This is a very, very recent one actually. A couple of months ago, during my admission to my local mental health unit, one of the nursing assistants (I’ll say his name because he deserves the credit) Anthony, a very positive-spirited Nigerian came over when I was struggling to cope and used his hands to demonstrate this to me. In fact, when I’ve been on different Units, I’ve found nursing assistants be the ones that have inspired and engaged with my recovery most. Not in every case, but because they often seem to be the staff most available and show they have more time for the patients, rather than nurses who are often busy and swamped under with paperwork, 8 times out of 10 it has been the nursing assistants I’ve felt most comfortable approaching when I’m struggling.
You have to be open to allowing others to help you when you’re going through a hard time. But there also has to be some contribution from you, too. Genuinely. Not just going through the motions. And eventually this will lead to success as there’s more energy coming from more than one direction. Many times I have been relying on others to give me the magic cure to feel better. That if I attend all these therapy sessions, or accept this hospital admission then things will resolve. Makes sense on paper. And I’ve also swung the other way, pushing people away because I feel like I should be able to conquer it alone and come out the other end okay. Part of that to be honest, has been associated with the guilt I felt I would forever be in debt for to those around me. And that has stemmed from low self-esteem and a huge lack of confidence.
But when I have applied Anthony’s lesson – on a smaller amount of occasions, it has worked. Like my third and hopefully final hospital admission for my Eating Disorder, I went in with genuine willing, open to the painful emotions I would feel. Working to get the most out of therapy. And as the years went by with Mandy and outpatient therapy, I eventually felt myself open up and consciously try to work through things so that I could understand myself better, instead of glossing over or simply turning up in the hope that, on it’s own would be the answer.
This lesson has also applied to my family life too. As they’ve learnt things over the years about how most effective to help me, so have I. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have had such a supportive, loving family throughout my whole journey so far. I’ve been in hospital with people who have had no family to come visit them, which was unimaginable. They have had no second hand, or little, to help wash the other.
We can’t do this journey alone. Life is fucking hard, as it is. But if we keep opening up when we need to, we can do it together. The special thing is, if you open up to someone, they’re more likely to open up to you, too. And how good does that make us feel when we find people are comfortable enough in our presence to be able to do that?
We weren’t born to do this alone. We all have sensitivities, flaws and insecurities. But that’s what makes us human.