Lots of news this morning

This morning was always going to be a big morning: I don’t like confrontation, but I knew I had to talk to my psychologist about something; then, I learnt that my grandmother died.

She was unconscious, and slipped away peacefully, I believe. Some of you might remember that we had thought she may die the other weekend, but she pulled through. For me, that was a wake up call: I had thought I was prepared for her death, but grief surprised me. Today the news came as a surprise, but I felt more able to see her death as … well, as something natural and expected, I guess.

I got the news not long before my appointment with the psychologist, whom had upset me at the end of our last appointment by the way he responded to me correcting my name. I went ahead and had the courageous conversation with him before saying anything else. He claims not to have remember saying what I believe he said; my recollection seems fairly vivid, but I accept I could have been wrong. He also said that although I have a strong preference to be called by my preferred name, the name he knows me by is my formal name – he said that, for him, is my name. He said that we were two different people with two different names for me. I said that I thought it was not unreasonable for a psychologist to remember my preferred name, and he said that if he slipped up in the future he would be more aware of it.

I would have preferred an apology, or even an assurance that he would try not to slip up in the future, but at least we’ve had that conversation now.

The progress for me in this was being able to have a calm, sensible and assertive conversation with a person in “authority” without crying or becoming either submissive, aggressive or passive aggressive. I think I conducted myself well, especially within an hour of hearing news of a bereavement.

I could write a lot about the grief I’m feeling, but I won’t, except to say that I loved my grandmother very much and am very sad that she is dead. Some might say I “shouldn’t” feel sad, because (a) she had “left” us some time ago, when she lost her senses to dementia; and (b) she is no longer suffering the pains and indignities of her physical condition. However, I am sad. What I feel is what I feel.

Finally: thank you to everyone who offered support this morning before my courageous conversation with the psychologist. Even a text message! I am really lucky to have people who care that much.

Be well, my friends.

26 Comments

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26 responses to “Lots of news this morning

  1. Great news on it going well! It seems a lot scarier before hand, doesn’t it? At least it did for me just reading about and imagining being in the same confrontation!

    Grief and sadness are a part of life and death. I can’t philosophically, logically, or psychologically understand it’s place in our brief existence…. But it does appear that the most self-aware and intelligent creatures on Earth go through grief. It must have it’s place. So, once again, go through it in wellness.

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  2. TheCatssMeoww

    We are putting my grandma in hospice soon because of dementia. I’m sorry for your loss but at least you have a positive outlook on it

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  3. Sorry about your grandma. Also I am giving your psychologist SERIOUS side eye…to say, well, that’s just your name to me? That’s just not good enough. Lots of kids at my school were enrolled under one name (Ling, for instance) and preferred to be called by another name (like Lauren). Good for you for having the talk, but yeah, I’m really not impressed.

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    • Me neither, however, now is not the time to make changes in my care team. I guess one *could* at least he was honest in his arrogance/conceit! There’s something to be said for false humility at times, methinks.

      Ahhh, it’s difficult … my relationship with him feels slippery, like trying to hold a live fish. I appreciate the way he challenges me, but think he pushes too far sometimes. This business of the names is just ridiculous, but gave me a chance to exercise new skills.

      I think I just need to focus on self-care right now, self-care and stability.

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  4. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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  5. Oh. I am so sorry to hear of your grandmother’s passing. My grandmother had dementia also in her last years but it still didn’t lessen the pain caused by her leaving us. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to grieve. Hugs to you dear.

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  6. Firstly, my sincere condolences with the loss of your grandmother. Even if you know that death comes close, somehow you can never really, really prepare yourself for it I guess. Losing someone you love is always difficult, and these words sound too superficial of course then it is in reality.

    About your psychologist. I read the other post as well. It would annoy me for sure when people would do that. In fact, the way people call me is a bit different from my ‘ official documents name’ (I have no idea how you call these types of names in English) and I would be annoyed when someone would call me like that I see regularly. No one calls me like that, and the other name, the name people call me, was given to me as well.But, to get back at your story, this part annoys me pretty much and somehow gives me a certain signal of the way he think or seems to think; ” He also said that although I have a strong preference to be called by my preferred name, the name he knows me by is my formal name – he said that, for him, is my name. He said that we were two different people with two different names for me”

    It is a bit difficult to explain for me what it makes me think since I think I lack the knowledge of the proper English words for expressing what I would like to say about it, but roughly what he said, makes no (or less) sense to me and in fact it’s a bit of an excuse one way or another. If you see someone regularly and you know someone prefers a certain name is it so much hassle to call a person like that? Anyway as well for the ” relation’ client/psychologist it is even better to use the name the client prefers just to make him/her a bit more comfortable – i mean whats the purpose of seeing a psychologist? They want to achieve something right, and small things matter sometimes in building this trust relationship. At least, that is how it would be for me.
    Also,I can imagine myself doing the same to him (and yeah that is not too nice, I guess I can be annoying too sometimes). Do you call him by his first name? Maybe you should start calling him mr. Idontknowwhathislastname is but since that is in some way the formal way he is to you, and see what he thinks of that. Maybe it doesnt bother him at all, I dont know, those people are out there too of course.

