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Strength, Emotion, Overcoming Fear, and Learning To Ask For Help

I’ve been almost non-existent lately. Not sure anyone really noticed, but I wanted to explain why. Things have been very stressful lately, so much so I became overwhelmed and my strength faltered. I needed to ask for help. I never ask for help. But I’m SLOWLY learning that it’s ok, that it’s not a sign of weakness, and that I’m not burdening anyone.

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Growing up, I was known as “Cry Baby Jamie.”

Yes, it hurt.

Yes, it affect me emotionally as a child.

Did it change me then? No. I couldn’t help myself. When my feelings were hurt, I cried. And when they called me “Cry Baby,” I cried.

I wore my heart on my sleeve, so to speak.  I still do.

Does it affect me as an adult? Yes, it still does. I think it’s why I don’t like to share my problems with anyone. I think it’s why I cry in private now. I think it’s why I don’t want to cry on anyone’s shoulders, despite the fact that I DESPERATELY want a hug from someone who will tell me everything’s going to be fine.

I do my best to keep it inside. Be strong. When you cry, you’re not strong, right?!

Most people don’t know the situation of my home life (that could require a book, or at the very least, another blog post, if you’re interested). I don’t talk about it much. Because, really, when you say the word “disabled vet” the majority of people need to SEE that disability in order to understand and feel empathy. In our lives, that disability is PAIN, DEPRESSION, amongst many other things that spur from the PAIN. When I tell people we can’t do something because of it, they just look at him and I see the sarcasm in their eyes, “He looks fine to me.” 

We just carry on, ignore that look, and that’s why we tend to have no friends, I guess. They either don’t understand the complexity of it, or just don’t want to. So, I keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems. My problems are nothing compared to everyone else’s. Besides, I’d much rather help people than make them think I can’t help by dumping on them. And another thing, they either wouldn’t understand, or maybe even care.

I used to think this way. Seriously. I still do, even. I’m trying to break myself of this nasty habit. But it’s so hard.

See, I’ve had problems with friends all my life. It’s not that I don’t want them. God knows how much I crave friendship. I’ve just never really quite fit in any circle of people growing up. Making them. Having them. Keeping them. I meandered through my school years from groups to groups, never really having one group, or even one person that was considered THE one. I don’t know how to approach people and be the conversation starter. But if someone approaches me, I jump all over it. It was always me who wanted to please, wanted to give 200% to the relationship, hoping they would return in kind, or even just half that. But it never happened. I was always there for them, their shoulder, their pillar. I brought them up from the pit of despair. But when I needed them, they were never around, or told me to suck it up. It felt like they wanted to keep me down, which made them feel better about themselves, so I gladly welcomed it.

I guess.

(St. Paul Pioneer Press | Brandi Jade Thomas)

Even the strongest support beam can hold only so much weight before it buckles. It’s not all at once. Over time, the steel cracks and buckles. Eventually the whole thing fails. And your life tumbles out of control.

This has been me over the last month. I can only support the weight of two people for a few years before I crumble.

I am recovering, rebuilding those steel support beams. Getting myself back up to keep strong for myself and my husband.

Slowly.

Everything always goes slowly. Doesn’t it?

But this time, I did what I’ve never been able to do before. I reached out.

I asked for help from my friends. Over the past year, I’ve met a quite a few wonderful people and some I’ve connected with on a much deeper level than just writing. I’m very thankful for that. Even though the only friends I have are online friends, I cherish that friendship. Even though they aren’t here to give me a hug, they still tell me everything’s going to be alright. Their positive attitude, their prayers, the way they listened. They weren’t like the “friends” I ever had before.

courtesy: pixdaus.com

What is a table with only one leg? The more support pillars you have, the sturdier you become, right?

I want to thank them for allowing me to lean on them when I need it. It gives me the strength I need to continue to be my husband’s pillar.

I also want them to keep reminding me that it’s OK to do so.  Because I tend to fall into my old way of thinking if I am not constantly re-enforced. Does that make me needy? I sure hope not, because then I WILL go back to bottling it all inside and never letting it out.

Quietly crumbling until I can’t pick up all the pieces.

Alone.

Because I am supposed to be the strong one.

