All of Us Need Someone - or Something - to Lean On

Like all of you, my life has had its ups and downs. Some of the highlights have been incredibly joyful, while some of the low points have been excruciating.

For many years, I believed I was on my own—physically and mentally—and all I needed was my grit to pull myself through the challenges I faced. Then one day, during a time when things were really looking up, something happened that shook me to the core. I was diagnosed with cancer.

Once I got over the shock and was able to process it, I underwent surgery to remove my thyroid gland and some lymph nodes. This was followed by radioactive iodine therapy to kill any rogue cancer cells. The side effects from the treatment, along with having no thyroid gland, became debilitating and led me into a deep and dark depression.

Finding My Faith

I was eventually prescribed an anti-depressant, which helped somewhat but put me onto a path that could best be described as a train wreck, and in time, I felt hopeless and hateful toward myself.

As I wrote in this passage from my memoir, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child,

“I couldn’t even bring myself to cry out to God. If there even was a God, I decided, He had forsaken me. If there was a God, He was either punishing me or had abandoned me. I hadn’t been particularly good, but then I hadn’t been an awful person either. If there was a God, why would He let all of those things happen in my life?”

But oddly enough, a couple of years later, a friend invited me to attend church with her. Even though I initially resisted the idea, I found the experience to be one that engendered the desperately needed hope I had been looking for.

Many years ago, when I was really struggling, a friend invited me to attend church with her. Even though I initially resisted the idea, I found the experience to be one that engendered the desperately needed hope I had been looking for. Click To Tweet

I finally found my faith. It has been a core component of my life ever since and has helped me weather the storms I have had to face. If you’re like me, when times get tough, you may find comfort in church, in reading the Bible, or in a prayer group. Although I understand that faith is not on everyone’s go-to list in challenging times, I believe it’s really important to have someone, or something, to lean on when life feels overwhelming.

Finding Support When You Need It

Here are 3 other ways to get the support you need—when you need it the most:

  1. Talking with a therapist is always a good strategy for processing and working through your situation Their objective perspective can provide new insight that helps you find solutions, cope better, and build resilience.
  2. When you’re overwhelmed with stress—which many people are right now—I think it can be really valuable to take some time to reflect on your past successes. Think about what you did that helped you overcome adversity at other times in your life. Talk to the people who supported you then. Sometimes when you’re feeling mired in problems, it’s difficult to see your own strengths. But they are there, so use your journal to write down the small victories you experienced in the past when you were struggling to keep it together.
  3. I know that for some of you it can be hard to ask for help, especially if you’re the person who always seems to be helping out others. But that’s what friends—real friends—are for. We lift each other up and provide the needed connection and understanding to help one another get through difficult challenges.

Sometimes when you can’t see the light, others can help you find it again. Remember, there are people in your life who love you and care about you— you don’t have to go through tough times alone.

For more inspiration, order my new memoir, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child: How Persistence, Grit, and Faith Created a Reluctant Healer.

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