We all need it. We can be strong for so much. We can endure and persevere and withstand so much. Life is stressful. Life has challenges and trials and demands. Life can be traumatic, whether that is emotionally, physically or a combination of both. With a medical condition, all of that can be heightened. Maybe we can work through it. Maybe we can tolerate and survive. Then something happens that just tips the scale, and suddenly our balance is off. Suddenly the things that were bearable become unbearable. Little things that we could have previously just brushed off trigger a downward spiral.
Even within that, we all have days that are amazing. So we have a fantastic day and we think to ourselves “I can do this. I am getting back on track. I am stronger than this momentary unhappiness”. And sometimes, it is literally just for that moment. Once the scale is swinging, it may go up sometimes but it may go down hard again. Everyone has a different scale. It is based on experiences, circumstances, history, health and a whole slew of other factors. Sometimes the scale can be tipped by the weather or other external influences.
Last month, the barista at Starbucks remembered my order, because I order the same thing all the time. Just simply the barista saying “the regular?” because she remembered resulted in a flood of tears. Good tears, but at the same time, that shouldn’t have resulted in the downpour that it did.
I will acknowledge that it is something that can be difficult to ask for, to admit that we need, to “inconvenience” others with a favour. I am more than a little apprehensive when asking people for help with transportation needs despite that the reason I don’t drive is out of my control. I’m more likely to pay for a taxi home from a hospital following a seizure than bother people.
With all the things that life can offer us, or throw at us, support is SO important. When things come along that are beyond our means, AND THESE THINGS WILL COME ALONG, we need to be willing and open to support. We do our friends and family a disservice by not reaching out. Someone asked me if I would be there if someone I knew needed support. My answer was a resounding and emphatic “yes”. The next comment was asking why I would think that they don’t feel the same. It led to me asking myself how I would feel if I knew that a friend needed support and didn’t ask. How would I feel if someone I cared about was hurting and I did nothing because I didn’t know? Because they felt they would be inconveniencing me and didn’t ask?
I personally would feel terrible.
Support can be transportation. It can assistance getting groceries, going to the pharmacy, to the airport, or to the mall. It may be getting coffee/tea/beer and talking. It may be going to a movie. It may be sitting on a couch and playing video games. There are so many different ways that people can support each other. It can involve words, it can be complete silence.
The opposite choice from asking for support is living in isolation. Unlike asking for support, isolation is easy. Isolation is super easy. Get home, eat, shower, binge watch Netflix, sleep. Eventually some of those things may drop off. Eating. Showering. Even keeping up to the latest episodes of the Walking Dead. Then all of a sudden, all we do is work and sleep. Whether we love our jobs or not, only working and sleeping is not a healthy and happy way to live.
I’m not trying to say that we need to only ask for support to make sure other people feel good. I just mean that we do our friends a disfavour by not trusting them to be there. Like I mentioned, it doesn’t need to be talking. Not everyone is verbose. To say though “hey, I need to get out tonight/this weekend/this week, do you want to go see a movie?” can be enough.
I recently needed a friend to kick me in the backside to get running. I have a marathon in a number of weeks and I’ve been slacking on my long distance training. It was easier though to come home from work, nap, shower, watch Netflix and sleep. It took me reaching out for support and they told me to go for a run. They didn’t let up until I put on my sneakers and proved that I was running. Since then, I’ve been running. It was what I needed. I’m glad I reached out.