Feel like you’ve hit a wall? Or better described - the floor? You are not alone. We. Are. Struggling. The past week and a half, I’ve been inundated with parents reaching out for help - for themselves and for their children. Suddenly, things that were tolerable are now at a peak, or on another level. Hopelessness, self harm and thoughts or intentions of suicide are not far-off concerns - they are realities. Realities in homes in your neighborhood. Realities of people around you. Realities of people you pass in the grocery aisle or at the checkout. People you “argue” with on Facebook. Other practitioners I work with - psychologists and social workers - are seeing the same thing and many can’t take on any new clients. Their schedules are full and they work hard to protect their own well being so that they can continue to help others. No one is immune.
So what can you do?
1. Be nice to you - and treat your senses. This past Wednesday, I felt tapped. My hands and feet felt like they had weights on them and every move took strength. It was 5pm and I had no dinner planned and rather than rummage in my freezer and cupboard for inspiration and start cooking from scratch, I decided to go to the grocery store to get some pre-made dinner that I would just have to warm up with minimal effort.
On the way there and back, I BLASTED old 80s music that not only reached my ears full volume, but it could feel it in my chest and I even sang along. It was soothing. And whilst in the store, I saw beautiful roses which I put in my cart with only a short debate about the cost - it was necessary. And now they sit on my kitchen table, admired, sniffed and spreading cheer to each of us as we walk by.
2. Ask for help. We have a culture that sees asking for help as a weakness. If you have asked for help, you know the strength it takes. You can do it. For every person that does reach out to me, there is another that I don’t hear from, even though a friend or family member had already reached out to me because of their concern and had given them my number. I anticipate the call or the email and when it doesn't come, my heart and thoughts are still with them and I hope that they found help somewhere else. I worry that they continue to live in a hell they don’t know how to get out of.
3. Don’t think that it can’t happen to you or someone you love. If you have an inkling of concern, contact one of the suicide prevention resources. Call 800.273.TALK (8255) or text HOME to 741741 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
You are never alone. #thrivewithaguide
About the Author
Vanessa Elias is a mental health activist, certified parent coach, speaker, and writer featured on NPR, PBS, and in the WSJ. She is the founder of Thrive with a Guide, LLC and serves as a group facilitator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Block Party USA is her passion project. Vanessa helps parents achieve healthier family relationships and lasting, meaningful connections.