Pour Your Heart Out: My Secret BFF

August 3, 2011

Welcome to my latest Pour Your Heart Out, a semi-regular series based on Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out blog crawl (my past discussions: weight, loneliness, hectic schedules)  where I find it helpful — as an average, typical gal — to share with you the life behind the smile that you see daily, that we see in each other and yet don’t typically share with each other.

Today’s topic: my secret BFF. Know who I’m talking about??

I’m talking about my beloved counselor! Some might have a psychologist or even a psychiatrist. I have a counselor and while I have never mentioned her here she deserves some attention. Why? Because she’s become a critical part of my health and happiness this past year.  And, thinking I’m probably not the only one who has one, wants one… or needs one.

I found counselor S through a friend after a doctor suggested last May that I find someone to talk to after being in the hospital with paralysis from my chest down for a month. Scary. I had/have risidual medical issues that friends and family were supportive of but really couldn’t — and still can’t — fully understand. And, how much can you burden someone with the down stuff? I feel a little guilty bringing it up even though it plagues me on a daily basis. And, for someone like my husband who was willing to listen forever and to let me vent, I didn’t want it to become the only focus of our marriage and our conversations. I needed a third party, and an inpartial voice.

I realized during my first meeting with counselor S that she was someone I needed to speak with more often. She was a sounding board, had smart, tangible ideas to improve my situation and yet sympathized and let me take time to ‘feel’ the frustration and sadness when I needed to. My life had completely changed in an instant and frankly, this gal can’t be happy and smiley all the time. She reminded me to take time to mourn the life (and body) that is no longer. It’s the same ‘mourning’ that people who end significant relationships or have someone close pass away should do. Mourn a past life and experience to welcome in a new one.

Maybe this is the obvious, of what all counselors/psychologists, should do and how helpful they should be, but I never had the positive, cathartic experience I had with her. I say that all women, major illness or not, need this. It’s funny because I reminded myself of her value this past week when my life was seemingly going fine, albeit crazy busy, and all of a sudden I had this mini freak out moment where I just needed to speak to her. I hadn’t realized nearly three months had gone by since my last visit and things were welling up inside me.

I bring this up because like I said you don’t have to be sick or sad to see a counselor. There’s lots of “eh” days or times when you’re in a rut for no reason and just need to talk it out, and times it’s important to go when you’re feeling good so you don’t get to those bad days. I walked away last Thursday from my session feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

So, that’s me pouring my heart out for today and sharing with you what helps me manage my stress, sadness and I guess you could say, freak outs. I know she’s my secret bff but I just couldn’t keep her private any longer.


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  • http://fashionbyalicia.blogspot.com/ Alicia

    Thanks for sharing! I had no idea you had paralysis from my chest down for a month! That is so scary. I also think I need someone to talk to about my health issues, etc. You have motivated me to find a “bff” like yours!

    • admin

      Alicia… you definitely do! I read your inspiring posts. I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of. I went through a rough time physically and needed someone else but it’s something helpful for everyone at all times in their lives. Check out my first post (http://theaveragegirlsguide.com/2010/07/im-back/) to get a mini sense of my past year in health (it’s sucked, lol, plain and simple).

  • http://thejammiegirl.com Angie

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Here’s the weird thing - calling and making an appointment to see a counselor for the very first time is on my to-do list for today, and I’m nervous as hell. I’m going to see someone recommended by a friend, and I have a feeling we will “click” very easily, but I’m still frightened on so many levels. Thanks for making me feel a bit better about all this!

    • admin

      Angie: I hope this gives you a drop more comfort. You will feel so much better and will be able to cross something off the to-do list (my favorite!). I know it’s scary but I think so, so many more people see therapists than we discuss… good luck, and I hope you find your own secret bff!

  • Meagan

    I’d kill to be able to afford a counselor! I definitely need one. I tried going to see an intern once (less $$) and it was not a good experience.

    • admin

      Yeah, sometimes it’s not worth saving a few bucks. Mine is $100/session and frankly I think last week was worth saving for. Doesn’t have to be an every day occurance, and ask a new counselor if she can meet with you even for a few minutes first like an intro before a full visit. An independant might do it and it’s a way for you to test the water before comitting.

  • http://www.mydressyways.com My Dressy Ways

    Wow girl. You amaze me. I love you. Just wanted you to know that.

    I think your secret BFF sounds awesome. Of course we have our husband, family and friends but I love the idea of someone who can listen to us REALLY vent and help us through what we’re feeling. I hide the real feelings and fears from those I’m surrounded by day to day who I call my closest friends and family but how liberating to be able to speak freely to someone who is really there to help and truly listen without judgment.

    • admin

      You are the sweetest; love you too! And, exactly… I rarely tell anyone my real truths and feelings, and this is a way to do so, and to get great insight on what I’m thinking. Consider it!

  • http://www.thingsicantsay.com Shell

    I think it’s great that you have her to talk to. I could probably benefit from it, too… if only I had the kid-free time!

    • admin

      That should be next week’s PourYour Heart Out… a moment of kid-free time to vent to someone! :) Thanks for stopping by the blog!!

