It was the first time I cried (and cursed) with my therapist.
I was railing about my former husband and the stress of rearing my children alone and not having family support and not being able to buy a house and getting stuck on the career ladder and wondering why my life isn't the way it's meant to be and... then she said... she said that word... she said; 'You sound disappointed'.
Now this was an understatement. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was sad. I was lost. I was overwhelmed. I was depressed. I was self-pitying. I was jealous. I was (I will admit) cursing.
But she didn't say any of those.
She said I was disappointed.
And believe me, I fought those tears.
But they came. One by one.
Trickling down my face.
I couldn't speak.
She didn't ask me to.
I let them fall and plucked a tissue.
And I said 'Yes, I am disappointed. I feel so (insert curse of choice!) disappointed. I feel bereft with disappointment. The way my life has not gone according to the plan.'
The plan I carefully constructed. The way my life is not like my sister's/friend's/cousins's (insert name of the person you love but also envy).
I am disappointed that the person I loved and married turned out to be incapable of loving and being married.
I am disappointed with family, with friends, with loved ones for caring but not understanding.
But most of all I am disappointed with myself. I have not forgiven myself yet. For what? For failing. I look around at others and I ask 'How do they manage to get it so right?' How did I manage to get it so wrong?
Then my therapist asked if I could think of three things to be grateful for.
That's when my gratitude diary started.
I do not allow myself write my children's names down every time now - it's a cop out.
Plus I have to think of three things to be grateful for from that very day.
Some days are hard. But there is always some bright moment. Some funny or cute phrase. A random compliment. A kind gesture. A chocolate treat. A laugh-out-loud moment. A paddle in the sea. An affectionate hug. There is always something or someone to ease the burden, to quell the sadness, to lighten the load of disappointment. Even momentarily.
My most recent entry -
"You look pretty mum. Your hair is actually quite nice today." (high praise from my pre-teen!)
"I want one hundred and forty two hugs right now please." (from my affectionate ten year old!)
I have a found a therapist who is not a magician but who is teaching me how to move from disappointment (slowly!) to gratitude.
And, for now, that will do nicely thank you very much...
Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.