I have no idea why this topic of regrets is even on my mind today, but I figure it’s important to just go with it… As with most topics I write about, our regrets in life can be found on a continuum, with smaller regrets on one side and big ones on the other.
I feel like some of the smaller regrets that come up for me in life are things like wishing I had simply gone to prom with the nice friend that asked me even though I wasn’t interested in him, or wishing I had taken my Spanish classes more seriously in school because that knowledge definitely would have come in handy as an adult living in Lima, Peru with my family!
Some slightly bigger regrets are the interpersonal ones like wishing I had spent more time getting to know an acquaintance who looked like she needed more support in her life, or wishing I had listened to my intuition and set better boundaries with a “friend” who turned out to be inherently mean, selfish, self-centered and unkind.
But, the really big regrets are the ones where I just waited too long to ask for help and support from others, when I so desperately needed it.
Why do we so often wait until we have hit rock bottom (for us), before we let someone know how we’re truly feeling? Why is it often so hard to be open and honest and vulnerable with others, even those we feel closest to in our lives?
I can so vividly remember feeling depressed and drained of energy and so full of grief after my late miscarriage 10+ years ago. On the day I’m thinking of, I remember sitting on our loveseat and my then 2 ½ year old daughter asking (yet again) if I’d go outside and play with her, and answering (yet again) that she could go in the backyard and I’d watch her out of the back window. It’s so very disheartening to even write that here.
I couldn’t remember exactly how many times I had given my daughter that same response, yet I knew deep down on that particular day that it was way too many. I knew deep down that yes, I had lost one baby, but if I didn’t get some help soon, I was also going to miss out on my daughter’s childhood as well. That she deserved better; she deserved the fun, present, happy, available mom who (before this loss) loved to play outside with her in our beautiful backyard in San Antonio, Texas. That day, I hit rock bottom for me, and soon after found a great therapist who helped me find myself again.
More recently, after the unexpected loss of my dad, I knew I needed to be more proactive in getting grief support quickly. It still took me many months to book my initial appointment with a therapist. I would have done it sooner, but I was also dealing with an international family move at the time (bad timing on my dad’s part… he would have gotten the morbid humor here too!).
This time, rock bottom for me was filled with the overwhelming sadness and grief over the loss of my dad, but also the overwhelming sadness and grief over the loss of my support system as a result of the move. I looked around one day in my new community in Flower Mound, Texas and realized that I simply would have a hard time making new friends in my current state. That prompted me to get help, this time in the form of an amazing online therapist in Austin, Texas, one who truly understood the depths of my grief and loss. Plus, once I started to heal, I also started coming out of my grief cocoon and interacting with people again too!