- If you feel you don’t know how much you can take, make an appointment to speak with a counselor or therapist.
- Be willing to let your guard down, speak freely, and be vulnerable.
- Take care and remember: All will be well.
It’s Sunday evening. Your children’s father dropped the kids off late and he’s complaining about something you forgot to pack. You apologize because it was not intentional, but he doesn’t care. It just gives him a reason to start an argument. You get the kids in and review homework (which should have already been completed on Friday when he picked them up). You make dinner, feed the children, get them ready for and guess what?! Now the five-year-old is having an all out meltdown because she cannot understand why she doesn’t see Daddy as much as she sees you. You attempt to comfort her to no avail. Finally, after about an hour you get her calm enough to cry herself to sleep. After cleaning the kitchen, getting school clothes ready for the week, and grading tests, you make it to bed around 11:30 p.m. You finally fall asleep around 1:00 a.m., only to be awoken shortly thereafter by a distraught five-year-old because she had a bad dream. Once you get her calm and back to bed, you stumble back through the darkness and hit your bed. You fall back asleep after 3:00 a.m.
It's Monday morning. Your alarm goes off like clockwork at 6:07 a.m. You hit snooze because, let’s face it, the three hours of sleep you got really isn’t giving you the warm and fuzzy feeling. The alarm goes off again at 6:13 a.m. You roll out of bed, wake up your sixteen-year-old son. Prepare the five- and seven-year-old girls’ toothbrushes and proceed to wake them. Neither of the girls are “morning people,” so the battle has just begun. After about 15 minutes of begging, pleading, and threatening, they FINALLY make their way to the bathroom. Now you can head to your bathroom to start getting ready. You haven’t been in your bathroom for five minutes when you hear screams, yells, and other distressed sounds coming from across the hall. It’s 6:37 a.m., the girls are fully awake now and at each other’s throats. You yell back and they eventually quiet down a little, long enough for them to come to your bathroom to wash up. They argue all the while, get dressed, and head downstairs. You give the usual instructions: “Get your socks, shoes, bookbags, and snack! Be ready to walk out the door when I get downstairs!” Twenty minutes later, you head downstairs and instruct the kids to head to the car only to find one has no shoes, another has no bookbag, and another can’t find her water bottle. It is now 7:33 a.m. and the school bell rings at 7:45 a.m. You collect all missing items, make sure all kids are accounted for, set the house alarm, and proceed to leave the house, only to realize the five-year-old thinks she left her jacket on the guinea pig cage. You take a deep breath, jump out of the almost moving minivan, run back though the garage, turn off the alarm, and race over to the cage for the jacket. Guess what’s not there? The jacket. You search downstairs, no jacket. You race upstairs and find said jacket lying on the floor of the girls’ bedroom, of course. You race back downstairs, repeat the previous exit steps, and race to school. It’s 7:44 a.m. You make it just in time to beat the bell. Oh yeah, you also realize that someone didn’t close their water bottle, so you now have a mini pond in the minivan. Oh well. You drop the girls off and head to the high school to drop off the 16-year-old. You tell him you love him, and he exits the van at 7:53 a.m. As you leave the parking lot, you notice his hydration bottle fell out of his bookbag, so you turn back around to give it to him. You now have seven minutes to make it to work by 8:00 a.m., and it’s a 12-minute drive. You haven’t even made it to work yet and you’re already exhausted. You finally make it to work at 8:05 a.m. only to find a letter of resignation on your desk from one of your team members. You start to review emails only to find that three of your five trials have completely fallen apart. It’s 8:30 a.m. and you still have seven and one-half hours left in your workday. Things continue to fall apart throughout the day. The only thing you can do is countdown to 5:00 p.m.
It's 5:00 p.m. You race home, pick up the girls from school and the 16-year-old from football practice. You get everyone home safely, make dinner, check homework, and start the evening routine. As usual, the girls fight the fact that they have to go to bed. It’s 8:42 p.m. and they are finally resting. All of this and it is only Monday! The week continues to throw obstacles your way for the remainder of the week, but it’s okay.
Despite the events of the week, you somehow manage to keep it together. How? Because you learned two and one-half years ago, when you started your divorce process, that you must talk to someone. First, you have to talk with God and then you must take the next step to speak with a licensed professional to help you understand how to: (1) react to the issues, and (2) control the way you choose to handle them. You must be willing to let your guard down, speak freely, and be vulnerable. You must be willing to go against what is considered normal.
In some cultures, specifically the African American culture, seeking mental health assistance was unheard of and not even an option. Not because professionals didn’t exist, but because it could be seen as having a lack of faith. If you have a problem, you pray on it. The only person you discussed your problems with was God. I rely heavily on my faith, but I disagree with that mindset to an extent.
Growing up in the church, I was taught at an early age that when I have a problem the first thing I do is take it to God and pray on it. My disagreement is with the idea to stop there. I pray to God for help and guidance. I’m sure we have all heard that “He helps those who help themselves,” and I strongly believe that is true. God created helpers on earth—doctors, lawyers, and mental health professionals. Because I recognized I needed help, I had to look past what others thought about seeking help from a therapist/counselor. I had to muster up courage to be vulnerable, let down my guard, and release what was troubling me. I will admit it was not easy at first, but the more I shared, the better I felt. I now see a professional counselor every other week and it has changed my life. My decision has made me a better mother, friend, and person.
If you feel the weight of the world pressing down on you and feel as if you’re going to break, or you don’t know how much you can take, STOP. Take a break from the world, the drama, the stress, and make an appointment to speak with a counselor or therapist. I utilized my company’s EAP program, but our state bar association also has a program. All programs are at no cost to the party in need. If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to your state bar association to learn what resources they offer. If that does not work, reach out to your company’s benefits department to see what services are available. There are resources out there. You must be willing to acknowledge you need assistance and then seek a professional.
If you’re reading this and you don’t know what to do, PLEASE seek help. If you can’t find anyone else to talk with, call me. If nothing else, I’m a great listener and we can work on finding you a professional together.
Take care and remember: All will be well.