Saturday, February 25, 2012

Help from unexpected places

I recently wrote a post in how I mentioned my struggle with depression lately and finally seeking help and having to be comfortable with the fact that it wasn't a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.  

One of the things that I knew I should do but had trouble with was opening up to people. In my other post I even mentioned how I did open up to somebody and it had disastrous results (for me).  Of course that was all that was needed for me to reside even more inside myself.

Then I had a couple people reach out to me and for some reason I responded.  I think part of the reason I responded was the help I received from the therapist.  Oddly enough the other reason I responded was that they reached out at the perfect time..I was at rock bottom.  I had just been told by the therapist that I needed to talk to people and that most people, true friends, would not dismiss what I was saying or blow me off.  Rather they would care about what I was going through and want to help.  What is weird is that a couple of the people who reached out to me and that I responded to were perfect strangers.

Strangers you ask?  Yeah..I know. It doesn't make much sense.  I knew these people via social media but had never had a conversation with them.   I had made a comment that, while I mentioned depression, I had tried to joke about it.  Both of these people saw through that and sent me private messages.

One person I talk to once in awhile now via email and have met with her to run with.  Running with somebody who is there to listen and help is very comforting.  I'll talk about some of the things bothering me and she listens.   A lot of times we don't even talk about whats bothering me. I think she realized that I had gone from running with others every weekend to running by myself since they didn't want to slow their pace and I had no choice. (Ok..and I can't blame them. It's hard to slow down your pace when you don't have to and I can't expect others to change their training just because I have to change mine.)   So just being able to have a social run again really lifted my spirits.  Here was somebody I had never met before, they realized I was going through some stuff, they said hey..I suffer from depression and we're running about the same pace these days, let's hook up.  For that..I'm extremely grateful.

The other stranger that reached out to me actually got a lot, and I do mean a lot, of very lengthy emails from me just bearing my sole. At least that's what I feel like I did.  There was one specific occasion, soon after they reached out to me, where I had been fighting a break down all morning.  Husband left the house to go do something and within an hour I couldn't hold it together any more. I had been in the kitchen baking and I literally just scooted down to the floor and cried for awhile.  It was bad, really bad.  Then I remembered this person and I was grasping at straws so I got up and got on my pc and just sent this person an incredibly long email about the things that caused this.  I think I stopped crying towards the end of typing it.  I sent the email and I sat there for awhile composing myself.  While it was incredibly hard for me to actually send that email and admit things about myself to somebody, things I don't admit to people, I could actually feel myself starting to pull out of this specific break down. Actually getting it out and talking to somebody, even though that talking was an email and there was no response right away, just the act of doing it helped.

Here's the thing.  This person might not have had the answers to all my problems but they replied.  They responded to my emails and they gave me words of encouragement and they made me feel like I wasn't alone and I wasn't going crazy.   They touched on some of the issues I was dealing with and helped me to come to terms with things and help me work through them.  They also encouraged me to continue to open up to them and use them as a sounding board.  See..I usually ended each email by thanking them for listening and apologizing for the length and just venting.  So to have them not only do what they could to help me with my issues but to also put me at ease and let me know it was ok to reach out to them and that they wanted me to.   And you know what?  This person even sent me their telephone number so that if I was having a break down I could call or text and they could help me right then.  That was a huge turning point for me. It's hard to share that kind of info with people, you don't know all the crazies out there.  So we actually started to  "talk" via text a bit.  We are both runners, so when not dealing with my mental issues we started talking about running and supporting each other with that.  Then we found out that we work in the same field and do very similar jobs.   Slowly we've became pretty good friends.  I actually talk to this person almost daily.

In fact, even though I hadn't had issues for almost 4 weeks, I had one really bad day recently. This person realized I wasn't logged into any chat sessions like I usually am and contacted me. I told them that it was a bad day and I just didn't want to talk and they assured me that they were there if I needed it.  So you know what. in the afternoon I checked in and asked if they had time.  We got on chat and I told this person what was going on and it really helped.  They really helped me out and let me know that what was bothering me, which was something that had happened the night before, was not just me being all pregnancy hormonal but my feelings were valid and anybody would have reacted the same way.  I think having the confirmation that I wasn't just crazy and that it wasn't just the hormones causing me to feel the way I was really helped.

