I run this ministry with my best friend. All my friends know me and her as being the "two girl that run the ministry thing." I'm okay with that. I like it even. And then I have all the people on Twitter that I interact with, and there are thousands of you on there. I'm not sure how everyone views us on there. But one thing that I think people often mistake me for being is, well, near perfect. I don't know, maybe its because I grew up in the church and in a Christian family and I run a ministry so I must have it all together...right?
I wanted to tell you guys something about myself so that you know I understand. I understand more than you might think.
I've always struggled with fear. I've had it my whole life and it only seems to get worse. Last night I had a panic attack because of it. I mean, it was really bad. I was alone in my room and my mom was at work and my sister was at a friends house and my older brother had just left for college a few days ago, and those people were the ones I would usually go to. And they were all gone. My best friend, Diana, is away on a missions trip. And I felt alone. I sat in my room and cried for a good while before it got bad enough where I realized I needed someone. That was a hard realization to come to. See, I'm always the strong one. I'm always the one who has to encourage other people and lift them up and help them, I realized I didn't know how to help myself. It took everything in me, but I texted the first four people I thought of. I simply asked for prayer, because I knew I needed it. They all responded with bible verses about fear, which brought me comfort.
Finally, my sister came home and she made me laugh with TV show references. During our time talking though, I got a Facebook message from a good friend of mine; she was having a hard night and needed some help. My sister took my IPod and refused to give it back to me. "'Sometimes you have to be there for other people," She said. "but right now you need to be here for you.' I learned that from Criminal Minds."
That was an eye opener for me. I was always there for other people, even when I was a mess. But I barely took time for myself. I've been trying to get better at that, but it hasn't always worked out. But that's why I have friends and sisters who remind me.
Then one of my friends whom I had texted, asked if she could come over.
My thoughts were: you want to come over and see me in this state? Me? In my sweat pants and oversized stained shirt, curled up against my wall, eyes puffy from crying, and utterly panicked?
Yes. She did.
And for the first time, I said yes. I said yes she could come and see me like that. Normally, I would have said something like, "No its okay, I'm doing better now:)" But tonight...tonight I knew I needed someone. So I had to swallow my pride and let her help. And she did. She was at my house until midnight, and she listened to my entire life story. She listened to me talk about all my favorite songs lyrics and my childhood, why I have a passion for Marvel movies, and I showed her my book collection, and she listened to me rant. I think everyone needs that kind of friend in their life.
But for me, I thought of you guys through it all; and I told my friend this. I knew I couldn't tell you guys to seek help from others when I couldn't do it myself. So after having gone through that and relying on someone and sharing things I never would have shared...I want to tell you its worth it. I poured my heart out and really, I just exposed myself. It was scary to be so vulnerable. But it lifted the weight off my shoulders, because a single person should not have to carry such a heavy burden all the time. Everyone needs a friend who will willingly share a burden with you. God supplies those people in each of our lives, you just need to find them. Ask God who it is. He'll tell you. He will lead you to people in your life who have wisdom you need. He did it with me. My one friend's name had just been ringing in my head, and I knew I had to text her. I did, and I am so thankful that I did. It was hard, but worth it.
I'm sure a lot of you could relate to this story. I don't know why we as humans hide our flaws, I don't know why we find it so hard to ask for help, I don't know why we never take time for ourselves. But I know that our flaws don't define us. I am not defined by my hard night, I'm not weak for asking for help, and I'm not selfish for taking a day to take care of myself.
And neither are you.
I seriously recommend finding someone you can trust and someone who will listen to you, and sharing whatever is on your mind. I recommend seeking a friend, and also, a professional. There are people out there who care about your story, I based RAIM off of this concept. I believe talking about your problems can bring healing. Sometimes you just need someone to listen, and talking can oftentimes help you come to your own conclusions. At least, this is what I have found in my practice. Also, blogging/writing is good, make art, watch an inspiring movie, listen to music or play an instrument; these are some of my favorite things to do when I'm feeling triggered. I hope you guys feel encouraged by this. I want you to know that I get you. I'm human too. I'm not perfect and I have sucky nights every now and then. Having struggles doesn't make you weak. It makes you strong. Everyone has bad nights, no one is immune to this. So don't guilt yourself over relapsing after a long clean streak. Don't feel shame for struggling. It happens to the best of us. When you fall, just get right back up, dust yourself off, and try again.
Keep on fighting and please, don't you ever give up.