When things get tough, I try and handle it all. I am responsible. I was always taught to be. Maybe it comes from being the eldest child. Maybe it’s just my personality. After eleven years of living on my own, cherishing my independence, paving my path, it has become harder and harder to depend on anyone. When things get really tough, I pull back from asking for help. Because somehow, somewhere I think I’ve failed if I have to ask for help. After all, I’m independent. I’m responsible. I’m strong.
The thing is though, deep down, I do want help. I want some people to help but I don’t know how to ask. And sometimes, even when they ask me what I want, I say I don’t know. But maybe I do. Deep down, maybe I do.
While talking to my therapist a week ago, I realised how closed off I’ve become. I always thought I was an open person. To an extent, I am. But turns out, even when people can see I am struggling, I put on a mask and avoid. I grow distant. I shy away. I’d rather hang out with people who don’t know me well enough because I can easily fake it. Everything can remain superficial. I don’t have to really connect.
This weekend, I had a moment. A moment where I realised how alone I could be if I don’t reach out. I realised just how much I’d pulled away from a lot of friends. I realised how I’m pulling away from my family too. There were only a couple of friends, my therapist, my supervisor and my GP who really knew what was going on for me. That’s a really lonely feeling.
And so, I did something about it. I reached out. I messaged some of my friends about my depression and explained why I have been distant. I caught up with another over coffee. I messaged my supervisor about a tiny rant like she asked me to.
You know what? My world didn’t end from asking for help.
It got better.
My friends who I’d been distant from rang me and caught up with me for dinner. We talked about stuff to do with hiking, camping and life. My other friend, who is a psychologist too, listened. Really listened. She validated my feelings and helped. My supervisor rang me as a friend to chat about my rant. We had laughs thanks to her droll humour.
While there is always that niggling fear of being weak and more so, of being rejected and let down if I reach out, I am trying to push past that. Because everyone can offer help in their own way. The depression has obviously not gone away but I’ve realised I’m not going to let it win. I can’t. Because if it wins, I end up alone in life. I have to reach out. I have to push through.
Yes, I spend my days helping kids and teens. But sometimes, I need help too.
And that’s okay.
When was the last time you reached out?
Until next time,