  • http://www.smartnsnazzy.com Lia

    Alyson this has really touched me, thank you for again having the courage to share such personal information. I am typing through watered up eyes, I cannot fathom what you have been through, I had no idea! You are a strong, courageous and beautiful woman who apparently has overcome more than most people ever will. I’m so proud to call you my friend and I’m glad that you have found an amazing BFF that’s helped you through all of your struggles.

    • admin

      Thank you so much, Lia. I am proud to call you a friend, as I know we all deal with so much we never discuss. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  • http://www.sweetbutterbliss.blogspot.com Anastasia

    That’s great that you have such a good relationship with your counselor!

  • http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/ Bonnie

    My counselor once told me that therapy should become like dentistry. Every 6 months, everyone should get a check-up.

    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

    • admin

      TOTALLY agree! And, probably more than that…

  • http://www.thekircorner.com Kir

    I truly wish that I could see a counselor once a week..that I had the time…maybe I should make it. hmm???

    My first time to your blog and this post was awesome, I am so glad you have found a place and a person to help you through the dark /yucky times and I know that the smile on your face these days is the product of doing that.


    • admin

      So glad that you found me! Even if you can’t afford/have time for once a week, consider every two or three just to keep your sanity and to get feedback on topics you’re really stressing about or that’s causing even an ounce of discomfort or frustration. Thanks again!!

  • http://www.mamemusings.blogspot.com Melissa

    I love my secret BFF, too! She has helped me tremendously during this last year during my transition to twin motherhood, my mid 30s, and postpartum anxiety.

    Thanks to you, I may introduce my blog friends to her. I think it’s a great public service announcement and a testament to the fact that we all need an objective ear sometimes.

    • admin

      Exactly… hope you do decide to do so. So many keep this part of us a secret, and it’s something I’ve become proud of. I need her in my life!

  • http://www.bravoerunway.com bravoerunway

    Thank you for sharing with us this part of your life. While it is becoming more and more normal to see a counselor, some cultures still shy away from it. It is so scary to hear you had paralysis for a month, I can’t imagine what kind of thoughts were going through your mind. I am glad to hear you are doing better and that you do have someone you can count on when you need her. Cheers to you!

  • Lori

    I like the idea of mourning your old body. I have some complex medical issues that have entirely changed my life and body and I get really mad when I can’t do what I used to. Perhaps it is time I grieve for my loss and embrace my new self. Maybe I don’t need to go back to the therapist for my second visit, I can just read your blog ;) J/K

    • admin

      Haha, there you go. It’s so true though, Lori. We, possibly unfortunately, cannot go back to where we were. I have major bladder issues and honestly can’t pee like a regular 30-something anymore. It totally sucks but without major medical advances my world isn’t going to chang so either I mourn that and move on, or I drown in my sorrow… which is not the life I want to live. I wish you luck, love and support through your grieving process because it’s not easy, but it’s important.

  • http://unintentionallybrilliant.blogspot.com Roxanne


    I’m scheduling an appointment to get some mental health help and I hope I get somebody who will really listen to me and make me feel comfortable talking about all the “icky” stuff. I’m glad you have this secret BFF. :)

  • nicole

    takes a lot of courage to talk about seeing a counselor/psychiatrist/therapist - even for those of us in the business. I think everyone should see someone once in their life - makes a real difference. Glad that you have someone to talk to and confide in. Thanks for ur post which hopefully encouraged someone else to seek help!!

  • http://psychedforstyle.blogspot.com Kiki

    I was so touched to see your post- it is wonderful to hear that counseling has helped you, and it is even more wonderful that you’re encouraging others to seek out a counselor. I’m a licensed psychologist, and I see every day how much counseling helps people understand themselves and their place in the world and how counseling helps people grow in all sorts of meaningful ways. Sadly, for some folks, there is still some stigma attached to seeing a counselor. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing a post that helps to remove this stigma- there are so many people who could benefit from some counseling. :) Kiki

    • admin

      i totally agree… so silly that there’s still a stigma with taking good care of yourself, the mental kind. hope this helps even one woman feel more comfortable with the decision to talk to someone. appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  • http://www.ilookgoodtoday.com Jamie

    Thank you for such an honest post. I think it is wonderful that you have someone like “S” to talk with. Last yr I too had a counselor help me through some anxiety I was having, and I tell you, I would have been lost without her. Your post reminds me that I should check in with her soon.

    Your blog is always so inspiring!

    • admin

      Thank you, Jamie! That means a lot, and always a good time to check in with a secret bff! :)

  • http://fashionistammc.blogspot.com Mandy

    Wow…I love how real and honest you are! Having a secret BFF is beneficial and I have seen one on and off my whole life! I am actually in search of a new one :) Both of my parents are advocates as well AND they say their marriage was saved by them both going. You are an amazing person and we are all better for “knowing” you! XO

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  • http://bestofpalmbeachconsignment.com Best Of Palm Beach

    I had no idea you have been through this. You are truly amazing Alyson, so glad I know you.

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