Process 3: Reaching out
At the end of the day I kind of high tailed it out of the room. First for practical reasons but also because of my own discomfort. On reflection I feel like I should have stayed and explained myself but at that point I wasn’t really sure, I hadn’t completed processed everything out so it may not have been as helpful as it now.
3a. As I walked to the train station I sent my brother a voice note on What’sApp. I explained to him that I hadn’t realised pop’s death was having such an impact on me and what happened – in layman’s terms because my brother has no therapeutic training – in the room and how I felt bad that I hadn’t provided the same level of attention to my peers that they provided to me. I also relayed that this had me questioning whether or not this was the right time to be doing this training. I relayed how excited I was about the course but on the other hand I was still quite raw. [My concern was that should I have a “breakdown” in the group, not only would it be monumental but I was conscious that I was in a room full of trainees who may not have the capacity to deal with that level of emotional upheaval.]
I didn’t get his response until I got off the train. Basically his response was that dad would want me to continue, especially if I’m excited about it. At which point I explained to him that I didn’t want to be or feel exposed in this room and I was still just trying to deal with it. I left it there and he didn’t respond right away.
3b. While I was on the train I messaged a friend of mine who knows me very well but is also a clinician herself to get her opinion which would be another perspective. I just told her in the message that I wanted to get her opinion on something.
I came out of the train station on the other end, still going through things in my mind, and headed out to get dinner. While I was waiting for my food I was talking to her about the situation. I expressed my concerned about the fact that I haven’t healed. I haven’t even started the work to heal and this is all quite new. I told her I wasn’t sure about what I should do. I expressed feeling responsible for members of the group as peers and colleagues and not wanting to let them down while acknowledging that I hadn’t begun to heal. She said quite clearly that I am first responsible to myself and have to give myself time. I did mention to her that I had come up with 2 ideas of what to do. The first was asking if I can do the lectures, the placement and continue therapy. She asked if it was a possibility. I told her I was unsure and I would need to contact them. She encouraged me to do that. Plan B was just putting the course on hold until I had done a bit of the work, until I started to heal. I walked away after that discussion feeling like I had options. So I was in a better place emotionally.
3c. On the train, I text my best friend letting him know that I wanted to talk to him but was on the train so it would be about an hour before we spoke. After speaking to my clinician friend I went inside to have my dinner and watching a bit of television. I went through the same thing with him, although as I was explaining to him my concern he clocked onto it and asked me “are you asking if I think you should put this off for a while so you can heal? Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
So he knew even before I finished where my thought process was going which is one reason why I love him. He reiterated my responsibility to take care of myself while working through this and acknowledging that it is all still quite new. The other significant element of this conversation is that while talking to him I realised that the only other significant loss I had was my grandmother when I was in high school but the difference between then and now, which is massively significant is I had family around me. Even while in school, I had my cousin there. My father’s place a business was literally a 10 minute walk from my high school. I had the reassurance of knowing that after school I was headed to meet my mother and after that I’d be home with my family. I don’t have that here. I don’t have any of them here.
What also came to me during this conversation was that my closest friend was 45 minutes away by public transportation. So practically speaking, should I begin to deal with this in that situation, in the learning environment, there’s a number of considerations. First it is how it would impact the other members of the group. Second there is my concern about how it would be contained and honestly feeling like it couldn’t be there – and quite rightly shouldn’t be. Then there is how I would be contained once I arrived home since there would literally be no one physically present. The latter 2 also raising issue for me with how I am going to manage dealing with this in therapy as I would be coming home alone and having to manage going to work the following day.