Asking for Help

Last week was a pretty rough week for me. Fear, anxiety, depression… all the internal bullies decided to pay me a visit at once. Most of the internal conversation came down to asking for help. Or more accurately, resisting asking for help.

Asking for helpMental health is a funny thing. You can do all the right things, take all the right steps and build all the right habits, and still have bad days. And on a bad day all of those positive habits go right out the window.

On a bad day, getting out of bed takes a tremendous amount of effort. Routine tasks and errands require even more willpower to accomplish, especially when you don’t want to step out your own door. And facing people, talking to them? Forget it.

When all you want to do is sleep, or at least hide in bed, reaching out for help seems like an impossible challenge.

The paradox is that help is exactly what I needed. “When you can’t run, you crawl. And when you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you.” (Joss Whedon, Firefly, The Message)

Thankfully, my husband was there to carry me. He hugged me and let me cry. He was patient as I got myself together to go out. He drove me around and came with me on the errands I was having trouble facing on my own. He made sure I ate nutritious food, and encouraged me to make the phone call to find a counselor.

In short, he helped me make the baby steps that meant accomplishing something.

Those “little” accomplishments encouraged me to keep working on a bigger project I’ve been working on – decluttering and rearranging my home. I have a tendency toward being a pack-rat. My kitchen table had become my desk, there was a huge box of papers that had collected over more than two years, and stuff. So much stuff.

This weekend I sent a ton of paper to the burn pile, and filed another ton. I set up a new-to-me desk, and moved my sewing table out from under the pile of things that had accumulated on it. I’ve been able to sit down to meals with my children at the table. And my youngest thanked me for it.

Between that, and some pretty good vitamins, I’m feeling better today. There’s still more to do. The decluttering is not yet done, I still need to connect with that counselor to make an appointment, and rebuild my healthy habits. However, I celebrate the small things, the progress I have made, and take each day as it comes.

My mental health didn’t get this way overnight, just like my house didn’t get messed up and cluttered overnight. It’s going to take time to clean things up, sort them out, and heal. And sometimes, despite having the tools and knowledge, I just can’t do it on my own. Sometimes I need a little help.



May I Ask You?

I’ve just finished reading The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer, and it was quite the interesting read. If you haven’t seen her TED talk, this will give you some context:

Now, I’m no Amanda Palmer. I know I don’t have as large a following as she does, and I’m nowhere near as active on social media as she is. And yet I’m hoping that through the almost 7 years (can you believe it’s been 7 years?!?!?) that I’ve been sharing my life and experiences with you on this blog that I’ve developed at least a small following.

Asking for helpAnd I have a couple of favors to ask.

The first is for my cousin, Dawn. She’s only seven weeks older than me, the daughter of my mom’s twin sister. We grew up fairly close, and when we were very young, our grandfather used to call us “twin cousins”. We spent hours and hours over Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer holidays, playing in our grandparents’ basement, and reading. So much reading together!

I heard this weekend that she had a stroke. She had several blood clots in her legs and in her lungs. She’s in the hospital where they are keeping an eye on her condition. Her three year old daughter has no idea what is going on, and my aunt is looking after her granddaughter while also monitoring care for her daughter.

I ask that you send your prayers and healing energy to her for a quick and full recovery.

The second request is for me. It can be very lonely out here, typing into the void. Most of the time I have no idea if anyone actually reads what I write. I know that some of you do, because I do receive comments from time to time, and the occasional email.

I feel like you probably know more about me than you would like, and I hardly know anything about you. And I’d like to!

Would you be willing to leave a comment below, or on Facebook? I’d like to know where you’re from, and maybe how you found me. (Yes, I know I can get some of that information from Google analytics, but that doesn’t actually help me get to know you.) You can even ask for something yourself – I’ll respond to your comments, so come back and check in.

I look forward to hearing from you.