This past year I spoke to a counsellor/therapist for the first time.
It started in the summer that I was experiencing some physical symptoms that seemed to be similar to a sort of heat sensitivity. Heat stroke is something I experienced as kid, and have always thought that I was just prone to. In my adult life I would still have once or twice a summer a bout of it at a lesser feeling than when I was a kid. It only ever took place in the summer (as far as I could tell), and it would be a day or so and I'd be fine afterwards. But this past summer, I was having the feeling and it wasn't going away. I was uncomfortable, and worried. So of course, my anxiety was through the roof, thus making my symptoms feel as if they were intensifying. Do you know of the placebo affect? Let's just say, I'm sure it was my own stress making me feel worse.
It was this feeling lingering on and off for nearly two weeks, that I called the doctor. During the pandemic of course my appointment was over the phone. And I ended up having a blood test done to rule things out. To my surprise, everything came back normal. It was as though I was hoping for them to find something in order to have a reason, which is so twisted.
I didn't know what to do from here. Everything was fine from a medical perspective. Andy and I had many talks, and from his analytical and logical mind, he suggested that it's something in my head. Now, some may take offense hearing that from their life partner, but he was onto something. I started to really sit with this thought, and tune in myself. I decided I needed to take my health and mental wellness into my own hands.
If you have followed us on instagram for a while, you may remember me asking for recommendations of local counsellors/therapists. And from those suggestions, I found someone I clicked with. I felt lucky that it was the first person I spoke with, and I even researched our benefits to see if any of it would be covered. And so, it was on, my first appointment was scheduled, and I went from there.
Over the course of nearly 6 months, we covered a lot. Starting with the more immediate topics, and working through the bigger picture of my life. I didn't have any "flair ups" of the physical symptoms for the rest of the summer. It was mind boggling to me how that was possible from starting out so worried, and anxious.
I fit in the appointments in at the store before we opened, and discovered that a walk to the lake to put my toes in the water afterwards felt like a release, before getting back to the rest of my day and of course, running my business.
It felt like my shoulders were slowly releasing from being up at my ears for years. A deep breath finally being released. And I didn't even know I needed this.
I decided to share little snipits here and there of my experience on our instagram in order to a. normalize needing and asking for help, and b. to show myself that was I was doing and going through was real. The response back form the community was incredible and unexpected. I had many Dm conversations that were deep, meaningful, and teaching. I had a conversation with my Mom kind of explaining what I was going through, and telling her it's not like I'm sad all the time, it's more like I carry heavy things with me all the time and sometimes it's too much to carry and I need a rest.
Speaking with a counsellor/therapist as an entrepreneur taught me that things don't have to perfect. I don't have to be perfect. How can I when I've never done this before?! It also helped me realize even more that I'm doing what I'm supposed to. Being in the store day to day, asking people how their day is going is so important. Maybe being able to share some light with people. And it also taught me that it's ok to sometimes separate my tough day from my day at the shop, and honestly vise versa as well. I'm human, and my customers know that.
I'm sitting at our cash desk writing this blog post on a quiet Friday in January. And my mind has already multiple times shifted to this thought "what happens next summer if/when I feel those physical symptoms again? what do I do? Do I actually just have a heat sensitivity? Or is it more?". I suppose we'll have to wait for the summer to find out.