LadyJai

13 Comments

  1. Ping from Progress on the Positive « WriteBackwards:

    […] Funny thing is, I think my mind is the worst culprit to my negativity and depression. I’ve been a long time supporter of positive thinking. (Read my epiphany). And I do my best to find the positives, no matter how small, in every situation. Sometimes, it’s the hardest thing to do. And all I want to do is just give up. Giving up is easy. But I always think that tomorrow may be better. Hope is the only thing that gets me through to the next day. I don’t want to be a quitter. I just wish I could remember to ask for help, to ask for friendship. I need to re-read this post I made a few months back! […]

  2. Comment by Lieve:

    [hugs] to both you and Anthony.

  3. Comment by Lynn A. Davidson:

    Jamie, I can relate – so very much, and you know that. Even so, the weight you carry is heavier than mine most of the time, I think. It’s all relative, and it’s not easy, never can be … but — personal note: what gets ME through is my relationship with the Lord. I don’t know how anyone makes it through without Him.
    You are stronger than you believe you are. Somehow each day passes, and you are still hanging on. Before you get to the place where you feel you will topple over, or tumble totally spent, or fall apart from the stress – reach out. There is no shame in asking for help, or prayer, or support, or hugs .. or whatever you need. I so appreciate knowing someone cares, and I know it means a great deal to you, too.

    Because of my own stuff I don’t reach out often, but I’m around; you know how to contact me, so don’t hesitate. It is good for both of us.
    Sending love your way. and big Hugs. xx

  4. Comment by Heather Jacobs:

    *hugs* You are one of the strongest most amazing people I know.

    And I know you’ve said it before, but we are so alike.

    You have been handling so much and doing it with so much grace and elegance. You are truly a fantastically wonderful person. *hugs*

    Man do I wish I lived closer or vice versa so I could make these hugs real!

  5. Comment by Rebekah Loper:

    You really need to move back to this part of the country so we can give you hugs :D.

    but on that note, *virtual hugs*.

    I know what you mean about being the support. You have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in my life right now as well, and sadly just because I haven’t been talking about it on my blog doesn’t mean that any of it’s resolved.

    It’s really only in the past year or two that I’ve started connecting with people that are willing to pour as much into my life as I pour into theirs. It’s quite . . . astounding, really. Even though I have someone that I’ve called my best friend for 16 years, she’s not an introvert and she’s not a writer, so there’s been a side of me that she just wasn’t able to quite understand.

    So, all that to say, I know what you’re going through. If you need anything, I’m only a facebook message away. Or email. But I don’t know if you know my email. So message me for it XD.

  6. Comment by LadyJai:

    You guys have overwhelmed me with love. Thank you so much for your comments! <3 It means the world to me.

  7. Comment by Leigh Caroline:

    *hugs, lots and lots of them*

  8. Comment by MAJK (@Safireblade):

    Sometimes it is ok to be a little needy – we all get that way – some more than others. People need other people – anyone who says they don’t is lying. * HUG * you have my number – call or text anytime you need to.

    MAJK

  9. Comment by Becca:

    What I emailed you stands. Hardcore. *HUGS*

    (and yes, your absence was noticed)

  10. Comment by Alison Stone:

    Jamie, I’m sorry you’re struggling right now. I just have to say, your Twitter pic has always made me smile when it pops up on my timeline.I hope that someday soon you can feel like that person with her arms raised in triumph and joy.{{{Hugs}}} ;D

  11. Comment by valerierlawson:

    Jamie I swear you cracked open my head or read my diary from several years ago. I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling and feeling so alone. i’ve felt a similar loneliness with my son’s autism many times. because he didn’t look different on the outside, people couldn’t see how hard it was to deal with him.early on, we lost touch with many friends who just didn’t understand what we were dealing with. i know how hard it can be to reach out and ask for help, too. i’m similar in that aspect as well – hate to burden others with my problems. i am glad that you’ve made that effort and found some relief. support groups can be helpful, too. people who are going through the same things you are can be a valuable resource. if that’s not your thing, consider this another virtual hug coming your way.

  12. Comment by M. Andrew Patterson (@DyadicEchoes):

    A) I totally get this. I’m the same way when it comes to feeling like I need to be strong. Very hard to ask for help. I know I always feel guilty.
    B) *HUUUUUUUUUUGS*

  13. Comment by Catherine Johnson:

    Oh Jaime you mustn’t feel like you’re alone in this but I think you need real help from people who can call in on you. Moral support online isn’t enough. If there is something we can do do say. X

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