A man fell into a hole and couldn’t get out. A doctor walked by and the man yelled up, “Can you help me? I can’t get out!” The doctor wrote a prescription, threw it down into the hole, and walked away. A priest walked by, and the man yelled up, “Help! I’ve fallen into a hole, and can’t get out. The priest wrote a prayer on a piece of paper, threw it down to the man, and walked on.
Soon the man’s friend walked by. “Hey, friend! I’ve fallen into this hole and can’t get out. Can you help me?” The friend said, “Sure” and jumped into the hole with his friend. The man said, “Are you crazy? Now we’re both stuck in this hole!”
But his friend said, “No, see, I’ve been in this hole before, and I know how to get out.”
This parable demonstrates the power of learning from people who have been there before. Oftentimes we search for help from all the wrong places, look for answers from all the wrong books, seek help from all the wrong people. When we first start out in recovery, we are the one in the well, the one looking for a way out. The thing is, we know what the problem is, we just don’t know how to handle it or fix it! This is also true with mental health, regardless of the struggle.
When I first faced my denial that I was struggling with a mental health issue that I could not control on my own, I had no idea what I was doing, where I needed to go, or who I needed to talk to. I was in that well. In fact, I had been in that well so long that I was used to being in there; it was home for me. It was home, that is, until I was introduced to someone who led by example. This someone openly talked about their mental health issue, and elicited a response from me which I had not done in some time: look up from inside the hole.
Once I did that, I saw an entire world which I had deprived myself of in my utter denial. Coincidentally, this certain someone was also the one who led me to Celebrate Recovery, the best place to be on ANY night. That person had been where I was before. I learned that there was a whole new life than the darkness in which I had chosen to continue living. Most importantly, I learned that I was not alone.
I still find myself in that deep, dark well at times. Sometimes I even forget to look up, until someone reminds me to look up. Look up from the well, my friend. You are not alone. I’ve been there.
April Brantley, CR Mental Health X-Factor
Proverbs 27:17: Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
2 Timothy 2:2: And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also