Just recently, someone asked me, “How are you holding up?” I didn’t have the words, so I sent this pic:
The question was followed by “Anything I can do to help?”
I literally did not know how to answer that question. I didn’t know what I needed. I didn’t know what would possibly help the way I was feeling. I didn’t know how to answer in a way they could understand. I was struggling with something that I have never struggled with before. To me, that question read:
“What shape is the color blue?”
There are so many times during my recovery that I don’t have a clue what I need. I don’t know how to identify what I’m feeling. I don’t know how to make the racing thoughts stop, or the tears from falling, or explain to everyone why I’m having a temper tantrum in the front of the grocery store over the inability of being able to find my keys that are sitting in the same side pocket that they always are…just..apparently invisible. I can’t explain what it’s like to sit inside my head on the days that I struggle to even like myself. I can’t explain what it’s like to feel as if I have to run away to another room, close the door, turn off all the lights, and rock myself as I’m sobbing hysterically. I can’t explain what it feels like to begin typing a text, or an email message, and have it sit there for minutes before I delete the message entirely in fear of what the recipient is going to think or say or do.
And that’s a struggle that many of us with mental health issues have in trying to open up to others, to talk to others in small group, and even to talk to our accountability partners. It’s hard to ask for help when we are speaking a language that the rest of society doesn’t understand. It’s hard to talk to others about what we need when we don’t even know what we need ourselves. That’s why it’s important for us to continue working to break the stigma of mental health. To keep talking about it. To share our struggles in small group and in our step studies. The more we talk the more people will be able to speak our language. The more people will open up about their own struggles and show us that people can and do recover effectively from mental health issues and are able to manage them. This is what the Mental Health Initiative is all about.
There is a whole world of people who are hurting and struggling, and they are in need of someone to walk with them on their journey, just as I need others to walk with me on mine. That is the beauty of Celebrate Recovery.
Although I have absolutely no idea what I need in my recovery at times, God always does. And it is through Celebrate Recovery and the Mental Health Initiative that I will keep coming back to be guided by the 8 principles and the 12 steps. To be reminded that there is a God who knows exactly what I need and will give me only what I need. To have accountability partners and small group members and step study sisters to help remind me of that. I don’t always have to know. I hold onto the comfort of that subtle truth in those dark times that I can’t answer that question, “Anything I can do to help?”
Thank you for letting me share.