“It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.” -Lena Horne
I am on a mission. A mission to get better, yet its more than that. It’s a passion, a passion for all that is good, whole and beloved to me. As many of you know, I was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2011, however, according to my doctors, I have been chronically depressed almost all my life. The difference now is I am now taking concrete steps to adjust to it.
I say adjust, because I don’t know if there will ever be a cure, or if I will go in remission.. What I know for sure is, today, even though I am “agoraphobically” stuck in this apartment, I am using all the tools under my belt to ride it out.
One of those tools is asking for help! This is a biggy for me, because every single time I ask for help, I get this twinge in my stomach that I am doing something wrong. That maybe, it’s a stupid idea, and that I should try to do it myself.
A single mom of two teenagers, I cannot do it all myself. It is hard to admit, but I can’t. I cannot take out the air conditioner and put the window back in (I’ll break it). I cannot bring in all the bacon… I am just one person. I cannot (at this time) walk to the grocery store by myself… I need a ride. I do not drive, I am not a certified appliance fixer-upper, not a gourmet, nor a dentist.. I can’t sew very well and there are days when getting out the door takes more energy than running a marathon.
So whats left? Community!
One of the most important things when suffering from any illness, whether it is physical or mental, is to have a community around you. However, don’t think the community is going to come to you.. unless you are very lucky, and have good friends, a husband or a wife already, there are a few steps you must take.
In the late 90’s I was in a single parenting group. We were a group of 5 to 6 moms of very young children who met to talk about our achievements and our struggles. To this day, thank God for Facebook, many of us are still in contact. One of those meetings we had a workshop. I remember that day like it was yesterday, well not the day per se, but what the workshop leader said: “In case of emergency and to feel secure, you must have at all times, 5 people in your community who you know you can count on”
5 people? Where am I going to find 5 people?? I don’t even have 5 really good friends (in my neighborhood). I have acquaintances but they are not BFF’s. At that time, I took it upon myself to ask those women to be my “in case of emergency pals” and they did the same. I also had my good friend Caroline and my dad, my mom, and my bro.
Today, I am further away from my family. Although I live close to my best friend, the challenges which stem from my depression, make me feel more isolated than I have ever felt (not always but sometimes). So when those feelings arise, the question is:
Who would be there for when there is an emergency?
Today, I have a list of people I can count on, they offered many times, but my EGO never let me bank on those offers. I am pleased to announce that I am banking on these offers more than ever. I telling my Ego to “go fluff up a gum tree” and asking, asking, asking. What I have learned, is:
Duh?? That hit me like a ball on bolo bat! Did you know that? I knew it, but my shadow didn’t want me to believe it. I mean, I love to help out when I can, and it makes me feel wonderful. Why did I underestimate all those offers for help?
Maybe it’s because I didn’t want to feel like a burden? Do you feel that way sometimes?
The list of offers is quite cool. Here are a few I have received since I started opening up about my illness:
“Just call, if you want a ride to the store, and I am available I will be happy take you.” (this from 3 people)
“Anytime you want to talk, come right on over. We are always here.” (The 4Korners Community Center)
“Just give me a shout, if I’m free we can have a glass of wine together.” (a neighbor)
“If you need food, just call Mr. XX, he will help you.” (The 4Korners Community Center)
These are the things I have received, now that I am taking these offers to heart:
- Trips to the grocery store;
- Trips to the department stores;
- Meals, delivered to my home;
- Money, donations and gift cards;
- An ear to listen;
- A hand to hold;
- Tons of hugs, smiles and laughter;
- A new washer, dryer and fridge (from the community);
- A therapist with help from the local community center;
- Cheerleaders, people to encourage me.;
- Astro readings, card readings, distance Reiki and light work.;
- And.. much much more.
Living with Depression, Anxiety/panic, and agoraphobia can be an isolating experience, even with all this goodness surrounding, however, this goodness reminds me that I am loved, cherished and people want me to do well, not the other way around like I used to think. Remember you are not alone not matter how alone you feel sometimes. Somewhere, someone wants to help, and it may take up all your energy you have left for the day to ask, but ASK.
Never take no for an answer, however, if you are in dire need of help call 911 or The National Hotline here for US residents and here for Canadian Residents. If you are from another Country just Google: Depression Hotline, you will find many.
I am learning to trust again. I am allowing the help to come, and I am open more than ever to receive this help.
If you’re carrying more than you can handle today, choose to let some of it go by letting someone else in. You may feel vulnerable asking for help, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all learned to depend on each other? ~Lori Deschene Tiny buddha