Sometimes life becomes dreary. Burden with responsibilities. It is more about going through the motions on most days when I do not feel up to par. And like most individuals, there is that nagging silent suffrage I face day in and day out. Most of the time I am not too concerned about it. Put forth my best effort. Strive to be the best person I am capable of being. Do what I have come to understand and know what is right.
Not too much to ask for. Be honest, open, and willing.
And then there are times like this present moment where I feel a lack of support from a community fellowship, friends, and end up stewing in my own depression and inadequate frailty of mind.
I know there are others like me. We feel we are not getting the support we desire, expect, or even feel deserving of.
For me, this stems from growing up in a home where (until recently in the last few years) I really never felt emotionally supported by family. Never really felt supported by those whom I had called friends.
Such deep feelings and thoughts leave me drained, tired, unhappy, and I feel like I’m moving through life without much fuel to keep going.
Probably, because when many of us struggling with depression, anxiety, and childhood trauma, this was a huge struggle for us. Some may not have truly found a sense of belonging and therefore fed into our notion of feeling unsupported. And when we did feel some semblance of support, it was something short-lived. Maybe for a couple of days, a week, or a short period of a month or two. Inevitably it dissipated.
One of the hardest struggles for many of us is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and transparent enough to open up to others. The problem is, if I feel unsupported and have reached out numerous times, how am I able to be transparent and vulnerable? Share with another (outside of God) what I am struggling with.
I remember on one distinct occasion where I was living in Bellevue, Washington and was experiencing one of many stints of homelessness. I had just gotten off the phone with my own father. I don’t recall the conversation but do recall how it left me angered, hurt, and upset. There were a handful of gentleman around that I was with and they asked what was wrong. I informed them and one said, “I don’t envy you.”
My thought was, “what the heck does that mean?” Really, who would want to be envious of someone hurting and upset over some callous conversation? It really felt like salt was being rubbed into the emotional wound. I went outside and sat on the steps. Praying for comfort.
I looked up and noticed some vehicles driving by. One caught my attention and I watched as it maneuvered to turn around. A young man stepped out and approached me, sat down next to me and said, “I was driving by and the Spirit of God really impressed me to stop.” I am not exactly sure if that was what he said – that is what I remember.
No judgements, no slap in the face. We talked, he hugged me and prayed with me and sat with me.
Such support and comfort is something I believe we all crave from those relationships we have with other people. And most of us find it difficult finding such genuine relationships where we feel supported, encouraged, and even comforted.
Here are some things I have learned – and always need to keep in remembrance of.
First, I need to catch myself where I am saying that no one cares or that no one seems to be there for me. Sometimes it is the thought where I may convince myself that others may not understand me or what I am going through. Still, there is the thought that I become resentful in helping others. Being there to support them, to take care of them, and to be kind and gentle in comforting them in their time of need. Only to feel neglected and unsupported in like manner. Whether such belief is true or not – it still hurts and feeds into that sense of worthlessness and attitude of why bother.
No matter the story I tell myself, it is a realization that such thoughts are merely blocking me from receiving the necessary support I desire and hope for. At some point, someone will take the time to lend a comforting word. Lend a moment of their time to sit with me and listen. Not to fix, rescue, or solve all my problems.
In reality – many of us dealing with depression, anxiety, or other mental health ailments are not looking to be fixed or rescued. We are looking to be heard, comforted, and acknowledge that what we are experiencing personally is okay and there are people who genuinely do love us.
Another aspect is the convincing lie that I fall into believing that if I do share what I am struggling with – it will most likely cause them to stress out. May cause some burden for them. The opposite is the fear of judgment and criticism that is perceived to be received.
By acknowledging such defeating self-talk and false and irrational beliefs – we allow ourselves to fully be open, vulnerable, and transparent in seeking (and receiving) the necessary help we long for.
However, what if we are willing to put ourselves out there. Seek out help from those whom we believe may provide encouragement, comfort, and support? And end up being ignored, or told “I am too busy at the moment” and then no follow up? Or, how about this: What If I call on friends and ask if they are available to get together and their response is “I am too busy,” or not even a response at all?
That is quite a difficult situation and it is a very sucky situation. Those individuals do not realize that such statements, responses, or the lack of a response, truly feeds into the false belief that there really is no one there to listen, to comfort, to allow me to share. I don’t have the answers to such a question as I have experienced such behavior numerous times.
The second aspect is the willingness to reach out to others for support. For me, I have had to learn to find those willing to listen when I come to them. Gratefully, I am able to have a handful of guys to go to regarding this. I have started attending a wonderful recovery support group that has become a significant blessing in my life. I write daily inspiration and devotional messages. I seek my Heavenly Father’s guidance and continue to ask for consistent fellowship with men of integrity and honesty.
Often times I feel like I am not receiving what I desire from others because I am not willing to allow myself to be open enough to receiving. It’s as if I have a little shop set up for people to come in and yet maintain locked doors.
It takes great courage for individuals, like me, to step out of our comforting distress and seek help and support. To share with others that I am struggling and to ask help. It never bodes well when I attempt to figure things out on my own.
The finally truth is this. What I may be experiencing outside of myself is often a reflection of whatever I am experiencing within myself. If I am not owning up to being supportive of my own needs then how am I able to be open in receiving help and support from others? If I am not feeling supported by others then what is that saying about me?
The key I had to learn, the hard way mind you, is that in order to feel supported by others I have to first learn to provide for my own emotional support and needs. Because if I spend all my time and energy on seeking sole support from others without first learning to develop a sense of self and integrity to meet my own personal needs then I truly am draining energy and time from them.
Because I had found out that when I was reaching out for support and encouragement, I really was looking to someone for rescuing me out of my own dilemma’s. My expectations were quite unrealistic and such that it caused me to retreat and not trust any one. It fueled my need to forget everyone I will figure it out on my own – who needs people anyway mentality.
Staying true to myself is actually a rigorous discipline. This includes finding those relationships with other people where we feel fully embraced, accepted, and find necessary support.
I have had to examine and let go of those relationships, and the attached expectations of those relationships, in order to make room for more healthier and meaningful relationships.
So, in order for me to experience a higher degree of love and support in my relationships, I had to first learn how to love and embrace who I am. Second, learn that it is okay to reach out and be vulnerable, be willing, and be transparent. And finally, learn that if I am not feeling loved, appreciated, or even supported in certain relationships – then maybe it is time I detached myself from them so I am able to cultivate healthy relationships with others.
Are you struggling with feeling unsupported? Do you feel that you are struggling with acceptance? Struggling to find a space to reach out and find comfort from others?