“We are truly all fighting battles no one knows anything about.”
Everyone is fighting an invisible battle. It may not be illness, mental, or physical. It may just be the demons left-over from a rough child-hood. It may be any number of things, but we are all dealing with something. This post from NoOneGetsFlowersForChronicPain really got me thinking about that. More importantly, it reminded me of something that Barbara Kivowitz addressed briefly in In Sickness as in Health: Helping Couples Cope with the Complexities of Illness: the courage admitting you need help requires.
It doesn’t always take checking yourself in to allow you to finally begin to heal and see improvement, but it might. What it does take is admitting that you need help. When we keep our suffering inside, our questions, our doubts, our fears, our worries, all we do is ruminate upon those negative thoughts. We spin our wheels thinking about how bad things are and how they can only get worse. Often, we begin to think that the only way things will really get better is if we were dead. However, when we finally reach out and admit, even to just one person, how bad we feel. Whether it’s how bad we feel physically, mentally, or emotionally. Whether it’s admitting that we feel like we don’t fit in this world, or that we believe no one wants us around, or that the world would be better without us. Just admitting it out loud, as bad as it sounds and as much as we may be telling ourselves that no one wants to hear that shit, often makes us feel just enough better that we feel we can continue one more day. As Jessica said in her post, we all keep going long after we’ve told ourselves we can’t. Over and over again we tell ourselves “I can’t do this”, but we prove over and over that we can.
Admitting You Need Help is a Sign of Bravery
In “In Sickness As In Health”, Barbara Kivowitz shared the story of a young wife on the verge of suicide, due to the depression that she felt from her chronic illness. However, when she finally admitted out loud to her husband that she’d been feeling that way, she was finally able to begin healing a little bit. It’s not instant. I can tell you that, but it’s a big step. As they say in the “anonymous” groups, the first step is admitting you have a problem. That applies to all problems. I’ve been there twice now. Back in the early days of my Fibromyalgia diagnosis, I hit the bottom rather hard. I know that I was only a single day from checking myself in to the mental hospital. I think admitting that to myself, that I might need that kind of help, was a big step. Luckily, I was able to reach out to my husband and admit how I was feeling, and then to my Mom and Dad. They surrounded me, calling me daily to make sure I was ok. The one thing I wish I’d done then was find a good therapist to help me unpack all the emotions surrounding chronic illness. More recently, I felt myself sliding that direction again. I didn’t want to go the medication route. My husband and I were barely speaking, it seemed, so I didn’t feel like I could unpack to him without making our situation worse. I didn’t want to admit to my parents how bad things were physically and emotionally. So, I found a therapist.
Even on my first visit with him I wasn’t truly honest. I told him I was suicidal, but my mask hid how I felt so well that I don’t think he really believed me, until the next visit when he reviewed the results of the Beck Depression Inventory he’d had me take. It was fairly obvious then that it was something he couldn’t ignore. I wasn’t at a point where I needed to check myself in, as I hadn’t allowed it to get that far. Instead, I reached out for help early, instead of ignoring the growing problem.
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We are all dealing with something. We just have to stop and ask ourselves 1) What is the problem I’m dealing with? Is it physical? Is it emotional? and 2)Who can I reach out to for help? (a partner? A doctor? A loved one? A therapist?). Be brave. Reach out. Ask for help.
This post is a part of my Sunday Inspiration series. Each Sunday I try to share some bit of inspiration that I received from another blogger. Read more from this series here and sign up for my email updates to make sure that you don’t miss future inspiration.
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