Thursday, May 28, 2015

Self Care and Seeking Help

I'm not sure if this is specific to just women, or if it's something that plagues humanity as whole, but as a society, we seem to value the martyr, shamelessly sacrificing ourselves in the name of the cause. We ignore our pain, power through, in order to reach the hero's pedestal; a pedestal that one can only achieve through struggle and self sufficiency. One is considered weak when admitting that he/she needs help. If we admit a weakness, it makes us vulnerable, and open for attack. 

I write this because I see so many people in my life that are in pain, but refuse to ask for help. I can do that on a smaller scale, so maybe this blog post is for myself. As I gain new friends on Facebook and through my mom groups, I get very nervous revealing some of my past grievances, but I've also made a commitment to myself to continue a life of transparency and authenticity, so here I am, blogging about my past again :). The most powerful and life changing moments in my life were when I have admitted complete defeat. The first time was when I realized that I had a problem with alcohol; a time when I was terribly unhappy, living in Columbia on my own, completely isolated from society and caught in a dependence that left me at rock bottom. I reached out for help, not even knowing what that help would look like, but doing so anyway. Thank God for my mom and her willingness to help me do what I could not do for myself. I had to admit complete defeat, and admit that I wasn't strong enough to do this on my own. I needed help from my mom, from the state, and from some type of power greater than myself. Many people feel that drug and alcohol dependency is a weakness that can be overcome through a strong moral backbone and a head full of will power. Again, thank God my mom wasn't one of those people because I 100% needed something more than to depend on myself. Myself was the problem and I needed something more. 

The other time was when I had about 7 years of sobriety. I had a head full of a type of spirituality that wasn't touching my heart. I knew in my mind that God loved me, and that He was there to help through life. But in my heart, I felt as though I was alone. I told a friend that I felt as though each morning, I woke up to put on my armor and grab my sword. I was out to battle the world and I had to do so alone. It was the only time in the last 15 years that I ever considered drinking a better option than what was in front of me. It was then that I realized I needed something more, once again. I sought out therapy with a woman who has done so much for me in the remaining 8 years, Nancy Neal. I've continued to see her as well as continued in my other recovery for years, and am now in the healthiest place I've ever been. 

Why do we wish to handle this life alone? What is so scary about opening ourselves up and being vulnerable? For me, I've always carried a wall around my heart, trying to protect it from any pain. My thoughts have always been, "it's better to protect myself than to open myself up for others to hurt me". Is that really living though? I decided that it was not, and through lots of work, I've realized that it's best to have an open heart, and to live a life of authenticity. Asking for help is the strongest thing one can do and is the ultimate form of self care, even if that means breaking down the walls of protection and strength.