I Am Not A Burden - Accepting Support

October 16, 2017

Paul countered by speaking of "the wisdom of God" (which he also spoke of as "the foolishness of God" because it is the opposite of "the wisdom of this world") which "destroys the wisdom of the wise." (106, Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again For The First Time: The Historical Jesus and The Heart of Contemporary Faith). 

Mental health professionals do not speak as the "wisdom of God" - listen more to the people that already know and love us.  (Me)

My Mom is my best friend.  She knows how best to support me in a way that no one else does and now that I’m an adult, I support her too.  When I am super, super anxious she is a safe person for me to vent to and cry.  Unfortunately, I like to create problems when there aren’t any so sometimes I obsess over how I will handle life when certain support people are gone.   

One of the reasons I went to the hospital is because I wanted to handle my problems myself.  I do think it is good to be more independent but after a meltdown last week in front of my mom who handled it perfectly, I have come to realize that our connection is sacred. It is wrong to push a wonderful support person away out of fear for the future. 

The second to last time I was hospitalized my mom told me that I am never a burden to her and I think I forgot that.  This last time at the hospital, the “professionals” talked about how we shouldn’t depend on others and stress them out.

I am calling this stigmatizing bullshit.  

Yes, we should not be co-dependent with people and we definitely should not continually go to someone if they are not a good influence or if they signal that they are getting burnt out - we should never try to use one person to satisfy all of our needs. 

However, if there is one thing that intentional peer support has taught me it is that there is nothing more sacred than connecting with others.  I should not pull away from others because I am afraid of my feelings when they go - I should honor our connection, commitment, and love while the person is still here.  I need to trust that I already have all that I need and that moving towards people that genuinely love and support me is never wrong. 

The clinicians at Peachford Hospital do not know the dynamic between my mom and I-if they feel that family members with mental illness are a burden, then that is their stigma and baggage-it does not have to be mine. 

Today I choose to honor the connections between me and my supporters, instead of trying to hold back, second guessing, and holding back my feelings - in reality, people love me, value my authenticity, and they see through my masks anyway.  Hiding my emotions just does not work for someone like me and that is a good thing.  Believing that one’s self is a burden, especially to family members, is a recipe for self-loathing and stigma and those are things I am no longer willing to hold.  (Of course, this is totally different if your family is toxic.)

You can see how I analyzed my meltdown below.  I thought it might be helpful.

Situation: Going home to do scrapbooking; looked at triggering papers right before leaving

Bodily Sensations: Racing Thoughts, Flashbacks, Teary

Thoughts:  I just need to power through; I shouldn’t be dependent on my mom to fix my problems

Action Tendencies: cover up anxiety

Action: went home and cried; took anxiety PRN, vented to mom

Realization:  She was willing to help me.  I need to enjoy letting my mom support me while she is alive.  I AM NOT A BURDEN - I need to counter this lie.

What I Need To Remember: Enjoy connecting with my mom while I can.  Don’t try to hide anxiety from my mom - it doesn’t work anyway.  Ask for help - state what I need.

Mantra:  Connections are sacred - honor them.  Don’t take on other people’s baggage or stigmas.

What I Want To Do Now:  Make a commitment to be more honest when asked to do things that make me anxious.  Maybe something can be done differently.  

How I Feel Now: Gratitude and Love

(Picture taken on the Atlanta Beltline #tinydoorsATL)

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