Finally Took the First Step

The Doc is inI mentioned a little while back that my supervisor at work has been very supportive, to the point of offering to make that critical first call with me to get the ball rolling, as they say. But things got really busy at work, and at one point late last week I requested a meeting with her because I felt I wasn’t coping well due to the high volume of work as well as my state of mind. She addressed the first concern at the start of our meeting, but then gently but firmly reminded me that I had not followed up on her offer to make that important first call. So, looking at my schedule, we set aside more than an hour first thing this Friday morning for that.

We talked a little bit before making the call, and I admitted to having a big knot in my stomach in anticipation of the call we were going to make, as well as a case of the runs. “In my head I know this has to happen,” I explained, “but it’s as if my emotions want to stay inert within this rut I’m in.” She was both surprised and understanding: surprised because I make dozens of phone calls per day without thinking twice about it, but understanding because she knew this call was nothing like the calls I make throughout the day.

I mentioned in my previous post feeling some guilt, but what I don’t feel is shame. I am not ashamed in the least for seeking help. And I feel extremely fortunate that my employer provides free access to such help, albeit short term. Indeed, should my needs require longer-term care, I will be provided referrals and the expenses for that will be out of my pocket. But pay I will if I need to; I have paid for many things for others in the past, so the time has come for me to be generous with myself.

The consultant who answered our call took all the pertinent information and indicated that someone would be in touch with me within one to two business days. In stating my preferences, I mentioned that I didn’t care about the gender of the counsellor but thought I’d prefer a woman; that I didn’t mind if she was anglophone or francophone; that I would prefer meeting in person rather than doing the counselling by phone; that evenings or weekends were better for me, although I know I would have permission to take a few hours off work if that couldn’t be accommodated, and that my counsellor would have to be completely at ease (if not a specialist) with same-sex relationships. It turns out that Lucy (not her real name but per the image above) called me late this morning to make tentative arrangements for my first appointment with her, and I’ll hear back from her on Monday for a definitive first meeting time.

That initial consultant mentioned that if, for any reason, I didn’t feel I would get along with (as it turns out) Lucy, I was to call her back and they would work to find someone else. On the phone, Lucy sounded a little shy and nervous, but that could simply be due to calling someone cold and talking about a delicate matter; she might be entirely different once we meet in person. I’ll see. I don’t want to pre-judge. But I talk on the phone with hundreds of people per month at my job, and had Lucy been one of my clients, I would have found her a bit odd.

Another interesting thing the initial consultant brought up is that, through my employer, I could also have access to some legal counselling. Now THAT definitely caught my attention. I know that things shouldn’t be too complicated on that front, but not knowing where and with whom to start hasn’t helped me one bit.

I called my mom last night to tell her all the latest developments. She seemed very pleased. This is only the beginning, but finally I AM beginning. I had worried so much about letting her in on all of this for fear of her wallowing in worry for me, but it turns out it was the right thing for me to do. At least I have a mother I can speak to; not everyone is so fortunate. The support I’ve been getting from family, friends and work has been overwhelming but good, and for that, I do remain extremely grateful.

For in my mind, I know it will get better. Now it’s a matter of getting the emotional side to align with the mind.

I Dream of [not Jeannie]

GhoulsI decided to have a little nap after I got off work on Thursday — just long enough to get through the evening without feeling like I was dragging my ass, I thought. But my “D-induced” short fuse ensured that it didn’t turn out to be a restful nap.

In addition to having my brother and sister-in-law visiting for a few days earlier in the week (that was the good part), I have had several repairmen come to my apartment to look after sundry problems (that was the bad part). Also, since July 1, I have new neighbours directly above me — an East Asian family with at least 2 if not 3 small kids. Plus, the beginning of the past week was hot and humid, so I kept the air conditioning running in my office despite it being noisy and leaving me feeling drained (with headache) by the end of the day, as somehow that’s still better than feeling drained from oppressive heat and humidity.

So, I went for my nap around 5:00 and fell asleep pretty quickly, which was a sure indicator that I needed it. However, clearly the sound of the kids running above me filtered into my dream and my frustration about being stuck with living in an apartment building. For at one point, I dreamt that I got up and went upstairs to try to reach a compromise with my neighbour. When I knocked on the door, it opened. Inside I saw the parents to my left, sitting on a couch in the living room, letting the kids go amuck, while to my right I saw the little demons kids running into a bedroom and jumping on the bed. Upon which I screamed, “Okay, that’s it for tonight. No more!” And then I ran back downstairs to my apartment and quickly slammed the door, as if I were being chased by someone.

But my apartment door wouldn’t close; it was being forced open by a bunch of male and female ghouls/goths, who finally stormed into my apartment and started telling me off for being out of line for what I had just done. Uncharacteristically for me, I started not only telling them off myself but also hitting them, dousing them with pitchers of water that mysterious got placed into my hands, then hitting them with the pitchers. However, they continued to talk back to me, insisting not only that I had been out of line earlier but also that my behaviour towards them was further evidence of my being out of control. What’s worse, their claims resonated in me; I felt that what they were saying was true, but that only made me angrier and more violent towards them.

I woke up abruptly from my dream, most likely the result of a particularly loud thud coming from upstairs, and I felt just disgusting and awful. I don’t hit people in real life, and only rarely do I fly off the handle. And if I do fly off the handle towards someone, it’s because I’ve been pushed beyond the edge. The reason I emphasize “towards someone,” it’s because I recognize that I do have a very short fuse these days but I don’t let anyone see it. That’s the reason why I avoid driving these days: for fear of engaging in road rage.

On the one hand, I’m no expert on dream analysis and, on the other, I don’t like reading too much into dreams. However, it seems rather transparent to me that I’m feeling locked in and powerless, not to mention guilty. I’ve come to understand that this feeling of guilt, though irrational, stems from the need to take care of myself before others. I know in my mind that it’s wrong to feel guilt about this need, but emotionally I feel that I’m being selfish — hence the guilt. It’s all very crazy-making to say the least.