Ask a friend.
Me, ask for help? Seriously, I’m not weak. Oh, I used to say these things to myself. Yes I did. I truly believed that because I was always helping everyone else, that if I asked for help, I was weak. I know it sounds as silly as me reading this back and realizing that it is complete b.s.
Asking for help, asking a friend to listen, is the equivalent of saying can you please be there for me. Though this seems like it is self-explanatory, for First Responders, it is as foreign subject matter. Why am I so sure? Well, I have been a police officer for twenty-four years, and my job has been to always help everyone else. I had to figure out their problems, help my family figure things, out, I became the strong figure in everyone’s life. Then the day came I needed to ask for help, and I was embarrassed to do that. Yep, embarrassed. How could I ask anyone for help when I am supposed to be the “it” person, the “strong” person.
It was so hard to do. I sat for hours figuring out how I was going to ask someone to help me deal with a situation in my life. I thought about all the people who were involved and how I didn’t want anyone to think of me as “weak.” I definitely did not want them to say that I was “crazy.” Which for the record, there’s always going to be someone with an opinion. Someone who has something to say about everything. STOP. Realize that you are not doing this for them. You are doing it for yourself. You are doing this because you need support.
Back to being “the” person I want to tell you that you still are. You are “the” person. You just needed a break from all of it. You needed to take care of yourself and handled it. It is important to realize that we are human beings, and that we feel stuff. We are just like everyone else except we also are doing something that not all can do. Give yourself credit for that to start with. I mean seriously, you are out there doing things that other people can never do. Not everyday is perfect. What life is? Not every day will be easy. This is what every person out here experiences. But not every day is a day for you to bottle stuff up, and not let someone in. You have to let someone in to release the things that are holding you back. I did it. I decided to let someone in and that person changed my life. I didn’t want anyone to know. I was embarrassed. In my head I believed that anyone that goes to therapy is crazy and weak. Boy was I wrong. First of all, I am not crazy, and I am not weak. Repeat those words to yourself. You are not crazy or weak. You just need someone to help you through something. Look at it as asking a friend for advice, who is going to guide you through it, and then slowly help you back into it.
Words that I live by are, that it is not my business what other people think of me. I am not sure who this quote belongs to, but for a long time I had to read it several times a day. The hardest part for most of us is thinking about what other people think of our decisions. What they are going to say. How they are going to judge us. Why does any of that matter. If you are at the point that you need a friend, those people that you are worried about. They are not your friends. They are not your people.
Today, I ask you to ask a friend if you need them. Ask them to hold you up. To guide you. And I promise that you will feel so much better. Sometimes these things take time, but they are worth it.
I want to tell you that there are many people out here who want to help. They are in the form of other police officers that have lived through what you’ve been through. Sometimes you only need a person to listen and that is all it takes.
Mindfulness for First Responders group is a private group for First Responders, family, & Friends https://www.facebook.com/groups/Mindfulnessforfirstresponders
Stay safe friends and check out the links below. Don’t do it alone.