Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My own private pharmacy...

One thing that I think is important is to get help.  Your friends are awesome.  Your family is great.  Your dog listens like a champ.  But your friends often are going through this, too.  Your family is so glad to have YOU and not have had the tragedy happen to their baby that they don't know how to feel.  Your dog is a better listener than a talker...and while listening is important, you need someone to talk tell you what you can DO.

Right after Leslie was killed, I saw a counselor who specialized in grief.  She mostly did a lot of listening.  And passing me Kleenex.  I am pretty uncomfortable crying in front of anyone who is not a parent of mine so it felt good to be able to cry without feeling weird.  I'm a big believer in the idea that a counselor is not your friend.  I guess they SORT of are, but no, not really.  The counselor that I have now once asked me when we were discussing vulnerability if I felt vulnerable telling her things.  I told her no...that I didn't...because I was paying her.  It seems rather cold, but it's true.  

So, in the immediate...when everyone else around you is likely falling down about as heavily and dramatically as you are...a grief counselor can be a great help, if for no other reason than a very safe place to scream and cry.  Or, in the reverse, about something other than your dead friend and not feel guilty.  Because that happens.  You think about something school grades or a great sale or the lyrics to a song that is not sad...and you feel crazy guilty because you stopped thinking about her/him for a minute.  AND THAT'S OKAY.  And the counselor will a) listen to that and b) tell you that it's okay....and make you believe it.  

The other thing the counselor can do is help you get medicine, if you need it.  I'm not talking about serious long term meds....but you MUST sleep.  And you MUST eat.  And you MUST function.  Something to help you sleep or stay calm...  I don't believe in using these things long term AT ALL.  And this is a time when you need to be careful about that...depression, even situational depression, can make it really easy to rely on substances.  But with the right Dr. supervision, they CAN help you get through the first few weeks.

And that's really what the first few weeks are about...surviving the next twenty minutes.  When you get through those, you take on the next twenty.  And so on.  And eventually it's a few weeks later, and you're still alive.  Success.