Why is asking for help so difficult? I’m trying to be better at it but it’s always so much easier to turn conversation around to whoever you’re speaking to. To listen to their woes, help them unravel their disordered thoughts, and offer comfort and love.
So why do we leave ourselves out in the cold? This is self love, the intermediate level. If we can show ourselves kindness – via the medium of bubble bath and establishing boundaries (whatever self love looks like to us) – then why can’t we work up to the next level? Being honest about the shitty times.
I realised this yesterday when I told a close friend over (virtual) lunch about my depression napping. He was surprised I’d been in such a dark place for over a month (we talk most days) and of course said all the things I’d expect him to because he’s a gorgeous supportive pal. But that was never in doubt, the fear isn’t that I won’t get the help I need if I ask for it – it’s something else and that’s what I’m working through in this post.
As I type this I feel like it could be construed as “Woe is me, I suffer alone while I carry everyone else’s troubles on my shoulders” but that’s not how it is. I have a fucking fantastic support network with friends who support me as much as I support them. I choose well these days. It’s just fear, the fear of stripping down to my emotional birthday suit – and showing literally everything I’ve got. Flaps and all.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard myself loudly claiming to be an open book. I do (over)share a lot but I think it’s more I want to be an open book, with nothing to hide. There are sides of me I’m only coming to terms with myself now, and it’s hard to share them with loved ones, let alone the outside world.
The thing is, it’s not always a conscious decision to hold back and I know I’m not the only person who does it. How many times do we slap on the default happy face so as not to worry the ones we love? Maybe it’s being afraid to burden them. Or we think our worries are lesser that other peoples, even though they’re all valid and relative.
I think I still feel embarrassed talking about myself. Even in safe spaces, if the conversation is on the more serious side and I’m called upon to be open, I stumble. My train of thought goes rogue and I’m all over the place. This is why I think I’m so much better on the page – I can edit before those thoughts go live.
And, let’s not pretend the stigma surrounding mental health isn’t still alive and well. We see it every day. We’re doing better overall but we need to normalise chats about the bad times, medication and ‘unattractive’ spirals.
I’m also working on that old chestnut self-deprecation, the anxious girl’s self-defence mechanism (most people’s defence mechanism, really). I vowed not to make fun of myself any more after I saw Nanette but it’s harder than I thought to let that go completely. I also find myself caveating quite a bit with a sort of “It’s not like, real mental health issues” when I talk about anxiety and depression. Like, girl, it is what it is – you don’t have to play it down.
Again, this post is all over the place because yet again I’m wondering if I should be talking about this, even here – in My Space (not, MySpace – although who’s ready for a resurrection?!). But the bottom line is, I’ve started so I’ll finish.
This is me – dark thoughts and all, bitches and I’m going to do real work this year to get better at being honest and letting people know when I’m floundering.