Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need it. Here is how.
Thank you to Amanda for Thinking Out Loud!
I decided to write this post both because of the fact that it is National Mental Illness Awareness Week, but also after having my third client in as many days nearly come to tears during our session. And not because I was kicking their asses, but because they were just so overwhelmed.
I deal with capital D Depression and capital A Anxiety. This is nothing new to my readers, especially if you have followed me over the past few months as I have really struggled with a flare in my situational Depression and Anxiety. My hope in writing about my experiences with my mental illness as well as my chronic physical illness is that those who deal with similar issues can realize that yes, these conditions SUCK but that we can still live our lives happily and healthily, blips in the radar be damned.
Anxiety and Depression are very, very real conditions of modern life. Not that generations prior to this one did not deal with it, but I think that the technological era may have heightened these issues because now there are expectations of everyone to do everything all at once and to perfection. Just writing that out makes me feel twitchy.
A few of my clients have been put through the wringer in the past weeks. One of them, for the entire summer, it seems, and now into fall. On Monday, I asked her how she was doing, and she instantly just welled with tears. We sat for a moment, and then I just put her on the treadmill and let her walk and talk to me.
She has so much going on right now, and she never seems to catch a break.
Among everything happening, she feels like she is disconnected from her husband; that he isn’t in touch with how she is feeling, with the anxiety that she is experiencing.
I asked her if she had told him, in so many words, just how under water she was feeling.
Her situation reminded me of other times during the summer when I caught Alex completely off guard with torrents of tears and shuddering breaths as I broke down and confessed my feelings of inadequacy, of helplessness, of hopelessness, and insecurity. Alex and I have an amazing relationship, but, let’s face it, the interviews and traveling schedule can cause disconnect between even the most connected partners.
Though I well and good knew this previously, I think that perhaps more than any other time, this spring and summer, I have learned just how important it is to reach out when you are feeling under water. I think of myself as this strong independent woman, but I also know just how vulnerable I am, as much as I hate to admit it.
But if I don’t admit my vulnerability and my insecurity, if I don’t send out SOS signals, how can I expect someone to throw me a life preserver?
I looked at my client and I saw myself–I saw a woman who has a great marriage, but who wasn’t going to be able to get the support that she needed, even if it was just a hug, because she didn’t reach out and say “I need help.” Like myself, she is a fixer, she is the person who expects herself to be able to solve all the problems on her own… but in taking on too many loads, she has, as Bri once wrote, created her own stress and, like myself, stoked her own Depression and Anxiety, as a result.
Not to mention, she is stressed about the fact that she is under so much stress. Vicious cycle, to the max.
The moral of this story and the tie in to the mental illness side of things is to simply, and perhaps inelegantly, say to all, but particularly those who know they are prone to these issues:
Do not be afraid to reach out when you are under water and overwhelmed.
As I told a friend two days ago: Alex tends to apologize for me having to put up with his work schedule; I tend to apologize for Alex having to put up with my crazy. But you know what? I don’t think twice about his work schedule beyond feeling sorry that he has to work so hard, and he doesn’t think twice about my mental illness beyond feeling sorry that I have to go through it.
In short: we feel about each others’ “issues” the same way that we might feel about finding out that the store is out of cucumbers: well, shucks, but we’ll figure it out and rejig our dinner plans. Though I hope I mean more to Alex than a cucumber would…Reach out before you reach a breaking point #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #MIAW Click To Tweet
You are not a burden to those that love you. Those that love you want to help you.
Do you have trouble reaching out when you need help?