There is evidence based research which has emerged in the last 10 years to show the incredible benefits that positivity can have on our lives. Positivity is like a nutrient rich soil, it is the foundation for healthy growth be it for flowers or for building personal resilience. It’s easy to maintain a positive outlook when things are going well but when unexpected changes hit is, feeling positive seems like a daunting task.
My spouse was told this week that due to re-structuring he will be losing his job of 17 years. For individuals struggling with anxiety like me, stress and change can be triggers. I spent much of the first 24 hours in a mild panic attack. Constant heart palpitations, inability to sit still or sleep and a whole lot of fidgeting. Looking at the situation with a positive lense was completely out of the question, my brain was more interested in thinking about worst case scenarios.
After a day had passed, it provided me with some time to accept this news and to re-visit my reactions. Times of stress and change are when we need positivity the most. My feelings of anxiety were valid and appropriate but ultimately useless. Feeling anxious about a situation does not change the outcome, nor does it provide any helpful solutions. I have made a concious effort to re-frame the situation and focus on the positives. Here are the ones I’ve come up with so far:
- We are fortunate to have a connection to lawyers to review documentation (as luck would have it the lawyer we could connect with had a conflict because they represented the company that laid-off my spouse) so this is no longer a positive. Pretend you didn’t read this bullet point.
- We have good friends that check in with us and support us
- We have caring family that checks in and supports us
- The severance will provide my spouse the opportunity to pursue work that is more meaningful to him
- I am now the sole provider of financial stability for the family…. surely the jokes will be endless and the laundry regularly done.
Perhaps not the lengthiest of lists however one cannot put enough emphasis on the importance of finding work that provides meaning and value to our lives.
Re-framing our perspectives provides comfort and contentment to otherwise stressful situations. Change your mind, change the outcome.
At the beginning of the day I had planned to write this blog on a whole other topic with a whole other feel to it. These last few days I have been trying my best to cope by completely cutting out my spouse out. I unfriended him and his entire family from Facebook because I wanted no reminders. I have been keeping myself busy with tasks of transferring bill payments and organizing the house. All texts and conversations with him have been business only. My coping mechanism was to plug my ears and yell “LALALALA”. If someone doesn’t exist they can’t hurt you. I have been trying to organize things quickly such as transfers and retaining a lawyer. It kept me busy and I wanted it to be like a bandaid. Rip it off fast. It hurts like hell but then it’s over.
I have worked with doctors, psychiatrists, social workers and mental health counsellors in the public sector before. While they have been helpful there have never been any that have been great. I got a number from a friend for a private counsellor who I reluctantly called earlier in the week. She is $110/hour so I thought about canceling more than once. Although she came recommended I was still hesitant about how helpful it would be given all my previous counselling experiences. I was encouraged to keep the appointment and so I did. I was early so I sat outside on a bench staring at the unmarked door for awhile. The longer I sat the more nervous I became.
In the end I was there for 75 minutes (still only charged $110! Woo!) and it went really well. Despite what I have always believed and was told about my own high level of self awareness, I am now calling that into question. She was able to provide some unquestionable connections and explanations for certain behaviors and events that had never occurred to me. I know that’s vague but I won’t hang out all my dirty laundry online! She also told me “never beg, it’s not attractive”. Made me laugh a bit, I know that but desperate people grasp at whatever straw they can think of. Just after the begging comment she asked me if I had to beg for things as a child. Without thinking the first thing out of my mouth was ” my parents never hugged me or told me they loved me. Never. Not once.” As you can imagine that gave her plenty to work with. She probably had a therapy orgasm right there in her leather chair. We talked about many things and I appreciated her insight and honesty. I cannot stress enough how helpful it was and how much better I am feeling.
When I came home I spoke with my spouse about my experience and we each said a few more things that we needed to say. I needed to say everything I felt because I don’t want to walk away from 15 years together without knowing that I tried everything I could to make it work. He has agreed to attend my counselling session next week. While I would love nothing more than to reconcile and work on our relationship, that choice is no longer mine. My best hopes are for the counselling that even if we are not in a relationship, it will help us learn to communicate and work more effectively as a team. We will always be in each others lives working towards the best interests of our children. It makes me very happy that he has agreed to attend with me.
The cost of private therapy is high but it is an invest in myself and I’m worth it.
Oh and some other good things:
I showered and did my hair all pretty today.
I went out for dinner with a friend and we had great food and conversation. Oh and she paid! (Ps, if you try to kill yourself, a lot of friends ask you out for dinner and they always pay)