Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: words of comfort

The Fear of Help

Sharing this {revived link} today with the lovely ladies over at the #WordsOfComfort Linkup with the wonderful TGA Writes!
I hope you join us for more words of comfort as we prepare for another week coming.

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I can see the scene in my head even now.

I was in serious trouble, with no way out.

Everything was a giant tangled mess. I could feel the walls closing in on me. I had shortness of breath, my heart was pounding, I was light-headed. I could feel panic starting to swell. Alarms were going off. Tears were on the verge of appearing. Limbs began to lose all feeling.
I felt confined. I felt helpless.

That’s what happens when you’re alone in a change room, and the dress you’ve tried on has NO give, and you realise the only enclosure is in the back, which you neglected to open before you dove in head first.

Yep. Stuck in a change room. Who’s the boss? I’m the boss.

The once tame and slightly tacky change room with the anemic music and distorted mirrors becomes a fear chamber, people.

Will you be locked in there forever, in a dress one size too small, with your left arm stuck halfway up into the dress, your neck cramping, eyes glazing over in your contorted state, till they close the store, and lock up?

Will you be forced to make a one-armed escape through the employee’s door with alarms sounding while you yell into the night, “I promise I’ll be back with the merchandise when I can crow bar my way out in the privacy of my own house!”

Seriously, I’ve returned things with that very excuse and no one blinked an eye, so maybe this really happens more than I think?

Call me a prude but I almost tried the Mission Impossible theme song escape when another more practical option dawned on me. Why? Because it involved asking for help. Someone unknown to me was going to have to come in and extract me from the dress. I wasn’t going to be able to do it on my own. Someone was going to know I wasn’t in control of the whole dress mess! Someone was going to see me for who I really was when the covering was removed!

Gaaahhhh….

And there’s the rub. If we ask for help, we fear that someone is going to see just how imperfect we are. How out of control we are. How helpless we can be. And what we really are when you take away all the dressing.

Fear keeps us from getting help.

We fear being laughed at. Talked about. Used as an example.

We fear being told we’re the cause. That we’re flawed. That we’re incapable.

We fear we won’t like the answer. The work involved. Or the people who have the answers for us.

That’s a LOT of fear. And I’m really just skimming the surface.

I know deep down inside that I just really fear what help is going to feel like. Right? Isn’t that what it boils down to?

Problem is, if we don’t seek help for whatever it is that has us constrained or plaguing us, then we’re all stuck like I was in that hideous change room for who knows how long. Eventually, someone is going to come looking for you. And what are we going to do?

Would have been a nifty feat, pretending I actually wanted to wear the dress in my contorted state, and walking out of the store (after paying) getting puzzling looks.

I needed to stop fearing help, and just get free.

Pretending never works forever. It’s exhausting. It’s more exhausting than fear. And it makes people wonder if you’re a walking sewing experiment gone wrong.

Pretending will wear you down far more than fear ever can.

Why? Because as you face fear, you gain courage. And the more courage you gain, the less fear has a hold on you. And the less it has a hold on you, the more help you can access.

And the more help and support you can access, the better you will cope.

In my devotional yesterday I read:


Psalm 27:1

 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?


If God is for us, what do we have to fear? You’ll find hundreds of “fear not’s” in scripture. That’s a lot of fear not’s and a lot of trust and help instead.

Here’s what we need to cling to; Real help doesn’t make you feel small, or stupid, or inadequate. Real help teaches, inspires, and transforms! A fear of help will rob you of amazing things.

Of healing. Of freedom. Of dignity. Of peace.

Did I stay forever in my odd cocoon dress? No, I made eye contact past the door to a girlfriend and she quickly came to my rescue and my dignity.

Did I stay forever in my chronic cocoon of depression? No, in fact I met a doctor who was very nice and offered to help me get past nearly 28 years of thought processes that happened when I didn’t know I had depression, and work on what tendencies need to go and what lifestyle changes will work best for me.

And it didn’t hurt. I took a step, and the fear was gone.

What is it you’ve been afraid to ask for help with lately? What does fear have you all wrapped up in? Trapped with? And what kind of goodness is it holding you back from?

We start first with calling on a God who will never deal in captivity, only freedom!

New things start to happen when we ask for help. New things start to heal, new things start to develop. We just have to take the first step.

This fear of help has to stop.

So we can start.

 

image by christine duncan

image by
christine duncan

A Diagnosis For More Than Just You

I haven’t yet introduced my husband to you all.

For the few of you that already know him, you also know that he’d be perfectly okay with that oversight.

Let’s just say he prefers something we call The “Keeping To The Background” Scene.

In fact we have an ongoing battle on Instagram where I attempt to get photos of him looking into the camera, and in return he thwarts each one. He’s either in the distance, turned with his back to me, in a motor cycle helmet for no reason, or blocking his face with a prop.

I’m going to start calling him “Wilson” (props to 90’s T.V).

