Take Care

Today’s Daily Prompt is: When you’re unwell, do you allow others to take care of you, or do you prefer to soldier on alone? What does it take for you to ask for help?

My boyfriend says I don’t need him. He believes that if he walked out tomorrow I wouldn’t care. And in some ways he’s right.

If he walked out tomorrow, I’d be okay. I have come back from my lowest point, dragging myself kicking and screaming from rock bottom, and it has given me an odd strength. A kind of zen. I know that, no matter what, I will be okay. If I can survive those dark days then I can survive anything. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t stare into the face of adversity screaming “bring it on” – I’m desirous of a quiet life with some measure of contentment. But knowing that I have survived when all I wanted to do was give up, gives me a sense of calm about the future and more importantly, about things that I cannot change.

If my boyfriend left me tomorrow I would be devastated, but I would not die. If I lost my job tomorrow I would be disappointed, but I would not crumble. If a family member was diagnosed with an illness I would be worried, but I would not go under. Knowledge is power. Knowledge that you are strong is the most powerful of all. I would not trade my own faith in my ability to survive for anything.

The thing that I think my boyfriend doesn’t understand about all of this is that giving me the space to reconfirm my own strength is his gift to me. Of course I know he’s there. Of course I know he supports me. I need him. I need him every day. Not to shoulder my burdens, but to silently watch me shoulder them, ready to catch me if I should fall.

Take Care

14 thoughts on “Take Care

  1. Wow. For starters, I love the way you articulate your thoughts. You write it just the way I’m always looking to read it, if you catch me.

    I relate so well to your posts. And that gives me some great relief. I know there is a least one person out there who understands my struggles and who knows the strength I privately know I possess because I’ve survived every battle, even if I have yet to win the war. That is precisely what I hoped to find when I started blogging about my depression: others who could relate. Nothing more.

    The following will look like a plug, but it’s not meant to be (easy to say, I know, but if you just trust me on this, I think I’ll prove this is much more than an attempt to gather followers). Anyway, if you’ve read anything I’ve written, you’d know that (a) I don’t censor my thoughts so as to tailor them for some ‘target’ audience, and (b) I try my best to articulate, as honestly as possible, those thoughts and feelings that I’m always just brimming to get ‘out there’, somewhere.

    Have you checked out my recently resuscitated (after more than 2 years) running and nutrition blog (http://barefeetandrawfood.wordpress.com)? Perhaps you have. The reason I mention it is this: I now understand that running (and other exercise, but especially long-distance running) has helped me stay strong over the years, although I’ve always let it sort of peeter out instead of persistently training.

    Just yesterday, I went for my weekly long run. Was supposed to be 13 km of rural hills/mountains/valleys. Turned into a 20-K run and I had lots of mental and physical energy left after that too. Because I hit the so-called ‘zone’. I reached a point where it became effortless.

    I had combined all of my knowledge from years of training and researching about form and efficiency, and I had been repeating these running ‘mantras’ for over an hour, and I became aware as I was running 10 km uphill, that I wasn’t tired, that I felt great, in fact, and I was just where I needed to be at that moment in time.

    At (and past) dusk, with the cool mountainous air supporting my every stride, with this incredible scenery that I was viewing for the first time (because I let my legs take me wherever they wish), and I was on top of it all: my depression, my broken-down relationship (more on that as a comment to your newest post, soon), all the feelings of anger/shame/guilt that often come all bundled up together, the notion that I’ve only failed at everything in life, or ruined everything that I had achieved.

    I was simply alive, and strong, and capable of anything. Even just about getting lost in the countryside after nightfall didn’t worry me much at all. I knew what I’ve known at some point during the many descents into the abyss in my life: I’m a survivor. It’s our most basic instinct. If we turn on that, we lose, plain and simple.

    And, as far as the boyfriend situation, I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been using relationships for years now to hide from some loneliness that lives in me, always has. But I always thought I was supposed to fear it, or just naturally did without thinking, but now I strongly feel that I need it. I need to be alone, to be fiercely independent and wildly ME! My relationships fail because of the depressions that suck all feeling I have for the person out of my body and my life, but they also fail, in part, because I always resent that thing in me that keeps needing someone there to keep me ‘safe’. It’s the being safe part that is keeping me from really becoming who I was meant to be.

