the anxiety of asking for help…
This last week or so. Bad. No, I didn’t have a couple sucky days. I know how to deal with a bad day. As in singular. At first I thought it was just residual sadness of not seeing my significant other, you know long distance relationship blues. Then I thought maybe I just nervous about some submissions I put out on some online magazines that I hadn’t heard any feedback from. Then the feelings started lingering. Before I had even noticed I didn’t sleep for 48 hours. I was tired. Weary even.
This feels familiar.
Instant panic. Do I tell anyone? Will they think I am a failure? Things are going well for me in my life, why is this happening? Will they understand? Does this make me the crazy friend? Are people sick of my constant struggle?
People who have never dealt with mental illness or any significant hardship in life tend to not understand why people in distress don’t ask for help. Yes, in the cute compartmentalized little logical world many pretend to live in, it makes sense that when something bad pops up to use your resources. However, I don’t always live in that world. My instant reaction to any ripple in the my stream of consciousness is to hide. Either I hide myself by pulling away/disappearing or I conceal mistakes or feelings through omission and sometimes even deceit.
When my mind goes into manic mode, every solution seems sound EXCEPT for the one that actually makes sense. So guess what option that defenestrates? You got it, asking for help.
This time, I found a moment of clarity and asked for help. That doesn’t always come. So your responsibility, if you choose to be a support system for someone, is to know that moment doesn’t always show up and keep your eyes open. That cry for help won’t always come so black and white.
Sometimes a random text or IM from someone saying “i’m not myself” or “i feel weird” out of the blue is a subtle cry for help. Haven’t heard from a person you talk to everyday for a couple days? It might not be them ignoring you, they may be scared to show you signs of them struggling. Check in, say something nice, let them know you are there. You may be the one that can create a space to allow that split second of clarity. That split second makes all the difference. Respect and recognize the gray.