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We All Need Somebody To Lean On

a man sits on a rock staring across a lake at dusk

Too many people are suffering in silence. We are in crisis. Is anyone paying attention? 

I have prepared myself professionally to be able to reach out to others offering encouragement, hope, possible solutions and remedies–lofting a life raft so to speak. Unfortunately, many people hesitate to send the SOS, if indeed they signal for help at all. Why not hit the “I need help” alertespecially if going down for the third time or the abandon ship alarm is inevitable? Both situations and feelings can be obstacles to seeking and finding needed support. 

Trauma…secrecy…aloneness…powerlessness…helplessness…as well as feelings of unworthiness and inferiority feed decisions to handle things on your own. Further complicating matters are all-consuming feelings that no one understands and that even those qualified to help are not really able to provide useful solutions to your particular situation. It’s a false belief that no satisfactory answers can be found and the problem has reached an endpoint where the damage is beyond repair. Besides, people have their own problems to deal with, right? And, there is the absolute fear of what others may think–that you will be exposed as weak and incompetent and that you will suffer the embarrassment and shame if others perceive you as emotionally unstable. What’s more, this thinking is often accompanied by the worry that seeking help will only make matters worse. 

These are the types of responses I hear all too often when asking clients to consider reaching out to their support systems or asking for help. Don’t suffer in silence. Believe me, it’s a perception versus reality thing. People all too readily assume they have no one to reach out to, leading to the perception that they are alone when in fact they may be surrounded by people who care. Media, particularly social media these days, can also negatively contribute to all kinds of misperceptions. It seems everyone is comparing themselves to the next person, consuming all kinds of false realities and false narratives of perfection that are the breeding ground for insecurity and notions that you are somehow broken and the only person who is not living their best life. One thing is clear, people ARE NOT ok and, seriously, why should they be? Anyone beating themselves up for their suffering should know it makes sense–it’s understandable–it’s more or less a part of the human journey. None of us are perfect and therefore united, whether we admit it or not, in our imperfections. So, understand that there is strength in admitting that you have a problem; and, that it is courageous, not weak, to speak truth to your circumstances and to aggressively seek help from others. There is always the possibility that your situation can be remedied. 

Too many people are taking their lives because they see no light at the end of the tunnel. They don’t believe help exists anywhere or with anyone. Ending life becomes the only answer. But I want to believe there is always another option. Each new day presents opportunities for change and renewal. I want to push for hope. I want to implore people to share, not hide, their pain. It’s popular these days to say: “check on your strong friends.” But I would like to challenge us all to check on ALL of those around us. Let’s all care more and be more aware of others. If you don’t understand mental illness, educate yourself. And, even if you don’t have a circle of friends, a family, or a community, there are countless professionals like me who are trained, poised, ready and willing to offer their services. Don’t brush it off, don’t ignore it, don’t be afraid or ashamed, Be courageous. PLEASE GET HELP! Let’s all be somebody to lean on. Perfection is unattainable but peace, happiness, and a sense of self-worth is!! Don’t Suffer In Silence! 

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