I’ve been struggling this winter, which left me feeling guilty. There are so many people without jobs, wondering where their next meal will come from, wondering when they will be kicked out of their home, and wondering what to do next as they lose their jobs and businesses. My husband and I have our jobs, we can work from home, and can choose to have “contactless delivery.”
I understand financial insecurity; I’ve been homeless. I know how scary it can be and how physically and psychologically harmful it can be to lose your home, sleep outside, and find your next meal. That makes me feel even more guilty for struggling so much.
However, I realize how much sense it makes for me to struggle during this time.
I was known as the box queen when it came to feeding my family. I would make Hamburger Helper, Buy 49 cent burgers and fries from a place long since out of business. I would make anything out of a box and didn’t cook a lot of things from scratch. I didn’t have time. I was a single mom, working full-time. Then I was a married mom, homeschooling, going back to school, and working full-time. My youngest child graduated from high school, I graduated from college, and for the first time in my adult life, I just had to work full-time. I started to learn how to cook at the age of 49. Then the pandemic hit, which gave me even more time as I wasn’t driving everyone to work or college. I tackled more complicated recipes, making them my own.
This mirrored what was happening to me mentally. My entire teen and adult life, I’ve been so busy that I didn’t have time to assess the damage of my traumatic upbringing. With more time on my hands, I’ve had two minutes to think, and that hasn’t always felt good. I started to feel more anxious. Add into that the pandemic, and I had outright anxiety attacks. I started seeing a therapist, which helped somewhat. I’m even contemplating seeing a psychiatrist.
With my family’s struggles with mental health, I’ve become quite an advocate for seeking professional help. Medication, therapy, prayer, they can all tie in together. My mantra is mental health is physical health. Our brains are a physical part of our body. I will say that for everyone else, but I’ve held myself to a different standard. However, with my current struggles, I’ve realized I need to advocate for myself as much as I do for my family members.
All this to say that everyone is struggling in some form. It’s okay to struggle even if someone else “has it worse than you.” No one has a perfect life; we all need Jesus. If you are struggling with mental health, please seek assistance. Start with your doctor, but if you do not have a primary doctor, you can start to find help with these two places:
But most of all, do not keep it inside. Find someone to tell of your struggles. You will find so many people struggling along with you. You are not alone.