Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I wrote the word "hope".....

I took several deep breaths and dialed the number, trying not to think about it too much. Afraid I'd hang up the phone.

Shaking and trembling, tears ran down my face while I was put on hold. And when the phone conversation finally finished several weeks ago, I ended up scheduling an appointment to see a therapist.

Fast forward to yesterday.....

I was deathly frightened. Breathing as deeply as I could but it still felt like I couldn't get enough air. After being put on a waiting list with the counseling center I had called, I was meeting with a therapist for the first time EVER this past Monday.

It was just an hourlong session but I was nervous the whole time through. I didn't know what to expect. What I'd say. What he'd ask about.

While most of the time was spent going over the procedure, we did cover my basic "history".

It would've been too weird crying in front of a complete stranger so I held back but did tear up when I told him I felt worthless.

After hearing my story, the therapist said, "I think your life defined you up to this point but I see the true Dean inside of you wanting to come out." I smiled. With that one sentence I knew he understood why I was there.

And so I agreed to meet with him Monday afternoons in his office in the Loop. As one blogger told me, "It's long overdue."

Even though it was awkward it felt good. Like I was actively taking healthy steps in the right direction. A light at the end of the tunnel.

Monroe Harbor looking west towards the city!

Once the therapy session ended I didn't want to go home right away. I needed to decompress and take in the emotional experience I just had. To reflect on things.

So I walked over to Monroe Harbor and sat near the edge of one of the docks. Alone like always, occasionally crying to myself as cool gusts messed up my hair.

Walking down the dock

Seagulls were casually circling in the distance as I listened to the water roll onto itself in silky slaps. Anchored boats heavily rocked back and forth.....moving yet not going anywhere. I could relate to that! Maybe therapy will change that though.

While sketching the boats on the lakefront, I noticed some of the wooden posts on the dock had writing all over them. Love notes, obscenities, and little drawings littered each slender support.

Close-up shot of a wooden post!

I must've spent over a good hour on that dock. And when I was ready, before leaving to catch my train home, there was one more important thing I wanted to do.

On the wooden post closest to the edge, I inscribed a message of my own. At the very bottom of the soft timber, I wrote the word "hope".


Ekanthapadhikan said...

I'm very happy for you dean. I'll pray that the therapy works for you. and mind you, that word (Hope) has a lot of meanings. It is the most important thing that we need in our life.

Winter said...

hi dean, i see that therapy is doing you good :) we all need time to take it all in, after being emotionally charged. beautiful pictures, very picturesque, take more of them! hope to chat with you soon -HUGS-

Maxmom said...

Well done Dean! Hang in there!

naturgesetz said...


Hope is exactly the thing.

Dean Grey said...


We all need hope, right?



HUGS back at ya!



I'll try to hang in there!



I agree!


Everyone's kind words are greatly appreciated!


martha miller said...

Great work, Dean! It takes huge courage to do what you've done! When I was first in therapy at age 28 I felt so terrified and small that I asked if I could sit on my therapist's lap! (a woman...) True story!!
And when I started seeing another therapist years later, I was so scared to speak that I asked if he would hang up a curtain between me and him! He did! Sort of a confessional type setting (I'm not Catholic...) Another session he let me hide behind a life sized stuffed bear! Ha HA! Sounds funny now, but it worked! I was experiencing extreme debilitating anxiety at the time. Yes, that awful can't catch your breath thing. Know it all too well. Hooray for you! Great idea to give yourself time to process quietly afterwards, too. Smart!!

Unknown said...

It does sound like you've connected to a very good counselor. I am so happy you have someone who will help you find the wonderful you all your friends already recognize is there.

Susan Beauchemin said...

Yay Dean! So good to hear this!! The tears are all part of the process--let them flow!

bK said...

That's great news! I'm very excited for you! I'm sure it probably was tough for you to open up to a stranger. I totally thought it was really hard to do when I went to the therapist for my first time a few months ago.

I notice you uploaded a new picture of you on your blog! You're very cute lol :P. I think I've only seen pictures of you with parts of your face covered.

Joey said...

Do you know how proud I am of you and how happy you have made me today?

Nothing but love, Dean!

jason said...

Hoping right along with you, there, Dean.
Seriously. :)

stanw said...

Hi Dean,

So glad you went for it. I found it interesting that you inscribed the word "hope" at the bottom. It is like you are at the bottom and the only way now is up, and that is a good thing. "The true Dean inside wanting to come out"; that is so meaningful for you, sounds like you found the right therapist. I see exciting discoveries and growth ahead for you, take good care. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

That is awesome :)

Unknown said...

Im glad you are talking to someone, its a very positive thing and im sure it will be a good thing for you, have faith in yourself.

Dean Grey said...



I like the idea of hanging up a curtain during therapy! It just seems too weird talking to a stranger face-to-face about my problems.

But I'm hoping as I develop a rapport with the therapist it'll get easier to open up to him.



Awww, that's sweet of you to say!



I'll let the tears flow!



Good, then I'm not alone in my thinking.

And yeah, my latest blog pic is a head-on shot for once!



Your comment made me smile, Joey!



I know you are!



Wow, I never thought about that until you mentioned it but I did write the word "hope" at the very bottom of the wooden post.

Maybe it was a subconscious thing?


WannabeVirginia W.!

Go me!



I'll try to have faith in myself!


Thanks to all of you for the encouraging words!


Dave said...

Can I pass along a letter by a favorite comedian/actor/author/human being Stephen Fry?


Best wishes

William said...

The positive feeling you got from the session is a sign that its a ste in the right direction. All the best!

Unknown said...

This is a great post, Dean!I'm also very happy for you. Don't give up now and and walk towards the end (of the tunnel)!

Dean Grey said...