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    • Thank you so much for your condolences and also for your thoughtful comment. You’ve hit the nail right on the head, identifying why his behaviour and response pissed me off so much! – both today and last time. I must admit I was tempted to call him by a silly, kid’s version of his name, but didn’t 🙂 I’m trying to keep the moral upper hand.

      I have some reservations about continuing to work with this bloke, but there are some other things to keep in mind:
      – it’s not wise to make big decisions when you’re bereaved
      – I access him through my health fund, and there’s no gap, which is just amazing
      – the work we do together is completely different to the work I do with my therapist, and they dovetail nicely
      – even though I don’t always like him, he does challenge me. I don’t think he always “pitches” these challenges just right, but at least he’s not shy to poke and prod in what he assumes will be my best interests
      – my therapist, with whom I do truly excellent work, has just gone away for 5 weeks, so I’m not going to make any other changes to my care team during that time.

      I really appreciated your comment, and the time you took to write it. Thank you for validating my feelings. It’s always reassuring to hear that other people agree with you when you think someone else has been unreasonable.

      Thanks again ❤

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      • Fair enough. Those points you mention are really good ones.
        And as well, sometimes can be or it’s good to work with someone who is not really at the same ‘ level’ as you are or someone who ‘ disturbs’ your usual way of things as long as it is not forever and all the time – okay this sound maybe a bit arrogant in some way but I think you know what I mean to say here 🙂 .

        And you’re welcome. It was/ is no big deal to write or take time for things like this. And it did not take so much time, I can type very quickly AND I have plenty of time at the moment so ;)). But the most important, it is just nice and a pleasure to respond and read and conversate with (people like) you . So thank you too!

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  7. Sorry to hear about your grandmother. Expected or not, losing someone you love is always difficult.
    You should be proud of taking on the psychologist man. I would have run a mile I think.
    Take care ❤

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  8. Jay

    Only saw your two most recent posts now.

    Firstly, I’m very sorry to hear about your grandma and am thinking of you. It seems so hollow when people try to remind us that the death of ill relatives is inevitable and their suffering is now over. My grandpa had alzheimers for 10 years and eventually succumbed to death a year and a half ago. While we were happy that he was out of pain and his confusion, his physical presence was sorely missed. We loved him with all our hearts. We loved him when he was healthy, when he became someone with a different personality and finally, when he was just a tiny shell of a person with nothing inside. Your feelings are testament to the person your grandma was and I think she would be honoured to know you cared.

    Secondly, I am very proud that you were brave enough to call out your psychologist on something that was important to you. And, that you didn’t resort to treating him in the same way he treated you by calling him by his full name and surname, or worse, by another name altogether. There is something very powerful in being the bigger person. That said, I think his argument is shit (sorry for the swearing but it conveys how I feel). For me, it’s like calling a parent by their full names even though they are known as mom, dad, a preferred name or some family nickname. Technically, it’s correct. But does your psychologist really want to rely on technicalities?! I understand though that there are benefits to keeping him around (no gap to pay etc). Let’s hope he has truly listened to what you have to say xx

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    • Thank you so much, Jay, for your thoughtful condolences and also for your validation of my feelings/actions regarding my psychologist. Let’s hope he has indeed listened!

      As you know, your support means a lot to me. x

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  9. It would annoy me greatly if someone treated me like that. It shows lack of respect, lack of valuing your opinion. And you are entitled to an opinion on how you want to be referred to! He can choose how to refer to you if he’s discussing your case with other on the team and you’re not there, but if he chooses to use a name to your face that you’ve clearly told him you don’t like then he’s choosing to insult you. Of course, if he’s just forgetting, that’s different (I forget/mix up names all the time) but he should have the decency to be sheepish and apologise.

    And sorry to hear about your loss. I think grief isn’t logical, you feel it when you feel it, the triggers can be seemingly random, the point is not the trigger, the point is the grief, there is no right or wrong time to do it or right or wrong way to feel it or process it. You miss your grandma, that is enough of a reason to feel grief.

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    • Thank you so much, for both your kind condolences and for understanding why the name issue meant so much to me. I do appreciate your comments. And yes, refer to me by a number in my absence if you want to, but *please* by my name in my presence – not your name for me!

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  10. I’m sorry to hear that your grandmother has passed. I wish you and your family all the best, and may you keep your strength and courage even as you mourn her loss ❤

    As for the psychologist–good for you! It's frustrating when people don't respond the way you want them too (an apology from him would've been nice, even if he does believe it's not that big a deal), but it's good that you were able to be assertive and calm regardless. It's always a positive thing to stand up for what's important to you 🙂

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  11. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I hope that you will have the time and space to “be” with that grief for as long as you need to – in my mind, there are no “shoulds” in this case. Please take care of yourself. 🙂

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  12. So sorry to read about your grandmother.

    You’re perfectly entitled to feel sad, own it. Sending peace, strength and love.

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