What is it about asking for help that makes it so hard? Fear of judgment? Perhaps. Worry about rejection? Sometimes. Laziness? Possibly. Feeling hopeless? It can be. Whatever the reason, many of us are held back by reaching out when we need it most. Personally, I am always afraid to reach out for help because of being burned in the past by that action. Anyone who has loved an addict knows how that is. When you reach out for help, all of those things I listed above can come into play. People may get uncomfortable around you, they may judge you, they may reject you, or they may try to avoid you. So why even bother? Well there’s a simple answer to that…because you’re worth it.
~One of my subscribers asked for a post about recovering from scars left by someone’s addiction years later at an older age. As a “youngster” myself, I wasn’t sure I would be able to rise to the occasion. After talking with a few relatives and older friends, I am going to give it a shot. I’d love to hear any feedback!~
If you were raised by an alcoholic or an addict, that’s not something you just “get over”. Sure trauma affects everyone differently but its usually something you don’t forget. Those scars are usually deeper than we may realize. Having addiction in the family affects how we grow up, it affects our outlook on life, it affects our adult relationships, and it’s something we will always carry with us. That can be an incredible burden…a heavy, stupid, ugly burden. BUT It can also be an incredible gift to use to relate to others who are suffering.
I have selfishly held onto my own pain from my parents’ drinking for years. After being burned so many times after reaching out for help, I stopped reaching. I was tired of therapy. I was tired of meetings. I was tired of judgment from others who didn’t understand. I was just tired. My mom and dad weren’t changing. Why should I? I could have just stayed as I was and let my anxiety continue to consume me. That might have even been the easier route. By easier, I mean more familiar. I could stay in my comfort zone, which ironically was discomfort. I reached a breaking point though.
I was standing in line at the grocery store with one item in my hand, my go-to for anxiety, Tums. Anytime I was on my way to my parents, I made sure I had enough to get me through the weekend/visit. As I sat there holding staring at my safety blanket, these colorful tablets that helped ease my anxious stomach, I felt really sad. What was going to happen when I needed 5-6 Tums to settle me down? I might as well buy stock from Tums because my parents were always going to have their problems and I was always going to be somewhat affected by it. I could keep eating my Tums. I decided against it though and put the Tums back and left the store. I went to my parents house that night and dealt with whatever shenanigans were happening at that time. The next morning I woke up and decided to take a more vulnerable route. I was drowning in the anxiety and I needed a way to reach out. I decided to start this blog.
I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to read it and I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to relate but I was sure that I needed to let go of my pain. I started sharing my story. I started talking to others who have been through similar upbringings. It was a slow start but with each comment, with each email, and with each share on Facebook, I learned the old phrase was true, misery does love company. My readers and my followers reached out and shared that they had been there. People said they knew my pain. They told me they appreciated my storytelling. People said they were feeling stuck too and it was nice to know someone else was like that as well. Strangers on the internet gave me more hope than I had felt in years. I wasn’t alone. I think the most amazing part about this is that I don’t get credit for it. My close friends and family are not aware of my writing. It is something I am happily and selfishly doing just for myself.
When you have been fighting for years and you are tired of fighting, it seems like the best option might be to give up. You have more days behind you than you do ahead of you so why not just wade it out? I will say it again….because you are worth it. You are worth fighting for every. single. day. You are worth getting out of bed and saying “I can freaking do this”. It can be exhausting. No, it will be exhausting. But fighting your way out of that “comfort zone of discomfort” is one of the most freeing feelings in the world.
Whether you are 25 or 75, you should fight for the days ahead of you to be good ones. It might not feel like it at first but people are watching you. You could inspire someone else to start fighting for themselves. Learning that will motivate you to keep fighting for yourself. I have received some negative feedback from my blog and those days can be hard. Other days, writing isn’t enough to ease my anxiety but I will continue writing and I will continue fighting. I am worth it.
Find the type of coping that works for you. Maybe it’s writing, maybe its singing, maybe its volunteering, or maybe its cooking. It could be a number of things but don’t ever stop looking to help yourself. Fighting for yourself could help someone else, which I firmly believe will always help you feel better.
Thanks for the suggestion subscriber 🙂 I welcome any other ideas on what to write about. Subscribe if you would like to see my stories in the future and share on Facebook if you think this could help someone out.