When Sara went out on leave a couple of months ago, I went to see a counselor. (In fact, she's the same counselor I saw after my father's death.) She helped provide me with some useful tools. (And she gave me an opportunity to talk through how I had been reacting, which let me realize that I had been doing a fairly good job on self-care.) I haven't seen her in the past few weeks; not sure whether I'll go back or not. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.
The visits were arranged by CONCERN: EAP. It's an organization that a fair number of California tech companies provide access to as part of their employees' health plans; among other things, it provides up to ten (I think) counseling sessions for a given issue. (“EAP” stands for “Employee Assistance Program.”)
Before Peter's death, it wouldn't have occurred to me to use CONCERN, though I'd been aware of it for a long time. I think it was Mary Anne who finally convinced me to try it, by suggesting that if I'd been physically injured, I would have no qualms about going to see a specialist who could help me heal from that kind of injury.
So I wanted to publicly say that counseling and CONCERN have mostly worked out better for me than I would once have expected.
...I wrote the original version of this entry a couple of months ago, but I kept deciding not to post it, because it kept feeling like I was saying “You should all go use CONCERN or a similar program if you're having troubles!” and that seemed like a weird and much-too-broad thing to say, even aside from the obvious facts that many people don't have access to such a program and that many people have already made much more use of counseling than I have. I had a bunch of disclaimers here, but I think the key disclaimer is that I don't mean this entry as advice for other people.
But CONCERN has provided me with useful help twice now, so I thought it was worth posting about them.