Sam here. I've been quiet the past few weeks here, and I'm going to call myself out on this for your sake.
I'll be honest. I had a few family crisis come up that took priority over this for the time being. And I'm thankful that I can rearrange my schedule so I can be there for my family. Not everyone can do that, so for that I am grateful.
What I'm really proud of myself for doing was reaching out to friends for help, even if I didn't know what kind of help I needed. It's something I like to think many of my clients have learned to do better during my sessions. Why is it important to reach out?
1. You Let Yourself Tell a Story That's Not True.
It's too easy to tell yourself a story that's not true about you and your family when you isolate yourself. You only get one perspective, which as you're in the trenches of your own crap can be really warped. That story can get worse and worse as you tell yourself that you're not worthy of having nice things, that you're actually secretly terrible, that you can't have a normal life without problems because you're the problem, and many other host of stories that might not be true. It's really hard to come out of this. And when you're in this mindset...
2. Your Friends Don't Know How to Interact with You.
Assuming you have caring friends that care about you a lot when you're healthy and not dealing with problems, your friends may not be sure what to do or say. This is okay, but if they know you're going through something but you won't reach out for help or say anything about it they get uncomfortable broaching the subject because they're worried they may do more harm than good. Assuming you have friends that ghost at the first sign of trouble but come back when you're ready to party, then this situation didn't make them be less supportive of you. They were probably unsupportive in the first place. But either way, you can't tell yourself that your friends are unsupportive if you don't give them the chance to attempt to be supportive.
3. The Healing Process Takes Longer.
#1 and #2 tend to cycle into a pretty terrible path of what seems like self-validating harmful beliefs. When your friends don't know how to be supportive of you while you go through something you're not telling them about, you're feeding into the belief that they're unsupportive that you might be a terrible person or somehow worthy of constantly having problems. This introduction of harmful beliefs makes the already-difficult process of healing from your situation even harder as more self-damage is happening.
So now that you know it's good to reach out, how do you do it?
1. Start with one person. Who can you talk to that you're certain will encourage you? They don't have to live close, but they have to be willing to help.
2. If you're not sure what you need, start with saying that and then ask them to listen to what you're going through. Keep in mind that they also have their own host of things going on and this may be the only thing they're able to do.
3. Evaluate as you talk how you feel after telling them, and if you feel you need it ask if they have suggestions for things to do or other people to talk to. They may know you about as well as you do, so they may have thought of people you haven't thought of.
4. Try sharing a meal with them. This alone can save you quite a bit. It's hard to remember to eat when you're in trouble.
5. And of course, my shameless plug: consider a professional snuggler to work with. We're trained to not internalize what it is that you're going through as our personal problems, and we can give you physical comfort if that is what you want. If it is not, that is okay too. We can simply be there for you. If this is where you are right now, I serve the New England area (NH, MA, CT and RI) and Amy serves the NYC area (surrounding Astoria).
I'm happy to report that I'm doing much better after reaching out to many individuals that offered to help in specific ways, and I recently attended the World Domination Summit in Portland Oregon to recharge completely.
Take Care, and thank you community for being supportive of me when I'm dealing with my own stuff. You know who you are because I reached out to you <3