I just checked out the link. It may very well be sunny one day but I love rainy weather!

I get the message yet what happens when you're down all the time on a consistent basis?

Mr. Fry's theme works for those with occasional blues not necessarily people suffering from a deep, chronic depression IMHO.






I won't give up yet!


I appreciate you three gentlemen stopping by!


Carol Anne Strange said...

An inspiring post, Dean. I think this is a real positive turning point for you. Wishing you all the best on this new journey. xx

sMacThoughts said...

This is very good news... I feel for you, and I am so excited that you've found the strength to reach out for help. You are on the road to becoming stronger. Your final paragraph warmed my heart.

AndyDrewby said...

Good for you Dean. Hope that you can be happy.

Mike said...

So pleased to read this. You cannot imagine how pleased.

I am sitting here with a huge grin on my face.

Be safe, be happy

Dean Grey said...


I think it's a turning point for me too!



That final paragraph is what it's all about!



I hope so too!



I'm glad this post made you smile!


Thanks to the four of you for the supportive comments!


Kelly T Keating said...

Great to see a therapist!

All the best, Kelly

Guy Magallanes said...

Oh my goodness Dean, you take my breath away!
I'm so glad you're standing up for yourself.
Here's to HOPE

melanie said...

You do yourself the greatest honor by expressing you truth, all of it. Because buried underneath all that holds you down is all the beauty of who you really are'
Life and its experiences sometimes have a way of dimming our light' you are courageous to allow another to shine a light into your dark and it will ignite you once again or maybe for the first time ever with yourself, your true self and with all that you are meant to be! Good for you Dean'
So So happy and excited for you'

melanie said...


Then there was Hope

Coming up over the horizon like a brillant sunrise, hope returned.

Where have you been? she questioned.

I’ve felt so lost without you.

I have wandered through the valley of misery and swam in a sea of despair.

When you left, you took Faith with you, life has been difficult and I have suffered, said the girl.

Hope just smiled it’s glorious smile and spread it’s warm and lovely light all over her.

The girl breathed a deep and welcome sigh of relief.

After some time Hope spoke…

I may have disappeared a while but I see that you have survived on Courage.

Courage has served you well in my absence.

In through that suffering you have grown and surrendered to yourself, replied Hope.

In time you will see I have given you the gift of time and space to come to know yourself, all that you are, all that you are capable of feeling and how you wish to live.

In doing so you welcome and appreciate my return.

Now we will travel side by side and faith has become your friend...

Written by Me' not so long ago after a rather hopeless period in my life'

Randuwa said...

I'm always here, whatever I can do, just ask. I'll be honest, I honestly care. I finally, got "Survivor" up on the wall next to "Crumbling". They make a magnificent pair.


Dean Grey said...


Thanks for that!



That's quite a compliment!



What wonderful words from you! So I'm surviving on courage right now, huh?



I know you'll take good care of those paintings!


I appreciate you four sharing your thoughts on this post!


elsie said...

"sigh"... see, this is ME smiling at YOU. my relationship with my therapist changed my life and motivated ME to become a therapist too. enjoy the journey!

Dean Grey said...


Wow! I hope therapy can change my life for the better as much as it has for you!


Aaron said...

I love you, Dean. :)

MartininBroda said...

These are really great news. I so hope this will help you.

Dean Grey said...


Awww, I bet you say that to all the boys!




All I can do is try, right?


Thanks to the pair of you!


Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

OK, I have tears running down my face as I type this. Thank you GOD for letting Dean have this experience! And you go ahead and CRY in the sessions - they have tons of kleenex there - you're paying for it! I'm thrilled that you went. And hope that you continue. And please, know that you have so many people supporting you from far away, who have never even met you, but love the little peeks of Dean that you let us see, as WELL as your art. So happy you had that feeling of comfort.

Dean Grey said...


You are so, so sweet to me!


Aaron said...

Please keep me updated on how you go. You invested into hope - a wise investment, Dean.

Linda said...

I think sensitive people, are at the mercy of an onslaught of emotions,and other interactions with opposing forces. They are the nicest people I know and the most caring and loving, but sadly, because of their wonderful nature suffer the most.
Take care, be good to yourself, and look for the things that bring joy to you , however simple.
Love Linda:)

amar said...

It takes a lot of courage to seek therapy. Congratulations on taking the first step. I just started seeing a therapist as well. Like you, I was nervous and didn't know what to say. I ended up talking too fast with nervous gesticulations. The hardest part was telling my history. I did so without a teardrop. I told my history as if it happened to someone else.

You tearing up is a very good sign. I think you will make leaps and bounds in your therapy. Hopefully soon you will see your worth the way that I, and your other followers here do.

May you be nurtured and healed.

Dean Grey said...


I will keep you updated!



I've been called "sensitive" many times before!



I hope your therapy sessions go well too!


I appreciate you three stopping by!


WOL said...

Depression is chemical. So is anxiety. Don't exclude the possibility of medication, not as a long-term thing, but as something to get you over the hump. I've seen it work wonders. -- a friend finally decided to give medication a try -- it accomplished in 6 weeks what 14 years of therapy couldn't -- It lifted the heavy darkness he'd been struggling against most of his life. Yes, continue therapy by all means. They are a great sounding board to help you work through issues, but don't close the door on medication.

Dean Grey said...


I'm not saying no to medication, just saying no to it for right now.

I've also taken a break from therapy at the moment.

I know I can always go back should the need arise.

Thanks for your thoughts on this!


Unknown said...

You used the word "decompress" in this post. I used that word a lot at my former job. My co-worker said she never heard anyone but me say that word. The next time I see her I will tell her there is another Dean who uses the word "decompress."

Dean Grey said...


Great minds think alike!