How are you guys doing? How are you holding up? Are you doing OK? Is everyone ready to go back outdoors? How about those of you who battle anxiety in the depression? How are you? Are you practicing some self care strategies? Staying away from the things that can upset you?
It can be tough and my heart goes out to you. I wanted to reach out and remind you that if you're finding it hard to keep yourself from going into those dark places in your mind, and you start experiencing that dreaded lonely feeling, it might be time to call a friend or loved one.
Please allow me to make this suggestion. Call your friend, or loved one, using a video chat, where you can see them and they can see you. In my experience, face to face conversations are very therapeutic. There are several phone applications available that are free and easy to use. Facebook, Google, Skype, and Zoom are
all great ways of getting in touch using your camera phone.
When these feelings come about, it’s important to be mindful of another common trap. The one called “Burden.” Specifically, the thoughts that can pop into your mind that say, “I don't wanna be a burden to someone,” or “I don't want someone I care for to have to carry the burden of my problems, too.” And, it's understandable to think that way, it really is, except that if you struggle with mental illness, you could be causing more harm than good.
The deeper we fall into the dark places of our mind, the more likely we are to try and isolate ourselves from the world. We feel like we should be able to “fix” ourselves because “that’s what we’re supposed to do,” because “that’s what’s normal.” But it’s a trap.
Because, 1) YOU’RE NOT BROKEN, and 2) THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS “NORMAL.”
Sadness, coupled with not wanting help should be a clue that, in fact, it’s time to seek out some help.
And you know what? It’s OK to get help. To reach out to a friend, a loved one, a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist and say, “Would you mind sitting with me awhile and listen to how I’m feeling.” “Listen to the kind of thoughts that I’m having right now.” And, yes, opening yourself up to be vulnerable in that way can be scary, but for the sake of your mental health, it’s important you give it a shot.
Trust me. Try that video call. I bet you feel a whole lot better. It’s very therapeutic.
Before I conclude, I want to quickly share self-talk exercise I’ve suggested before to others who deal with these same issues. It requires a little imagination, but not much.
I want you to imagine someone you care for immensely. It could be your mom, your dad, sibling, aunt, uncle, best friend, or spouse. Anyone of those people will do, but picture them in your mind.
Imagine that the two of you are having a conversation, then suddenly, the expression on their face changes, and they tell you they need help.
Then they say things like, “I really don’t feel like I deserve the things I have.” “I don’t feel like I deserve to be happy.” “I am ugly.” “I am stupid.”
What would you say to help them to feel better? Would you try to convince them that they are loved? That you love them? That they are important? That they are beautiful?
My guess is that you would do what most any person would, which is to jump at the chance to fill that person with so much love, there’s not a chance in hell they would ever feel that way again. Because they're important to you.
Write down on a piece of paper all the things you came up with to tell that loved one in that imaginary conversation. Remember, they felt broken, alone, and unloved. Now fold up the paper and put it in your pocket, purse, or bag. Don’t ever throw it away.
When you begin to experience the dark thoughts that enter your own mind, take that sheet of paper out, unfold it, find a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and begin reading.
Because, you deserve to know that you are loved, you are not alone, you are beautiful, and all the other great things you came up with to tell a loved one. Because the same words you use with a loved one, are the words you should be using for yourself. Your closest loved one. The one inside you.
It’s not selfish. It’s not childish. And it’s not stupid for you to do this for yourself. Especially if it snaps you out of a funk long enough for you to pick up a phone and reach out for help.
We’re going to get through this, friends and family. It’s going to be ok, you’ll see. But if you find yourself having trouble, please, please, please, ask for help.
You’re not alone. You’re doing great! And you are loved.