I Struggle Too

A very brave, strong, courageous friend posted the other day that he may be MIA from social media for a little bit because he was struggling intensely with anxiety and depression. He was practicing self-care, and I sat back and just chewed on the fact that part of that self-care was sharing his current state.

I was in awe.

I was also challenged. I’m such a hypocrite that way. SUCH. A. HYPOCRITE. I counsel to the contrary, but I still tend to hide when I’m struggling. I tend to stifle. I tend to do what people want from me – smile, participate, show up, do. And that’s not all bad – often it’s even helpful, at least to a point or for a time. But the issue at hand is …… I don’t know that I’ve ever done what my friend did.

I’ve shared more publicly about physical injuries, usually because I needed help getting my kids places or something picked up at the store. I don’t know that I ever publicly just laid it out there emotionally/mentally. And I’m not completely sure where I stand on that, because we all have friends on social media who Dear Diary everything. And that’s okay, but it’s not me. But as I sat with what my friend had done, part of what was so potent about it was that he was leading the way. It wasn’t about “getting attention,” but about practicing what he preaches. He is a survivor, and he was doing what it takes when you’re a survivor and you fall into quicksand.

It didn’t make me think he was weak. It did, however, make me think. I also saw the response – the support. The support from people who know. This was also something to behold.

Mr. Rogers’s mother told him, after something bad happened, to watch for the people who help. That helpers will always come.

The rub: in major (public) crises, the helpers come because the crisis is known. The reason people suffer in silence is because they (I) keep their (my) crises private. Hidden. Silent.

I know reasons I do this. Maybe we can chat about that in an upcoming post – I’m certain I didn’t invent playing my cards close to my chest. But I’m also trying to change my unhealthy behaviors and habits, and to create new neural pathways. The only way to do that is to make different choices.

So:

I struggle too.

I have been struggling a lot.

I have been feeling very exposed (vulnerable), powerless, and alone.

I have had an increase in bad nights and daytime anxiety and panic attacks at the most random times and in the most random places.

I have wanted to isolate.

I have wanted to avoid – people, and places. Pieces of that, very tiny pieces, are good self-care. But most of it is reflex. Default. Unhelpful.

If I want a different behavior, I have to make different choices. Over and over. Situation by situation. I have to be brave, and brave means vulnerable and transparent and …. (meh)…..somewhat dependent. No one is an island, though I AM pretty good at it.

Anyway, there is it. Challenged by a brave friend who led the way the other day, and further inspired by sharing my journey to help you on yours; I am struggling.

I will be okay, and am pretty okay now. And …. it’s okay to not be okay, which in waves I am not.

It’s okay for you, too. And maybe, hopefully, like my friend’s bold and honest choice challenged me to act and do differently, this will give you permission to do so as well.

It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to tell.

I struggle too. I have been struggling.

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