Do yourself and everyone you know a favor: See a Therapist, Counselor, Life Coach, SOMETHING!!
Before my husband was killed in the line of duty 6 years ago, I would have never dreamt of seeing a counselor. I associated counseling/therapy with people that have issues. Well, I got my issue November 26, 2012. (Looking back, I really could have used a counselor to navigate what I thought was my “normal” life anyway.)
I went to my first counselor approximately a month after Kyle was killed. I sat down and it was just like I saw on television. “Tell me about your problems”, said the counselor. Yes, I needed to vent, but I also needed guidance and she did not provide that. I didn’t return. I decided to give counseling another try a couple months later. I was LOST in life. This time, I thought I would go the Christian route. After all, I’d like to think of myself as a woman of faith. The woman I saw was very sweet and said all the right things. I enjoyed our talks and left feeling as if I was spiritually refreshed. After a few sessions, I felt like I was still searching for that perfect person that could substitute as Kyle for my sounding board. I needed someone who was not a friend or family member. The person I needed did not have any skin in the game of my life. The search continued…
I MISSED MY PARTNER’S FEEDBACK
Kyle was SO good at playing devil’s advocate. Sometimes, so good it was annoying. I would have to stop him mid-sentence and just say “Just be mad with me…I don’t want to hear the other side of it.” I assume this was partially his personality, but I also think it was part of his job. He, especially when working for the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, was called to several domestic disturbances and many other calls where disputes needed a third party. He had to be the level headed, non-bias, middle man. I appreciated his ability to see both sides, even when it was not in my favor.
Well…that should help you understand WHY I was searching for a counselor who was more of a “guide” and “encourager”, than just someone taking notes, or telling me to pray about the day to day struggles I needed help navigating. Knowing what I know now, EVERYONE, men, women, children, whoever, can benefit from a counselor.
Finally, a friend of mine told me that she and her husband go to a lady in Glen Carbon. This is the first person in my life that admitted to me that they saw a counselor. I was a little surprised, but the referral to her counselor was money. Her name is Leah, and she is about my age-ish. I don’t really recall our first visit for some reason—probably because there have been so many since then. She was REAL. She gave me REAL advice that I had been craving since losing Kyle. She reminds me of that little voice that I have and normally ignore because of fear. Fear meaning, others opinions, potential consequences, and navigating day to day relationships and decisions. For example: On September 16, 2013, our first wedding anniversary that I would spend alone, I had planned on ordering out from our favorite restaurant, his meal and mine, then going to the cemetery to eat “with” him. Leah’s response to that—–“Why the hell would you do that to yourself??? Punish yourself because of circumstances you had absolutely NO control over??” Well, I was doing what I saw widows do on TV or in the movies. I’m suppose to be miserable every day for the rest of my life, correct?? If I look happy on the outside, people might think I don’t miss my husband—I better not laugh or smile in public, God forbid post a picture on social media of me having a “good” time. I didn’t know any young widows personally. I didn’t know what to do or how to act. I was just LOST.
POLICE OFFICERS/FIRST RESPONDERS NEED MANDATORY COUNSELING
If I chose to never see a counselor, I can almost guarantee you that I would still be in our original house. My children would be absolute terrors, because after a few months I was SO tired of being the only disciplinarian, I slacked big time. I would have NEVER considered dating or even speak about the thought of “re-marriage”. So much of the advice that I have given to others, is advice that was given to me!! Guess what people, you don’t know it all. Hey—really smart people—you don’t know it all either. Mediocre intelligence and the just “you know what you know” people (another phrase from Leah)—what are you waiting for? Leah has helped me learn about different personalities. She said that based on mine and Kyle’s personalities, there is a good chance we would have ended up in a counseling office someday—just based on our personalities. It wasn’t either of our faults, it’s just science! I was fascinated by the Personalities Plus book, that she recommended, taught me about the different personality types. I was able to understand other people SO much better and learn about WHY they are the way they are. It’s fascinating.
No one is above counseling or therapy. Your insurance may even cover it!! Men—if you are reading this, drop your ego and see a counselor. You will LEARN how to be a better husband, Dad, friend, co-worker, everything! If you are a police officer and worry about having “therapy” on your record, PAY CASH. No one will know. Learning that the suicide rate of police officers is higher than that of the line of duty death rate is sickening. It should be mandatory for these people who see the absolute worst case scenarios and deal with every walk of life, DAILY. They see dead children, murdered wives and husbands, mutilated bodies, and have obscenities shouted at them more regular than not. Who on earth would think a human should be able to handle all of that without consequence??
I hope opening up about counseling will encourage someone—anyone– to open their mind to it. Don’t judge someone who sees a counselor—they are smarter than you because they have two minds discussing their thoughts instead of one.
Until the next nap-time,
Sarah Deatherage Steele
I am a Mom of 3, re-married widow, dental hygienist, fresh food snob, grief supporter for widows, and the creator of Comforting Keepsakes Sympathy Gifts. My husband, AJ and I hand make and finish every detail of our Memory Boxes, in our garage! I love my family and friends, second chances, exploring new places, and of course food!
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