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  • Writer's pictureKatie Vahey Gaebler

Help! I need somebody

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Just ask for help, and keep on asking.

A good therapist will be worth their weight, so many times over. There’s a lot of types of counselors out there, and it can take a little work to find the right fit. The best ones will do you justice when they ask, “are you getting what you need?” Be honest in answering that question. If personal learning and self-reflection in a way that provides directed baby steps forward are not apart of that relationship, ask for help in finding the person that will help you in that way.

Yesterday we had a parent-teacher conference for my preschooler. On a three-tiered scale for 20 skill areas, his mid-term report was a standard bell curve. Areas needing extra support warrant initiating IEP review (Teacher’s suggestion- not ours- to which we celebrated! Woot!), and I had a proud Momma moment hearing his excellence in helping others and asking for help. There are a number of reasons I feel I won the lottery with my youngest child, and this was one more for the list.

My children ask me for help A LOT. Mommommommom is equal parts elation and exhaustion, it’s just the part and parcel of mommying (or being a dad). They know I will always, even if we need to sing the patience song first (no, momma needs 5 min to finish up before next thing…” Sing Patience! Wait for it…) and show me first how you do it so we can break it down to the learning steps: Show me, Tell me, Let me. OK kid, I will repeat this cycle every damn day as many times as necessary (insert Groundhog Day movie joke here), and we’re always going to start with you show me where you’re at, first. Those are my guided baby steps to your independence, and you got this, sweetheart.

I’ve cycled through a handful of my own therapists. I was challenged deeply in asking for help of any kind through my life: pick myself up by my bootstraps, keep on keeping on, was my daily jam until my oldest son was about 2 yo. Then I crashed, again. But this time with spouse and child in tow, the weight was so much heavier, picking myself up by myself didn’t work. Life was so packed there was no wiggle room for whole recovery. Cycling thru a few talk counselors further contributed to the problem. No, (opinion) I don’t want to put my brain on a prescription right now. So I found help with the “easier” parts, various specialists for co-occuring conditions: Nutritionist for gut health, Esthetician for skin picking, StitchFix for workplace presentation. And if what needs the most support is under the hood of the car, a new pain job will only get you so far. Of course I crashed again.

AutismNERD started when I was in a pretty low place. I felt so creative, came up with this business acronym, and yet struggled to either sleep or get off the couch. I had been tech-progressively minded in a tech-antiquated work environment (aka poor fit) and got fired for asking too many questions. Never mind this was a top-tier engineering university. Whatever that I was inundated with floods of neurodivergence and my empathy taps were on it’s final drips. Thank you for firing me, for the State unemployment counselor whom I spent 2.5 hrs on a call investigating my case, and for the $$$ that came only a few short months before COVID: I got paid to stay home with my children during a global pandemic. I AM BLESSED. And for the love of Allah, et al., send me the right help. I needed it yesterday.

My husband made the GP appointment and instructed that I needed a ‘script for antidepressant. She told me in that appointment I was required to have a talk therapist and provided a handout of phone numbers for referral. I knew my due diligence needed to be info interviews, find the right fit, and (cause she’s that good) the one I liked best was no longer working with insurance. We couldn’t make it a regular check in routine for cost and covid reasons, and the 10 or so sessions over the past 2 years have been a game changer.

My work identity has been one of the most integrated and longstanding facets of how I understand myself, and also the most nebulous. I have many professional interests, my hands in many pots, partnerships scattered across industries, and my name has been on projects globally. And now that I’m a Mom first, how do I authentically blend my personal and professional knowing of myself? I’m a city-born cowgirl, so I know how to wrangle. And how can I line up these beautiful ducklings and partnerships at my fingertips, in a way that has the best intentions and outcomes for a future world for my neurodivergent children? Help me, dear therapist, be a mom working for herself with a purpose. Because never again will I be (someone else’s) purpose forward with my sons taking back-seat.

And help me, she did. In our session this week she scribbled a map feverishly as I talked about my random musings. They’re not random, she validated, the paths between them just need a conduit. I love that word, CONDUIT, and have considered myself a Connector (in the Gallup sense) since the days of yore. I am the conduit, co-co-cachoo, and this blog is the tangible manifest, it is the synapses that serves to fire it up. I have it broken down into my next few baby steps, and that was everything I needed in that moment. Write on, sweet Momma.

Ask for help, and thy shall receive.

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