I did something today I don’t usually do. I reached out for help. Out in public, I sent out a plea telling the world I was struggling and needed some support.
This is what I said:
Friends…. I’m having a difficult time today. I need some love, support, and a hug. Thanks.
I felt like I was drowning, and I needed a life line.
I was thrown not only a life jacket, but a rowboat was sent out and I was lifted up and carried past the rough waters. Immediately, I was inundated with messages and comments sending love and letting me know I wasn’t alone, people were there for me. I wasn’t alone and I was okay.
Today, I had a flashback to the days when Ally was so very mentally ill and every single day was a struggle. She’s been ill with a stomach thing for a while and while she is OKAY AND NOT IN A BAD PLACE AT ALL. She is fine and not one bit of today was her fault. She was feeling really poorly physically this morning, and just the way she said “I don’t feel good!” had the years rushing backwards to a time when I would sit in my room screaming into a pillow sobbing breathlessly with despair. It was something we heard over and over when she was being bullied and fought us going anywhere. I was overwhelmed with all the feelings, the horror, the sorrow, the guilt, everything, and yet, everything was really okay- it was just ME that wasn’t. I honestly think that parent who live through horrific things with their kids, like us with Ally’s suicide attempt and recovery, can sometimes have a type of PTSD effect. It can come out of nowhere, but it’s real, and terrifying.
That’s the beast that is mental illness. You can go on for years doing perfectly fine then WHAM! A little anxiety attack comes along and sends you spiraling into a place you never want to be again. I didn’t want to be there, and I didn’t need to be there, so I called out for help. I knew that I’d be okay, I just needed some reassurance.
I got it. I reached out to my tribe, and they didn’t disappoint me. I didn’t call my husband right away because I knew the moment I heard his voice I’d lose it. I texted him that I was okay, and that I’d call him later. When I did talk to him, he totally got it and he was what I needed. After my tribe and my husband, I was anchored.
Some people say that I shouldn’t share these moments, but I honestly think that sharing not only helps me, but helps other people who might not reach out when they need help. Reaching out didn’t make me weak, I feel it made me stronger. After making sure Ally was ok at work, (she was ok for while and got someone to come in an cover her shift) a class with some amazing youngster, all the assurance from my friends, I am fine.
I am fine.
I am surrounded by wonderful people that I can count on and that are willing to hold me up when I need them. I am so appreciative of them. The very best way I can thank them is to be there for them, if and when they need me, and to share real stories of mental illness so that it helps end the stigma. This story, our story, is not always nice and sweet, sometimes it awful and sad, but it’s always real. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to help. Together, we are rewriting the story of mental illness so that it’s just that, a story.