If I had to write a personal bio of my skills and abilities, one of those would be my reliability. I have always considered myself to be reliable. Outside of sleeping through alarms, and occasionally forgetting to turn up to my retail shifts at the right time when I was 16, I am and have always been, pretty dependable.
It has taken a rough year for me to see that I have internalised this reliable status. Instead of it being a positive attribute, it has become my inability to delegate or to reach out to others to provide help and support. The conversations I have in my head are terrifying sometimes, and for the longest time, I have been stuck with them, believing them and acting how they make me feel.
If I need to be reminded of something, then you know it is in my generous nature to remind you too! We gain nothing by absorbing all our own stress and struggles - somehow we have learned to present a calm and collected facade that hides a world of swirling stress and turmoil.
I thought I was being strong, resilient, and an adult. But in fact, I was creating an uptight environment that left me as a workaholic, who was incredibly unpleasant to be around! If that isn't a hard truth to face, then I don't know what is!
When we are stressed and anxious because we are trying to solve every single problem at any given moment, we can create a difficult environment for others to be around. I am always horrific the day before big travel - truly a spiralling mess - to help you picture this think of being stuck on a 6hr cross-country train, with broken aircon, 16 crying babies and no headphones. Yeah, it can be very rough!!
The only way this has ever improved is by reaching out to people, talking about how I feel, and allowing other people’s approaches to situations to help me. We don’t need to be a resolute island, strong because we don’t ask for help, in fact, we’re probably making ourselves ill. We need to release that emotion, and see that sharing our worries is true strength. This process will help us far more than internalising ever could.
So send the email to say you’re anxious and need help. Pick up the phone and call a friend to get their opinion. Tell your woes to your mum, and ignore the I told you so look, as they help you unpick the mess you have got yourself into yet again.
None of us needs to struggle in the name of false resilience - so don't!
Shot by Ruth Pechey