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We are out there

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

It has taken me quite deliberation to actually put this post up and out there for everyone to read. I have composed this in my head dozens of different times over the last few weeks, only to not put the words on my computer. As I type this now, I'm still convinced it will only be a Draft Post for now, and not one that I will publish. Yet.

Can I ask you a question? If your friend has a broken leg, would you help them carry groceries into the car or help them around the house? If your friend has lost a loved one, would you take them a meal or sit with them for a late night chat? If your friend has a sick child at home and needed someone to grab something from the store, would you rush out to grab it for them? Did you answer Yes to any of these? These are questions that might be easier for some people to answer, sure. But the next questions may not be so easier for you to answer Yes to.

If your friend needs someone from 'the village' to pick up some slack because they have had a hard day, would you be there to answer the phone? If your friend hasn't called you or texted you in days/weeks/months, would you take the initiative to call or text them instead? Would you extend an invitation for coffee, or even a walk to the park with the kids, to a friend who you haven't heard in a while? Would you be willing to put yourself aside for a few moments to put yourself in someone else's shoes?

Everyone has struggles and every family dynamic is unique. Many families struggle daily with regular, routine tasks like making dinner, doing laundry, getting ready for the next day. Some families just hide it better than others. This is just a visual representation of my own mind and life- my kitchen microwave. On the outside, it looks very nice, new, clean and fresh. But once you open the door, inside you will find chaos. It's filled with garbage, old food splatter and needs a good clean. It's not something nice to look at. And often, you will want to close the door quickly and forget about what is inside.

This is my mind and my life currently. On the outside, it looks great, fresh, sparkly and everyone likes to look at it. If you peer inside my mind and my life, you will see chaos, full of garbage thoughts, negative emotions and anxiety. You will not want to spend any amount of time in there, looking at the garbage, feeling overwhelmed at the chaos and needing to run away from it.

Every time you open the microwave you feel bad. It makes you cringe at how dirty and how much time and energy is needed in order to clean it properly.

May is Mental Health Month in North America and every year I see all sorts of social media posts from people about how 'their door is always open' and 'coffee is always on'. I cringe to myself when people post things like 'I am there for you' and 'Call me anytime day or night'. I'm here to tell you that many of us cringe and turn away when we see these. Not because of what you are saying, most of you are pretty genuine people and I'm sure you would help (in a crisis), but because more often then not many of us aren't in that 'crisis mode' but rather just stuck in that slow quicksand mentally exhausting, drowning feeling every single day.

I'm here to tell you that more often than not we HAVE asked for help in the past and either been side-stepped, ignored or shutdown because the task we are asking for help with seems very minimal to you and not a crisis situation. Or maybe you don't even realize how desperate we are to have someone even initiate help or offer their time for us. Maybe because you are stronger, you have more help yourself or are distracted by your own personal crisis. We don't know. All we know is that we've asked and we did not get help.

I'm here to tell you that for people like us to even ASK for help is a HUGE step and it's not something that we can do every day or in a spur of the moment. For us to ask for help means days/weeks/months of us deliberating on the possible consequences and have imagined every single scenario that could possibly come out of the situation. We have analyzed how to ask, who to ask and when to ask to try and make it absolutely perfect, because heaven-forbid we mess it up.

Anxiety does a multitude of things. It makes you overthink everything. EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING IN YOUR LIFE. Anxiety makes you think AND BELIEVE that you cannot trust anyone. People who are nice to you are just doing it either because they have to, or they are pretending to be your friend, or they have ulterior motives and are only being nice to you for their own personal reasons. Anxiety makes you believe that you are a burden when you ask for help. That you aren't worthy of someone spending their time with you or to do things for you.

So we don't ask for help. Because we think people won't help. Because we think people don't care. Because we think people don't like us enough to help us. We are afraid. And we struggle in silence. Until it gets worse and worse. And our mind and world becomes chaos that only we can see. And others that are in our close inner-circle. And even then, sometimes we hide it from those closest to us. Because we are ashamed. Ashamed we can't do it. Ashamed that we let it get this far. Ashamed that we can't fix it on our own.

And after all this is said and done, I finally cleaned out my microwave. By myself. Which is satisfying, but also very sad. Because I couldn't ask anyone else to help clean it out. And the people who have seen it, didn't take the initiative to clean it for me. So my metaphor stands true again, I had to do it myself instead of asking someone to help.

Can I ask you a question? Will you help someone clean out their microwave when they need it?

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