Sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for the results of a test, I checked the time again – the third time in about 10 minutes. As an executive with a heavy schedule I thought to myself, I don’t have time for this. Some changes on my skin and the concern of a friend had brought me in.
When I think back, this was a very difficult time in my life.
My business was growing rapidly – a good thing, but my workload was heavy and often overwhelming.
I had recently become a single Mom and I was worried about my two youngest daughters who were struggling with anxiety. The last thing I had time for was myself and this appointment.
The doctor came in. “The biopsy results came back clear. However, to prevent future problems, we need to schedule an outpatient surgery to remove some moles on your back and a significant area around them. You will need to clean the area everyday and change the bandages. Do you have someone at home that can help you with this?”
The tipping point.
No, I don’t, I thought, and couldn’t help the tears that formed in my eyes. Though extremely grateful for the positive news, the fact of facing a procedure with no partner at home to help out was too much.
I won’t forget what happened next. The doctor got mad at me. “Why are you crying?” he asked. “This is nothing to be upset about. Put it in perspective.”
Philosophically I agreed with him. I do believe in looking at the bright side of things and having an optimistic perspective. However, not in this moment, I had reached a tipping point. I wasn’t ok.
It is ok to not be ok.
Later that week, I found some time for myself to reflect over my emotional response at the doctor’s office.
I realized the emotion I was feeling was grief.
With all of my energy on making sure my girls were taken care of, my team members feeling supported, and my clients needs met, my own needs had been pushed aside.
I had not taken the time to grieve my loss. The husband and co-parent that was no longer in my life. My hopes and dreams of a life long happy marriage, and raising my children with a supportive partner by my side was gone.
Once I allowed myself to feel the weight of the sadness in my heart, the tears began to flow. It was good. It was a healing moment. I realized that it is ok to not be ok.
Permission to Grieve.
Life right now is fraught with challenge and loss. If you are struggling, know you are not alone.
You may have lost a job, a relationship, or your health. You may be working massive hours to keep your business afloat and your team moving forward.
Everyone has lost something in this year, and though it is hard, at some point you need to face the fact that some things will never be the same again.
Plenty of people are grieving and it is showing up in a number of different ways: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. You can bounce from one stage to another and then back again. You may find yourself at a different place then your coworkers, your spouse or children.
The first step to move forward is to give yourself permission to grieve. Feel what you feel, and acknowledge that it hurts.
As you do this for yourself, you will begin to heal. You will begin to see that there is light in your future. It isn’t easy, and it takes time, but things will get better.
It’s ok to not be ok. Just don’t stay there.