I am terrible at asking for help, especially when it comes to anxiety. In fact most of the time, the conversation goes like this:
Me: Shit. I forgot to eat today.
Loved One: Are you okay?
Me: Yeah, I’m fine.
Loved One: Are you sure?
Me: I had a dream a giant spider ate my family.
Loved One: Did you make that doctor’s appointment?
Me: Uh… kind of
Loved One: Anna.
Me: Eh, yeah?
Loved One: Anna…
Me: You should watch Angie Tribeca. It’s GENIUS.
Loved One: ANNA. DOCTOR.
Me: No, but like, I will.
Loved One: Okay good.
Loved One: So-
Me: Prescriptions… one is supposed to refill those, correct?
Loved One: Are you okay?
Loved One: ….
Me: Kind of.
Loved One: …
Loved One:Let’s talk about it.
Loved One: If you need help, I’m always here for you.
Loved One: ANNA.
Me: I saw a kid digging a really big hole at the beach this weekend. It was very impressive. We should go to the beach and dig a big hole and then wait for couples to stroll by so we can spook em’
Loved One: That does sound fun.
Me: or I could hide in it forever.
Loved One: Ahem.
You get the picture. I’ve got a roundabout, frustrating way of saying “I’m not okay, I need some help and support today.” There’s a less cute, less flattering, not as friendly, just as concerning version of this in which I lash out and say some really mean/personal shit to those that try to help me because control is not always something I have. I’m not proud of it. I consider this to be one of my worst qualities. I suck at asking for help; I suck at helping myself; AND, (and I don’t mean to brag too much here) I’m great at inappropriately trying to joke my way out of things, good at misdirecting anger, and pretty decent at avoiding the problem all together.
I’m impressed at how confrontational I am with everyone else and so cripplingly non-confrontational with myself. It’s more than okay to need help and ask for it, but I am one of those folks who is totes fine at dishing out and comprehending mental-health advice, and then very mediocre at taking it (even if it’s from a professional or smart person, and especially if it’s from myself).Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well, I am now working to hold myself responsible for myself (sounds pretty straight forward, eh?) Accountability is very hard: simple, but hard. It takes steps, and today I’m going to start with this….
First I’m going to tell myself, Anna, doggy, it’s chill. You’re sad and anxious, and you can’t do this on your own. It’s okay to lean on people. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to receive help ya silly willy. After that, I’m going to share this little phrase with one of my loved ones:
“I’m not okay today. I need some help.”
Then, I am going to accept the help. I’m going to go ahead and speak for myself here and say acceptance of help is even harder than the accountability for needing it. I am a proud, stubborn, disgruntled old man when it comes to accepting help, but it’s a noble thing to do. I respect those that can and do give it and accept it. Bravo to you if you already do this. You’re marvelous. To those of you similar to me: hang in there and drink a nice cool glass of humility with me.
The idea here is that if I’m more honest and speak up sooner, I won’t let all these stressful shenanigans bubble up inside o’ me. I’m certain my loved ones will appreciate it if I don’t make them play Is Anna Okay Today? (In board game form, this involves a lot of dice rolling and guessing). Confronting my dickish/stubborn, yet afraid Anxiety Annaness when it pops up will probably lead to not having to ask for help very often.
Huh, cool. That sounds like a good plan to me.
I didn’t want to scare the kid’s parents (you know, the one who was digging a hole) by asking for a picture, so here is a less satisfying, yet still beachy, pic to assist my impending metaphor.
For those of you that feel concerned, please be not afraid. This is my life journey with an emphasis on the tricky parts. I’ve had unaware friends/family/stranger-ish people contact me since I started writing this bloggity blog like whoa dude, didn’t know you were so tangled up in the noggin’, and others be like you know you’re posting on the INTERNET right? I’m not magically some different human being than you once knew or thought I was. I’ve pretty much always been this way. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m sure you’ve got some shit going on too. In fact, I’m quite positive. We all do. I’m publicly sharing mine so that we might be able to recognize within ourselves and those around us that all people have hardships and some stuff to work on.
From my bloodiest and pumpiest of hearts (I’ve only got one, but it’s pretty damn bloody and pumpy), thank you for joining me on this blog journey. It’s been and will continue to be a funtastic – albeit bumpy – ride, and this whole thang is a great opportunity for us to explore the difference between empathy and sympathy. That’s what the whole goal is here. Let’s break down some of those walls that society thought it’d be great to build – pride and fear of weakness – and value each other as fellow humans.
In regards to helping myself and helping other people who want to help me…
I’m gradually working on the other things I need to do: making doctors appointments, eating healthy, wiggling (working out) a lil bit each day, and checking in with myself. Baby steps…. dear sweet little baby jesus steps….
Bet you forgot about this one, eh?
UNRELATED CONFIDENCE BOOSTER OF THE DAY: Someone told me recently that I swear a lot, and I slipped into a hole (like that one the kid was digging at the beach) of self-consciousness, but I was reassured by the same person, “Don’t stop. It’s like hearing the Easter Bunny swear.” You know, because I’m SOOOO adorable. It quickly filled in that hole with some sandy confidence, and now I’m going to swear up a fucking storm. How do you like them fucking apples?
B.T.W. HI MOM AND DAD.
B.T.W.W. Here’s a cutie pie. I call it “puppy torture” (she loves it)