My first week back to work has been more full of anxiety than I’d care to admit. Who would have thought that three days at work would leave me shaking and ceaselessly wringing my hands? I needed a follow-up with the GP to get more anti-depressants and got an appointment on Friday morning. While there, I was given a repeat prescription and a phone number for a counsellor. I had thought that I might get counselling through the NHS but the number I was given was for a service that charges an astonishing half-price for January of £99. (!)
Of course I started to wonder what a counsellor might actually do for me and if I really needed the help. My depression/anxiety started on the occasion of my deceased father’s birthday in November. Am I still wrestling with the idea that I was a terrible daughter to him? Yes. I still feel guilty that I wasn’t there for him. I missed my own father’s funeral. While I did what I could at the time to mourn, but the guilt is there too. I wasn’t there. I feel I was never there. Not for him, nor any of my American family. It’s a constant and dark guilt that became sharp when my father died. I had missed the opportunity to tell him how much I love being his daughter.
Not long after Dad died I had a dream. I was in Dad’s house. Helios was there, wearing a light blue and white bathrobe. He walked from one room to another. Then, I walked down the hall to the kitchen where Dad was holding a miniature version of me. Dad was young, had a full head of hair and no sign of his Parkinsons Tremour. He tickled the pint-sized girl under the chin the way he used to with me. He pointedly looked at me and then to the child and then back at me. He stood the girl on the chair and pointed at her and me as if to say “Look! It’s you!” It was as if we were unable to speak to one another – I wanted to say “I understand”; I wanted to say “I miss you”. At the time I took the dream as a sign that Dad had forgiven me and he still loved me.
I think what really set me off wasn’t just Dad’s birthday but the fact that a friend at work was unable to go to her grandmother’s funeral in Ghana. The two events made me feel the full press of grief all over again. Bearing this in mind, before I ask for counselling, I’ll speak to my friend and hear her story. Perhaps after I speak to her I’ll feel a bit more positive about being able to leave the flat, go to work and feel a bit more like myself again?
Of course there may be other reasons why I am feeling the way I’m feeling but this is my most obvious starting point. In the meantime, I’ve looked at more local counsellors and have been recommended to speak to someone who only charges £20 per hour.