    Here’s an analogy: You’re on a plane that’s been calling Mayday! Mayday! to no avail and the plane is going to crash sooner or later. But you have the option to jump with a chute. The jump scares the bejeezus out of most people, but it’s probably the only way to survive. Most will hold on to the idea that *maybe* the plane can still be saved, or that the crash landing will be successful and some or all of the passengers will survive. For me, it has to be the chute. It’s an active choice. It says ‘I take control of my destiny.’

    And once in free fall, your life feels realer than ever, and you realize you are alone and don’t know how this will work out, or what comes next, but you know you made the right decision. Indeed, you see the plane crash off in the distance. It saddens you, but it also reinforces the feeling inside of you, the instinct to be strong. You jumped, therefore you are strong.

    This isn’t relationship advice (I’m far from an expert on that matter, although who trusts the so-called experts, anyway?). It’s me being honest with a fellow human being that I’ve learned to respect through his/her writing. Instincts are of the utmost importance to the strong, the survivors.


    1. I love your positive attitude. And thank you so much for your complimentary words. I’ve had a crappy day with sinus and a burn from a being a clumsy so and so, and this has put a massive smile on my face so thanks.

      I actually spotted your post on running in my reader and I thought “holy crap, 20K”. I recently attempted the couch to 5K as I know there is so much research about exercise & depression, but I gave up after two days because I felt so bad. However, I was in the middle of a down period. Perhaps now, while feeling up, would be a good time to try again. Failure is easier to deal with when you’re in a good space!

      It’s great to you feel strong and that your running helps you to build on this. Actually a great book I recently started to flick through is ‘Depressive Illness, the curse of the strong’ by Tim Cantopher. I really love his take on things – maybe we are actually incredibly strong and not weak and ill as society would deem us!


      1. Re: positive attitude: quite often, NOT. I just want to push myself ,out of the most basic instict: to survive. And because the people I admire the most turn(ed) lemons into lemonade, as they say. Using the negative energy of bad situations to propel themselves in some direction, slingshotting themselves outside of the proverbial ‘box’.


      2. Re: running/exercise: baby steps are the key. I’ve been training in barefoot/minimalist running for a few years, slowly building up the strength in my feet and legs. And the endurance (i.e., running long distances), that has to be built up bit-by-bit too. That’s why I was shocked to hit the magic ‘zone’ last Sunday and effortlessly run 20 K (the last half of which was uphill) and not even feel exhausted afterwards. I usually add 1 K to my long runs each week, sometimes not even adding. That’s what all the so-called experts tell you to do. But my diet (and knowing when to consume a lot of simple carbs in the form of fruit) allows me to recover more quickly from exercise, while my running style allows for great efficiency (if I train conscientiously) and conservation of energy.

        Re: the book: Sounds really interesting. I’d like to check it out … if I can get myself to start reading books again, that is. I think there are two types of (chemically/biologically) depressed folks: those who hate losing to it and fight their asses off to crush it, and those who do nothing and wallow in self-pity and sink further and further into a hole. I’m the former type. I hate that the ‘thing’ has dominated me for so long and likely will continue to if I don’t fight harder. I don’t want to be considered mentally ill. As much as I love all those who are afflicted with mental illness, I still don’t want to accept that I’m one of ‘them.’ But I know it deep inside me, always have; I am. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to lay down and give up the ghost. Many great artists left brilliant works behind them when before they succombed to the darkness. I’m not saying I will allow that to happen to me, but I WILL FIGHT to the bitter end.

        If my depression wins, I’m taking it down with me. And my legacy will be everything I produced from all the battles.

        So far, doesn’t look like much, but I’m shifting gears this year. :o)


  2. Wow! Thank you for this. Going through a little weird patch right now; but you’ve just reinforced those pillars. Felt like I’d lost myself for a bit, but reading what you just wrote reminded me of all those things that I had been working towards and pushing upwards for and believed in. Thank you. (Sorry, that whole thing may have sounded a bit weird; but seriously, thank you)


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