There are times in life when I can’t handle everything by myself.
I like to do everything. I am an accidental know-it-all, an I-don’t-need-your-help, can-handle-it-myself kind of a person. I don’t like to ask for help. I’d rather do it all. Whatever “it all” happens to be.
And so, as you can imagine, nursing school is teaching me about more than just the pathophysiolgy of a hundred million disease processes. It’s also teaching me humility. It’s teaching me how to eat my words. It’s teaching me how to be wrong, and how to be wrong OFTEN. And now, it’s teaching me now to ask for help.
On Wednesday, I had to ask for help. I had a bad day on Wednesday. I don’t mean the kind of bad day that I had before I acquired this depression. I mean I had a bad day.
I found myself on my bed, alone in the house, crying. Really, really crying. All of these thoughts started to swirl around in my head, and I recognized all of these emotions as familiar inhabitants of my mind from the past year. Failure, my greatest enemy, always shows up during these moments. If I wasn’t feeling like a failure already for something that happened (a bad test grade, a personal goal not met, a workout missed, etc.), I tend to get to the failure feelings pretty quickly. Because in Emotional Sarah’s world (as opposed to Rational Sarah’s world), it’s a failure for me to be feeling those feelings.
See what a dangerous place that is? Where your feelings make you a failure and your worst enemy is failure and so when you have feelings you’re a failure and that makes you have more feelings and yeah. That’s usually about the point where I decide to take a nap.
Sleeping, as my first (and only good) therapist told me, is the best way to totally reset your emotions and adrenaline spirals. Any time I started to feel “all spirally” she told me to take a nap. It’s still my number one self-initiated treatment. It works (provided that you can get to sleep).
Just before I feel asleep, I sent Sarah1 a text message. She’s been one of my rocks through this whole depression battle. She has a background in counseling and working with crazy people, so I’m right up her alley. I told her that things were bad, and I was losing control and that I needed her to pray for me or do something. Anything. Then I cried harder. Crying harder always kills the last -enth of whatever energy I have left, and ends with sleeping. I always appreciate the sleeping.
That night, my mother-in-law called me. Sarah1 had passed along the information I’d sent her, knowing that Paula would want to know, and that I would gladly tell her. Paula called me that night and asked me what she should do. She asked if I had been eating, which I hadn’t. She then asked if she could bring me dinner. I, despite everything inside me railing against it, said yes.
The next day, Sarah brought dinner to the house for Zack and me. And on Saturday, Paula showed up with her arms full of groceries. She made dinner for that night, and prepped dinner for several more, shoved it all in the fridge, and wrote out instructions about how long to cook each dish. She washed my dishes and cleaned my kitchen. I sat in the office, just like I had all day, and studied.
So, I ate three meals today for the first time in who-knows-how-long, because I have a family who cares for me, and because I let someone help me. Yesterday, as Paula was cooking in my kitchen, Emotional Sarah felt weak, embarrassed and burdensome because someone had to come do things for me that I know how to do. Things that I should be able to do. But Rational Sarah is beyond happy that she has been blessed with the kind of family who loves me in the kind of way that my family loves me. The kind of family who will come wash your dishes and put a meatloaf in your fridge, just to make the load a little lighter.