in 2021 I learned something that’s stayed with me: intuition is simply pattern recognition. So high level that our brains may not even recognize it for what it is.
Intuition is helpful in our parenting, in our work, and in growing toward who we were meant to be at a super deep level.
We explore intuition in the June We Turned Out Okay Playbook – my gut tells me it’s going to be awesome!
Go to https://weturnedoutokay.com/playbook for details!

 

PLUS… Episode 363 of the We Turned Out Okay Podcast is out!

“I wasn’t bad inside. But bad kids rarely are.” I talk with Washington Post Parent Columnist Meghan Leahey (who shares that statement, which I immediately knew had to be the title of the episode, about 1/3 of the way in.)

Our conversation will help you:
– Put important stuff in perspective
– Lay to rest a childhood demon or two
– Appreciate the absurdity inherent in our lives right now

Watch our conversation by going to https://weturnedoutokay.com/363

 

Or, listen in your favorite podcatcher: 
Apple Podcasts… http://bit.ly/WTOOApple
Spotify… http://bit.ly/WTOOSpotify
Stitcher Podcasts… http://bit.ly/WTOOStitcher