“I tried carrying the weight of the world, but I only have two hands.” ~ Avicii, song lyric from Wake Me Up
It’s hard for me to ask for help. I am the helper. I provide support for others. I fix all the problems, anticipate the needs. When I find myself overwhelmed, confused, unable to handle what is happening, I don’t reach out. I am convinced that I should be able to do everything myself.
Right now my life is difficult. I took on too much at once — a new project at work, a new puppy, a sick dog, and yoga teacher training. At the same time, I am still working with the grief from the loss of Dexter, and even Obi and Kelly before him, as well as deep sadness about other things. I’m also working with a therapist, trying to heal 30+ years of disordered eating, distorted thinking. Because I’m so busy, I haven’t been taking care of my body like it needs. I feel weak and tired, sluggish. I’m convinced I am failing, making a mess of things even though I am trying so hard, doing the best I can.
A few times on Facebook, I requested support. I was asking specifically about raising a puppy, needing to hear from people just how long things would be this hard. I’ve done it three other times, but am suffering from some sort of amnesia about how this works, and keep getting stuck thinking this is how it’s always going to be, that the difficulty will never end. But every time I post about it, ask the question, it seems like people don’t take it seriously and end up either joking with me or offering more general encouragement. This helps, but I am desperate for a timeline. When will this ease up?
So I asked for help directly. Stacy Morrison is an online friend. We’ve never met in person, but follow each others blogs as well as being connected through other social media, and have developed a friendship that way. We have a similar way of seeing the world and are working with similar struggles. She also just so happens to have a six month old puppy, a Lab/Terrier mix, so I knew she would still remember, be able to give me an answer. I reached out.
Her response was immediate, direct and compassionate. What she said didn’t change the specifics of my situation, but I immediately felt better about it. The support she offered made all the difference. And all I’d had to do was ask.
There is no shame in needing help. There is no shame in weakness, illness or sadness or confusion. There is no shame in being overwhelmed and not knowing what to do. We don’t need to hide our broken hearts, our struggle, our suffering. Telling the truth, being vulnerable is how we access the support we need, is how we heal. We can start by admitting we can’t do it all ourselves, that we can’t fix or handle everything that comes our way.
Go ahead, kind and gentle reader. Say it with me: I need help. Can you help me?