Up to now I had been calling him “Perry”, which I’ve been told ISN’T his real name but it clearly says “Perry Ellis” on the sides of his glasses, and naturally I assumed it was his special way of saying he preferred it over his birth name.

No wonder he never answered me till now. Go fig’.

Anyhoo… I thought it was about time I brought him onto the blogging scene.

Why?
Because I want to address something so very important when we talk about why it’s vital to get an official diagnosis. Not just a blog about faith, this is a blog about chronic depression too.

But to do that, let me backtrack a little? You know it’s important to get an official diagnosis if you are even remotely sure you have some kind of mood disorder or depression, right? Let this be said loud and clear: You CANNOT diagnose yourself and expect to suddenly be okay. Things need to be addressed that only a professional can track and treat. There are characteristics to depression and mood disorders that look like so many other things. So put pride, fear, and shame away. And speak to someone who can give you the info required to make progress.

Whew… okay…so let’s move on ahead and trust that you understand a diagnosis is important. BUT did you know that….

….. a diagnosis isn’t just for you? This important step is also for your spouse.
Your partner. Your better half.

Avoiding a diagnosis means your spouse, or anyone else in your family perhaps, misses out on a gift. It means you wind up robbing them of something they’ve been needing restored to them, perhaps for a very long time.

That something is a more freeing, more authentic relationship with you.

When you are given an explanation for why you’re suffering with something formerly unexplainable, you give them freedom.

Freedom from guilt.

From fear.

From confusion.

From failure.

And from defeat.

Let me explain.

So I lived and suffered with Dysthymic Disorder for my entire marriage, something that started long before that. There always seemed to be some reason or another to explain why I felt so crappy, for why I was like I was a useless human being for all those years. And until it got so bad that I found myself unable to leave the bedroom most days, it went undiagnosed. We just assumed the issue was with me or with us or with life, and I needed to get over myself.

So, as my spouse, the one who was going to see us through for better or worse, my husband also struggled with every conceivable issue in regards to maneuvering through a relationship during all of this!

My symptoms became all the ways he couldn’t make me happy. My crying jags he would assume were always his fault somehow. Or he would spend days perplexed at what to do about them if they weren’t. And I was not above blaming him on days when I couldn’t put my finger on what went wrong. Because, of course, it certainly couldn’t have been ME could it?!

He would carry around guilt, it followed him like the plague. He felt bad that I was restless, anxious, and unproductive. He was constantly worried there was more he wasn’t doing but he could never figure out what.

He would go through all the various parts of each day exhausted. He’d try to help my insomnia, he’d sit by me in the dark, and listen as I would try to find reason in the unhappiness, dismay, and fear, often this would go on till 3 or 4 am till I’d crumple back into bed for a fitful sleep… then he’d head to work first thing, then run errands, then help the kids, then tip toe around me unsure if it would be another repeat.

Oh sure, there were the okay days, okay months even, where life felt doable, and maybe we were in the clear. But at some point the lows would hit, and no amount of prayer, counselling, or heart-to-hearts would mend the gaping crevasse we now know was early onset chronic depression.

If you asked me today, I’d say my hubby is one of the most loyal and committed men I’ve ever known, and what I can see clearly now as I look back at the way my constant lows affected our day-to-day lives is that he too was forced to battle an unknown enemy almost to the point of exhaustion. And had no idea if we would ever make it.

And the swelling of each random episode probably brought this thought closer and closer; “Is this the end?”

To his credit he never gave up. Gave in to the lowness? Yes, often it spilled over onto him. But gave up? No.

I don’t say all of this to flaunt how wonderful it is to have him be the rock he is. And he is. I will say this;  if you are going through this right now, and are investing in a similar sounding relationship, I salute you and hope your better half or family member knows just how amazing you are!

But I say all this to say how much a diagnosis takes all the weight off of your partner’s shoulders and allows them room to realize they are not the cause.

That’s FREEING.

That’s RESTORATION for them.

That’s HEALING for more than just you.

And God can sweep in and revive and redeem every hard or missed moment that they have carried thinking they were part of the problem. He will be able to carry every new burden in future. He can inject His strength and healing back into what felt weak and broken, when you receive a diagnosis for more than just you.

It’s also freeing to find out that there are things they can do to help during the next steps of your disorder or illness, the next steps to wellness, and the next steps to the relationship you both really want and need. That is definitely an upcoming topic. I promise you!

But in the meantime, your bravery in seeking a diagnosis, however long that takes, gives the people you care about a gift.

Fear, guilt, confusion, loneliness, frustration, failure, and exhaustion can be the burden they no longer have to carry within your relationship in regards to better mental health.

Your diagnosis is too important.

It’s for more than just you.

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 Am linking up today with the fabulous TGA Writes
#wordsofcomfort Saturday Linkup today
and I pray you’ll join us as we all share words of comfort from our faith perspectives!

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