Then, lastly, one other person really made an impact. I had made myself invisible on one of the chat sessions I'm usually logged in to because I was doing so bad and couldn't handle just dealing with most people.  When I started to pull out I took myself off of invisible status.  I kid you not, within an hour this person contacted me.  They had been worried because they hadn't seen me online for awhile.  Now, why I didn't open up to this person is beyond me. I actually helped him through some serious issues last year and he really opened up to me.  So I should have known that if I had done the same to him, he would have been there.  So I explained to him that things have been bad and he readily told me that I could talk to him.  I could open up, he wouldn't judge me. He reminded me that he has opened up to me and shared things with me that he hasn't shared with most of his friends.  I've discussed some things with him but still not a whole lot.  Knowing he is there for me, that helps though.  Realizing that he is somebody I can open up to and not be judged, helps a lot.   We actually talk a lot during the week too and he's having some issues with stuff going on in his life that he's talking to me about and I'm helping him with.  What I love, though, is that even though some serious things are going on in his life and I'm helping him with it, not a day (that we talk anyway) goes by that he doesn't ask me how I'm doing and asks me if I'm doing ok.  He makes sure that him getting some help from me was not making my issues worse or that he wasn't putting himself above me.  You know what, that makes a world of difference in my book.  He's going through some major stuff but taking time out to recognize that I might still be having problems and being willing to put his aside to help me if I needed it that day.  That, that's what it's all about folks.

So that's another lengthy post from me where I talk about my problems.  Well, I don't really tell you about my problems, but admit to having them.  It shows, though, that one of the hardest things for me (us) to do, opening up to others, is actually probably the best thing that we can do.  Sometimes it's not going to be your best friend who helps you out but rather somebody you barely know who recognizes that something is wrong and says " don't really know me but I'm hear for you, I want to help."  If you're like me, you might even respond to that because the person doesn't "know" you, they might not even live in your town, and for some reason that seems safe.

So if you take anything away from this, take this.  If you are having a rough time of things and opening up and talking isn't something you normally do, the next person that offers, take them up on it. It might just be the light at the end of the tunnel you've been looking for.  That being said, knowing that I struggle with this too, I want you to know that you are more than welcome to send me an email and I will listen and I will help as best I can without judging you.  I will obviously understand how hard it was for you to do that and you know that I'm "safe" and will understand.  Shoot..I won't even send you a bill. :)


  1. Kris - SO happy to hear you found some good people to be there for you when you're struggling!!

    I'm one of those keep everything inside and don't open up people too - so I know what a big step it can be! This post is great advice and I'm going to keep it in mind next time I'm having a hard time ... I had a very low holiday season this year and opening up to someone would probably have helped ... but I just couldn't - and it probably would have been better for me if I could have just unloaded to someone who would not judge...

    I hope the support system you're building continues to help you!!!

    and I'm obviously not much of a runner (you amaze me!!) ... But I'm always up for a little creative time if you need someone to just listen. Keep me in mind - especially after little girl comes ... if you need someone to listen and are not ready to get out running yet...

    1. Thanks Julie! The holiday season is always hard for me too. I actually had a bit of a rough weekend and am happy that I did reach out to somebody and just unload what was on my mind. Within a couple of hours I felt better already, even though they hadn't replied yet. Of course they have replied and that helped even more. It just helps to know somebody is there for you.

      And thank you! I will probably go nuts after little girl arrives. I might have to get you out to the house and we can unload on each other while pretending to stamp. haha I plan to do a scrapbook that is her first 52 weeks, taking at least one picture each week (like every Sat. or something) to document how much she changes. So maybe we need to set up a time to get together anyway..I've been really lazy about doing any stamping or scrapbooking and will need the encouragement.

      And of course please do feel free to contact me! No judging on my end..I promise. :)

    2. Better late than never to reply :) ... I never get enough computer time to browse my blogs lately!! :)

      A 52 week scrapbook sounds like a TON of fun!!!! Just shoot me an e-mail or give me a call if you want to get together - before or after baby girl comes .... You know I love to "pretend" to stamp.... I also have my once a month Crop nights that you're welcome to come to - we do a lot of unloading there :) ... it's more therapy than cropping most times .... And it's a very baby friendly environment ... so you can even bring baby girl with you to crop when you're ready for that!

    3. Hope this isn't a double post - my computer is being strange....

      Better late than never on my reply... I just don't seem to get enough time online to browse my blogs lately. A 52 week scrapbook sounds like a LOT of fun!!! Just shoot me an e-mail if you want to get together before or after baby girl gets here .... And you're always welcome to stop in at my monthly crop if you want ... we do a lot of unloading there - sometimes it's more therapy than scrapbooking :) but we have fun!!! And it's very baby friendly there ... so you're welcome to bring Baby Girl along with you after she comes when you're ready for that ..... My arms are always ready to occupy a baby so Mom can get some scrapbooking done!!

      Hope things are going smoothly for you for your last couple of months ..

  2. Julie - I know what you mean! I'm so behind in reading blogs. I'll def. keep this in mind once baby girl arrives and I'm ready to be social and get some work done on her album!