I have friends. Yes I actually do have friends. Some of my friends have issues. You think? Come on friends you know who you are. I have issues. You think? I think at some level everyone has issues. Just because we don’t see everyone’s issues doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
I have shared small pieces of my own personal struggles recently. I am thankful for some of life’s struggles as, not only have they made me stronger, they have helped me to realize how truly blessed I am in this world to have so many people there willing to help me along.
I am thankful to be able to learn how to heal myself and even more grateful that I am able to share practices I have learned that have helped me to recover.
One thing I have found is peer support groups. They exist for all nature of issues. Another thing I have found to be extremely helpful is exercise, both cardio and strength. If you have to choose one take the cardio.
Remaining active can be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding items in the growing list of self help techniques along with remaining humble. The reason remaining active can be so hard for people with mental health disorders, especially depression, is because there can be days when you can’t seem to even lift your head off the pillow let alone stay active. I have found that setting tasks, however minor or mondain is helpful. It could be something as small as getting up and going outside for a walk. Remaining humble may entail such major tasks as actually asking for help or letting loved ones know what you are thinking.
The most recent item that I have discovered is in being of service to others. Just plain trying to help others for no apparent reason and for seemingly no personal gain. This can be tricky as human nature leads us to be suspicious of others offering unsolicited assistance. It can be hard to explain that you just want to help as THAT helps yourself. Regardless I persist in my efforts. Along the way I have had the opportunity to learn about strength in others. Strengths people don’t even know that they posses.
One friend, recently, within the past two years, experienced a very traumatic event. She has come so far in her recovery. She is so much stronger than she knows. Recently she has been struggling to get up and go. I know this feeling. It’s a heavy weight that holds your soul and body down. She asked if a few people could send her a text in the AM to give her a push. I send a text each morning. Had to set an alarm in my cell to remind me. Takes a second. The thing is I don’t think this friend has any idea of how much this helps me.
Another good friend of mine became paralyzed at a young age. He is strong. Incredible strong. He has used his injury and his platform to advocate for research as well as to raise funds. He helps countless others. He has reached out to others that have become paralyzed, usually within 24 / 47 hours of their injury, to provide words of encouragement. He does this quietly, in the background with no fanfare. I have been blessed to be able to volunteer my photography services at no fees to almost everyone of his charity events for almost a decade. Every time we finish an event I always make sure I tell him “Thank you” and I know he gets it.
Another friend is struggling with cancer, but is fighting harder than anyone I have ever seen fight. She is tough as nails and as positive and optimistic as a person can be. Period. The other day as we chatted, she mentioned that she travels for treatment and has been accepted into a new clinical trail. I asked her if I could take her back and forth. She obliged. We have had long meaningful conversations. She already knew this is just as much for my benefit as it is for hers. As I write this piece I am sitting in the MSK waiting room while my brave strong optimistic friend is receiving her treatment. Her biggest worry today was that she would get us stuck in rush hour traffic on the way home if this new treatment takes to long. I told her not to worry, I have all day and all night. I’m just waiting on a friend.