For whatever reason, I have several friends who are struggling. Friends I’ve known for decades, others just a few years, but I’ll tell you this… there’s nothing to me like feeling helpless to help them. I’m pondering what to do and if I can help at all.
I guess the woman in me is actually a fixer and I want to know what to say to be able to give some kind of loving advice that would ease the pain that they are in.
One friend is battling some mental issues which I’ve definitely struggled with before. A mind is an amazing tool that can really lead you out of the woods but the truth is is that you could also go down a rabbit hole and see things as way worse than they are. I have had times where I am making stuff up in my own head. People are talking about me, I’m going to get fired, my kids are going to get swiped by some sicko, maybe my Dad’s cancer will come back.
Just worry, after worry, after worry.
I don’t know if it’s hormonal changes or just sometimes the mind goes through times when it’s not functioning in the best interest of the human it serves. I go through times when it’s not that easy to be me and it is all my brain’s fault.
After baby number five, I had postpartum so badly. One of my girlfriends actually texted my other girlfriend who is my doctor to get me on meds. I just got crazy feelings all the time and I know I had no reason to feel so physically insecure. Riding in the car was horrible for me. I was on the corner of the street trying to cross at the light after I had my baby and I was too afraid because cars …. and speed…. and the speed of the world just were too much for me at the time. I stood there through ten or more light cycles and the longer I stood there the crazier I felt.
I thought about actually calling my husband to have him come and get me. He’s like my safety net. But sometimes I use him as a last resort. It’s embarrassing to not have the guts to cross the street. “What is wrong with me?” I would ask. I didn’t want to worry him. I thought about the fact that he wouldn’t make me feel like an idiot, but that he would be even more worried about me and that propelled me into action, and I got across. Sometimes knowing that if you needed that safety-net to call he or she would be there. It is what actually got me through my crisis on my own.
I remember other times in my life when I was just feeling depressed or down or overwhelmed and just being paralyzed with fear. And sometimes the worst enemy is that process. I would sit around the house in my misery and overeat (classic shit habit) and overthink and not get the things I need to get taken care of accomplished. That makes my problems pile up and I end up in an even worse situation than I was before.
It’s always been my experience that the best thing to do is take a breath I get down to it doing one thing at a time.
Sometimes in life, I found myself being able to handle multiple tasks in a day with ease and on other days I have to tell myself, “what are the next three things I need to get done?” I prioritize and I get those done. It sounds silly but literally sometimes before I go to work, this is the conversation I have in my head. “OK, what are my three things?” And I say to myself “1. brush your teeth 2. your deodorant 3. wash my face.” The action of doing just the stupid mundane things sometimes is all I need to propel myself into becoming more productive and getting over myself. Action breeds more action.
But then, on a really hard day, I just take it one single item at a time.
And on a really bad day when I’m not going to ruin anyone else’s day by doing it, sometimes I’ll just hang up a day and go to bed 🙂
So what can I do for these friends? Their problems are vast and varied and I am not God, I am just a woman. In the grand scheme of things, there’s not much I can do for a herniated disc, depression, hormonal imbalances and I sure can’t solve problems in anyone’s marriage. (I know this because I tried to fix my own failing marriage for 16 years! 🙂
I know when I’m struggling, I like it when people check on me and let me know they are thinking of me. Even if my friends or family members or spouse or kids have no solution for me, I just want to know that someone gives a crap about me. I want to know that I’m not alone in this world. So sometimes the best solution is just to have someone who will physically sit there with me on the couch. Hold my hand while we watch a funny movie. Listen to me, tell me that they love me, and surround me with their presence.
I checked in with all three of my friends that are struggling. I couldn’t think of anything I could do so I cut some roses out of my front yard and I put them in some old jars I’ve been saving. Slapped some ribbon on them and put them on their porches. I wrote a card that said that they are loved. ?