Tag Archives: Dr. Perry

goals

I had a session today with a ‘Life Coach’. Linda is a person I met at the Compassionate Friends meeting. She lost her 4 year old daughter 11 years ago. I had complained to her that I was often feeling directionless especially since my therapist, Dr Perry, had left the area. I’ve tried other therapists but none seem to fit as well as Dr Perry had.

Her emphasis on looking forward rather than behind seemed to me to be a good approach. Bottom line after our long talk is that I need to decide what my goals are and whether I’m willing to work to achieve them. Her role would be to help me with that work so for the time being I’m on my own.

So, what are my goals? I said I wanted to be able to spend time with my children and grandchildren – to the extent that they would have me. I mentioned playing music; I mentioned photography; I mentioned riding my bike; I mentioned travel. When it came right down to the idea of working towards those ‘goals’, I foundered. What does that mean exactly? When I have the day off and nothing scheduled, why do I (often) do none of those things?

I told her that in my non-work life, I’ve always followed the path that interested me at the moment without regard to longer-term ‘goals’. That approach led to a bad marriage but also three fine children. How should my goals have been different? How could I, at age 25, made a life goal with any reasonable expectation of it coming to pass? The idea of doing that now is a big adjustment. I told her Zach had goals, lots of them, and now they’re ashes.

I tried to get her to give me an example of what she meant by ‘working’ on my goals but she dodged. She had already told me that until I was willing to work on my goals there was nothing she could help me with. That stung a little.

I promised her I would think seriously about goals and my relationship to them and we will talk again in a couple of months. I set up a new category here so I hope to revisit this subject often.

Bereavement group

I went to the South City bereavement group yesterday. I had gone quite a bit last year but fell away from it last fall. The regular facilitator, Tracie, wasn’t there which disappointed me. I felt she was a big reason why the group was successful. I remembered about half of the people there from before. One woman whose 15 year old son jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge was approaching the second anniversary. Everyone else had lost a parent or partner to age or illness.

I guess I was in a manic phase, because when it my turn to speak, after narrating the bald facts of Zach’s death, I spoke about Rosalie and her positive approach to life. At no point was I near tears as many others were when telling their story.

It struck me that some who were long time attendees were perhaps thinking too much about the past and not enough about the future. It sounds cold but I am only speaking in relation to me. Their grief is theirs and it is not for me to prescribe their reaction to it.

Anyway, I think I will probably never return to that group. It was important to me for a while and I fully respect what they are doing. Indeed, in my talks with two new therapists in the last week, I credited the group with some key insights. In fact, I mentioned that to the group as well yesterday. The idea that we have to reinvent ourselves after a death was one I got from them. I would even go so far as to say that’s a key concept behind this blog.

Speaking of therapy, I had my last session with Dr Perry and my first with J, the MFT, this week. Maybe my manic phase was due to my three therapy appointments hard upon one another. It nice to have someone listen to you! I’ll give J another session or two before deciding whether to continue. I didn’t get the instant comfort level that I did with Dr Perry but the circumstances are different now. She is young but treated me seriously. At one point she made reference to her own depression so there may be depths there that I haven’t seen yet.

(I’ve never been sure about the issue of identifying people in this blog. In general I’ve stayed away from last names in case somebody is looking through these posts for identification clues. I don’t ask anyone if they object to my writing about them. I guess if you do, you have to tell me. I strive to be respectful but I will always be honest.)

therapy

So much in my mind while driving, then so little when I get home. Actually, lots when I get home but it’s all action items: laundry, lunch, email, texts (occasionally), real mail, bills. Some of it involves sitting down at the computer and the blog site is always there, waiting.

This morning I went to see a psychiatrist. My regular therapist, a psychologist, is moving and closing her practice here in the Bay Area. A couple of weeks ago, when I was making appointments, I was in a downward trend so I thought I should at least look into the idea of medication for depression, thus the psychiatrist.

By the time today actually rolled around I was feeling pretty decent. I worked one night, Tuesday, since last weekend and I’ve gotten a lot done that’s been hanging fire for a while. Not only my laundry and groceries, but my taxes and a visit to Mom & Dad’s.

So I told the psychiatrist my sad story and cried a little, remembering, but I didn’t feel hopeless, panicked, suicidal, or any of those other symptoms she was looking for. My only major symptom now is I’m still having trouble sleeping. She said I could start a low dose of a different medication from what I had (some years) before but I could see her heart wasn’t in it. Neither was mine, so we parted amiably with a promise to be in touch if anything changed.

I have one more session with Dr Perry, with another one scheduled with another therapist – only an MFT this time – next week. It’s good to talk with someone but I believe equally important is the usual stay healthy rules: eat well, get enough sleep, exercise. I’m renewing my commitment to reduce my work hours and do more for myself. Stay tuned.