Imagine you’re walking along a familiar path. There’s a pretty deep hole in the ground, just like a well shaft. You’ve walked this path many, many times. You’ve fallen in occasionally but not every time, sure that’d be silly.
You’ve put up warning signs around the well; you’ve learned to tread carefully so that you won’t misstep again. You’re applying knowledge from previous falls and everything pretty much goes according to plan.
Occasionally you will still lose your footing and when you do fall, what happens is that you won’t have the strength to catch the walls and halt your fall on your own. By far the easier option is to roll into a ball and protect yourself from the inevitable bang that awaits you at the bottom. You convince yourself that once there you will gather your thoughts and consider your options for escape. Of course, the sensible option is to catch yourself mid-way so you’ve less of a distance to climb back up but you’re not thinking rationally, you’re in freefall.
Recently I missed the warning signs and fell. This time was different though. Instead of curling into a ball to protect myself from the impact, I used skills I’d learned from previous falls. Go me! Applied learning FTW!
What I did was I wrote about it here, I told everyone what was happening and do you know what happened? I stopped falling. I clung to the edge of the well and watched as so many people threw ropes to help me up. I’ve stumbled on some of those ropes and I’m still climbing but I refuse to stop climbing, I’m stubborn like that.
What have I learned this time? To talk, don’t just tell someone, you should tell everyone. The people around you won’t know you’re falling if you won’t tell them and they can’t help you if they don’t know. One rope just isn’t enough and it places far too much responsibility on the person holding it at the top. If you had any other illness that you live with and manage daily you’d tell them if it was flaring up, wouldn’t you? So tell them, tell each and every one of them and let them throw you a rope, and they will.
To everyone who called, texted, commented, provided company and identified with my words, thank you. It means so much to know others want me out of the well. I’m not there yet but without you all I’d be sitting at the bottom of that well, alone. Thank you.