Picture this, you’re carrying an extremely heavy load, all tucked into a box. There are a million things in this box. Somethings heavy, some as light as air. Your box never changes size, it just gets fuller or empties as life persists. You must carry this box from point A to B to C etc…now imagine the bottom of that box is beginning to get worn and ragged and is starting to fall apart. What do you do?
In the wake of so many local and beyond local tragedies and excessive loads that so many people I know (me included) are carrying, I felt compelled to write a post and share some thoughts on getting through those really rough times that life inevitably throws at us. Sometimes we are assaulted by life’s cruelties and some people especially seem to have to carry extremely heavy loads.
First and foremost you need to remember ‘you are not alone’. You really aren’t. Just like in the box scenario, if the bottom starts to fall out call for help. Call anyone. A friend, a relative, a helpline, a doctor…anyone. You cannot carry that load alone. It’s impossible, not failure. Remember that above everything…’you are not alone and nor should you have to carry it alone’. Just like “A joy shared is doubled, A struggle shared is halved.” We as humans are not built to do this life alone. We are meant to live, work, play, and love in packs/groups/tribes. There are people and resources out there to get you and that load you’re carrying the help you need. It may not be easy but trust me it’s worth it. YOU are worth it.
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- Canadian Mental Health Association: 613-745-7750 (MB division: 204-982-6100)
- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: 204-784-4073
- Your Life Counts: 289-820-5777
- Manitoba Suicide Line: 1-877-435-7170
- Manitoba Mental Health Education Resource Centre: 1-855-942-6568
Sometimes in the midst of disaster/tragedy/struggle our minds go into complete overdrive and so begins the cycle of never-ending anxiety and often despair. Through the years I’ve learned some very basic tools to get me through those really aggressive times, especially at night, when the mind snowballs and won’t shut off and let us sleep, this in turn making for even more anxious days ahead. Simply put, you need to stop your mind and stop that pattern. Lots of people use meditation and deep breathing. I find that what even works more simply is to ‘stop and think of 5 things I can hear’…’stop and think of 5 things I can physically feel’. It seems so juvenile and trivial but it nearly always works long enough to calm my mind, slow my breathing, and relax my body enough that I can sleep. Everything seems easier in the light of day. So when you’re laying there at night and the world rushes in and your box starts to get even heavier, shut it out and think of 5 things…
Once you can stop the cycle that your brain inevitably wants to take you through with anxiety you are able to think clearer and this is when you need to focus on a new mantra of less worry. Self-talk in a positive way is so extremely important. Remind yourself that a) you are not alone. b) you can get through this. c) you are worth it. d) it WILL get better. And breathe. REALLY breathe. Fill your lungs slowly and release that air slowly. Focus on one thing for one moment. And ask for help. Please ask for help. No matter how little or big your struggles are there is someone there to help. No matter the task or request, someone is there to help. There are medications, counselling and mental health therapies that DO work. Keep searching until you find the help you need but don’t do it alone…you need to fix and strengthen the bottom of that load you’re carrying but there are tools/supplies/resources out there to help.
We have to talk about it. We have to share our loads. We have to reach out and ask for help. We have to be kinder to ourselves. We have to take care of each other. We have to have faith in brighter days ahead.