Help - I need somebody
Help - not just anybody
Help - you know I need someone
I have never been one to admit I might need some help, let alone reach out and actually ask for it. I've written before about my fierce independence from a very early age (here), and how it eventually dawned on me that community was God's idea and plan for us all in the first place.
That was before this depression reared it's ugly head - or at least before I acknowledged it as such. I'm now finding myself in very unfamiliar and unwelcome territory. I need help.
I don't want to need help. I very badly want to be able to "get through this" on my own. I've tried to convince myself that with enough prayer, enough soul-searching, enough self-care and positive thinking, that I can deal with it. Alas, it's becoming clear to me that my own efforts are insufficient.
I think there are several issues that are contributing to this feeling, and I wanted to sort through them so that I might better understand. The reason I'm thinking about this today is because my husband asked me this morning (carefully, gently, kindly, with much fear and trembling) how he could help me through this.
My husband is an amazing man. His whole life has been full of challenges and injustices and difficulties. He allowed all that to shape him and enslave him for a long time. But in the last several years, that has changed dramatically - he has changed. Now, when a new or buried issue surfaces, he doesn't waste any time. He looks at it honestly, faces it head on and BOOM! - kicks it to the curb.
I admire that so much. However, I have a sense that this process won't be so straightforward. I have to put it in motion by actually wanting help. As I explained it to him, I'm only at the point where I want to want help (which isn't much, but it's better than nothing).
There are various elements involved here. Pride, fear, shame, embarrassment, guilt, denial, a desire for independence and self-sufficiency, an aversion to self-revelation and a deeply-ingrained sense of being undeserving of such attention and aid all play a role in my reluctance to seek the assistance and guidance I know I need.
The laziness I've struggled with my whole life is also hindering me here. There are so many times when I just don't want to do the hard work of self-discovery and self-care and accountability and growth. I don't want any more soul stretching - it hurts. I want to avoid the hard conversations. Sometimes, I just want things to stay the way they are - I want to be content in my weaknesses and issues, and keep pretending that everything's okay.
But everything's not okay. And my struggles are not only hurting me, but the people closest to me, as well. I feel a little more willing to reach out for help for their sake rather than my own.
Underneath it all is my overwhelming fear of failure and disappointing people. It sounds so ridiculous when I write it out - I'm afraid I'll fail at recovery, or healing, or whatever the eventual goal in all this might be. I'm terrified to reach out and receive support, only to let down those who are supporting me. I'm fearful that I won't "get better" and that my support network will throw up it's collective hands and give up on me if I'm not "coming along" as desired or expected.
So really, what I'm looking for is unconditional love. Which I know can only be found in God. No one else can ever achieve it perfectly. And I've already practically rejected my not-yet-assembled mental health team because they won't be able to love me like God does. Yeah, that sounds pretty ridiculous, too.
I know I can depend on God for that kind of love. But I also know that He's providing me with people who care about me enough to journey alongside me - to help and to guide, to encourage and to challenge, to bring healing and life and renewed hope. I'm so thankful for those who've already reached out to me, offering support and care and advice and grace. I'm praying for the courage to dare to take the necessary next steps.
Thanks be to God that we never walk alone.