Hi! It’s been a while. Grief and some other things have had me tired. Here's what's been up:
My band Trippy Hearts and I released an album this year and I’m quite proud of it. I’m waiting for the vinyl to be pressed – due to Covid it’s taking a bit longer than expected. But when we got the test pressings I cried because I was so overwhelmed – it was a dream come true! And don’t get me started about hearing myself on the radio for the first time!
Currently I’ve let lots of beings and help and poop into my heart and my very personal book and my psyche. I have adopted three cats since our dear boy Oliver passed a couple months ago (tomorrow would have been his sixteenth birthday). I have a new social worker and psychiatrist to help me with the anxiety precipitated by grief around losing my niece and my cat in December. And I hired a book coach. Everybody is helping me! I might have to clean litter boxes two to three times a day, but the love is worth it.
The nice thing about having three new cats (besides love and delight) is D I S T R A C T I O N ! ! I’m finding distraction helpful for anxious thoughts (though I’ve got more of a handle on those thanks to my social worker).
One of the amazing things about cats, therapy, coaching is that it all feels synchronistic and meant to be. I mean, it could very well all be a function of my privilege – I don’t want to forget that. But, for example, the social worker and psychiatrist fell in my lap because I was calling my medical oncologist (I still have one of those because of my DCIS treatment and current medication). I was advocating for myself to be able to have a diagnostic mammogram as my annual screening because it seems I always get called back for another and an ultrasound (dense breast city over here), and last year I had to wait like a month to get in for the additional screening, even though they had “seen something.” So, I spent a month curled up in a ball in my amygdala. I was determined not to let that happen this year.
While chatting with the nurse she very kindly said I deserved not to be majorly anxious months in advance of my routine screening and would I like to talk with the psychiatrist. I was like, “Yeah, OK.” My first call was with one of the social workers on staff and she was so helpful I wept my heart out after.
I have a therapist. He is good. But he is expensive, doesn’t take insurance anymore, and the best work I’ve done with him has been EMDR, which you can’t do virtually. And I’m not comfortable going into his office yet. (I cannot WAIT for my vaccine. OMG.) So I decided to take a break from him and have been talking to this social worker every week. And get this: because I am a patient at St. Luke’s Cancer Institute, she is free. I mean…
I feel very grateful to get to talk with her. She’s giving me so many tools to work with and to know which tools are right for whatever state I’m in. I think over the past month my anxiety has lowered so much.
That’s what’s been going on! I have been actively grieving and taking care of myself and working on writing and music and loving on my pets and my husband and my friends and family. And beaming that out to the world.
And I’m beaming it out to you now!
If you feel like it let me know how you’re doing, too.
Oh, and if you want to check out my band's album you can do that here on our Bandcamp page!
But also you can hear it on Spotify or wherever!
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
• More details about my writing here.