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.
Mental 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.