Look closely.

Recently, I’ve been deeply absorbed in my own little battles. I got pretty sick at the end of October and then I didn’t really recover. It’s made work and school pretty difficult, constructing a treasure chest of stress and anxiety for me. While I’d like to think my normal state of being is pragmatic with a dash of optimism, as of late I’ve been mostly cynical with a touch of skepticism. I’ve written and talked so much about how rough things are that I neglect to think about about what I’m getting out of this strange time.

For the past eleven weeks, I’ve been involved in a psycho-educational group for the young women at my internship. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, this group is designed to help our clients, all of whom have experienced complex trauma and loss, to learn how to use their negative experiences to build a source of strength so they can make plans for their future. Co-facilitating this group has been one of the most beneficial experiences for me, both professionally and personally. I work in a residential setting so everything we do has a family feel to it. Before each group, the staff and I cook for our clients and their children. We all eat dinner together and then the kids go off with staff to do their homework (or just to play for the real little ones) and my co-facilitator and I go off with the moms for group. Tonight was the the last lesson in the unit covering loss, and the moms decided to cook dinner for everyone to make it a special occasion. I thought it was really nice that they wanted to take a turn.

With each group, I keep learning more and more. I interned at a hospital last year and I thought that the constant interaction with so many different patients was showing me so much about people in the way we interact with each other and cope with our experiences. By working with the same clients week after week, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these young women begin to grow and change. Even if they may goof around sometimes and get off topic, they have these very powerful moments when they  share insight from a painful experience, or respectfully debate a touchy subject. Our group is voluntary, and so is participation. You don’t have to say anything while you’re there. For a lot of people, saying how you feel is terrifying. Yet these young women do it week after week in a room full of people. It’s been very humbling for me. I loved every minute of it.

So while the last month and half has been hard, I know therein lies tremendous value.

  1. December 12, 2011 at 22:56

    These experiences really are transforming you. Please keep sharing, Lori. Your stories are a blessing to me. Really.

    • December 13, 2011 at 16:03

      Thanks, Brandi. I feel the same about you. Sometimes, you post something and I think, “That’s me right now, and those are the words I needed to hear.”

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