Mental Health Care – Who Needs It? – Part 3 of 3
The Fourth House
By – Sheri de Grom
Tom’s hospital admission lingered into the Christmas holidays and I was devastated. Christmas had always been my favorite season. In 1997, I’d faced the holidays alone without the man I loved at my side.
We would not participate in activities we’d come to love since we’d started dating. My soul became separated from me and although I now knew I needed help, my trust issues kept me stuck in my path.
I’d always been an advocate for Tom. Now it was my turn to find the time to help myself. We had almost six years remaining in Monterey, California, before I transferred to DC.
I worked with ten therapists during those six years. I’d become convinced there was someone out there I could work with. My sessions addressed how I could maintain a balance within Tom’s and my marriage considering his illness, and my need to maintain the solid career I loved and now must protect for health insurance and financial support for our family.
Tom and I had several discussions about my desire to find a professional I could work with and trust.
Three years passed and Tom called me at work one day with the name of a psychologist he’d heard on talk radio while at his jeweler’s bench. We’d both laughed about the possibilities of meeting a true professional from talk radio but what did I have to lose?
Tom told me a little about the interview and gave me the psychologist’ phone number. I called and made an appointment for the following week. I’d decided what the heck. I wasn’t committed to a return visit.
After my first two appointments with Bill Falzett, PhD, I knew this was where my first of the four appointments Tom had requested would begin. I’d had almost three years of weekly therapy by this time but Bill possessed the combination of knowledge and skill to be in the top five of all the mental health professionals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the past twenty-five years.
Bill welcomed me home with empathy and understanding of my emotional being. (I’d learned to close myself down and throw away the key. I’d become so disconnected from my own body that I could have dental work without anesthesia). I was able to be myself with Bill almost immediately. He utilized tools from what I called his magical bag of tricks and established a therapeutic window wherein together we were able to reach places I’d never intended to go.
Bill Falzett, PhD, possessed the gifts that allowed me to find the key that opened my own world. It was then that I understood how much easier it was to live in the new world where bipolar disorder was a third party in my marriage.
I worked with Bill on a weekly basis for two years before my career moved us to DC and he reminded me, “I’ll always be just a phone call away.” He added, “You don’t have to wait for a crisis to call. I like to hear good news as well.”
After we moved to DC, I missed Bill and yes, we often talked late at night or into the wee hours of the morning.
Therapy has become a crucial part of my health care routine and continues to be so today, some twenty-five years later. My therapeutic relationship is much different today and when the time comes, I’ll include that part of the story within The Fourth House series.
I accepted working with Bill that I’d always be on first taking care of every aspect of Tom’s and my life together. I also recognize that my role as Tom’s wife is the most important purpose God will ever place at my feet. Additionally, Tom is the greatest gift I can ever imagine God will bestow upon me.
My unconditional love for Tom allows me to have memories of dancing in the dark on the night we met, November 11, 1983. I remember the restful composition as the surf rolled in and washed back out as we waltzed to Strangers In The Night. Every sound, though familiar, was a surprise. We were mesmerized, lost in the daze of being together. Those memories are as sweet today as they were that long ago night in Carmel, California.
INDEX TO PREVIOUS FOURTH HOUSE BLOGS: