So, it's been a while since I posted. Life has been rather strange and challenging for all of us for the past two years, and now, as some things are returning to "normal" (whatever the heck that means), many of us are finding ourselves anxious, depressed, confused, wrong-footed, or at the very least, out of sorts.
While I have been spared the tragedy of losing close friends or family to COVID-19, I admit to feeling more anxious and depressed than I should. In fact, I have had several panic attacks in the past two months and found myself at the doctor's office 12 hours after the first one seeking help. The doctor was incredibly kind, patient, and helpful, and as I sat waiting for my prescription, I thanked God for the resources I have available to deal with this crisis.
You see, I've referred about twenty students to counseling in the past two years...even walked a few over to the counseling center at the college where I work. I've filed behavior intervention reports for students whose mental health status scared me for them. At church, I've volunteered as a Stephen Minister 12 years) and Stephen Leader (8 years), connecting hurting people with people who can help them. I've taught the Crisis Theory training module to Stephen Ministry students, so I know how to assess my toolbox for the right tools to handle my personal crises, and I know how to quickly identify when I don't have the tools and need to ask for help.
And I know how to get help. I did it. No fuss, no difficulty. If that doesn't reflect my privilege, I don't know what else could.
Many people think, because society tells us so, that we are supposed to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and deal with things on our own, that asking for help is a sign of weakness, proof that we can't handle ourselves well.
That's bullshit thinking, and it needs to stop.
I've been back in therapy with a cognitive behavioral specialist for over a year because sleeplessness (caused by hormones--thank you, Mother Nature) was making me feel crazy in a world already crazy from political polarization and pandemic. I'd done well, eventually got on hormone replacement therapy, and was only meeting with my therapist once every 2-3 weeks. I was about to tell her we could stop meeting when the panic attack happened.
We're now meeting every. single. week.
And it's helping.
So is the prescription.
I'm putting this out there for you because we need to have public discussion of how to help ourselves and each other through these crazy times of one freaking crisis after another. We need to recognize when our toolbox needs new tools to deal with new problems and when we need training on how to use those new tools. We need to know how to ask for help and how to get it.
We need to normalize that process of crisis management for all ages and all races and all orientations and all religions and all political parties and all genders. For all humans. Especially right now.
If you're struggling and feel alone and lost and in need, reach out for help. Be careful. Don't reach out to just anybody; choose a sensible pastor, a Stephen Minister, a therapist, a doctor, a good and supportive friend. Someone you can trust. I'm blessed with an abundance of those types of people, and if you're not, don't let that stop you. Ask for help. Persist.
One thing my therapist has encouraged is stamping. Being creative, making things even if nobody cares, is therapeutic. If you're reading this blog, you already have and use this tool. I've made a few cards this year, but mostly now when I sit down to create, I dither and make trash. Not even pretty trash.
This was one of the exceptions. Inspired by Pauline's Papier, I made several cards not nearly as pretty as this one, which evolved from the others.
The process of evolving a card design can be extremely satisfying...when my head is in the right place. When it's not, I have to look in my toolbox and see what I can do to solve the problem. In the past, reorganizing supplies has been extremely helpful. Choosing a particular technique or supply to use and just playing with it sometimes helps.
What tools do you use when you're in a creative funk? I'd love some new ideas.
And remember. Don't go this alone. You can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps if someone stole your boots. And there are plenty of boot-stealing crises out there right now. A lot of us are shoeless. Ask for help until you get it.
Mercy, grace, peace, and love,