Tonight I was on my face book page when I noticed a post from the National Suicide Prevention Life Line. Instead of scrolling through the feed, I stopped when I noticed someone’s post. “I talked to a hot line, it didn’t help, and I don’t want to try anymore.” I know how frustrating it can be to want someone to listen. I recognize that sometimes the resources we choose may not always be what we need the first time. I also want to offer reassurances that it is important to try again. Sometimes there are computer glitches. Other times we may not connect with the person who is on the other line. Keep trying! There are as many counselors available as there are personalities. Everyone has a different communication style and experiences. You will find the right one! It is worth the time it takes to make that call!
So tonight I also promised those who touched my heart that I would offer a story for them to read in the morning. It is a simple one that I came up with on a moments notice when my 8-year-old was having a hard time focusing on his homework the other day. He has a lot on his mind, and was worried to the point of distraction. I can relate to that!
We were waiting for his tutor to arrive, and I desperately wanted him to finish an assignment for math. I realized pretty quickly that it just wasn’t going to happen unless I figure out how he could release some of those worries. So I looked at him and softened my voice.
“Son, look at me. I wonder if you need to tell me what’s on your mind so we can figure out how to study today.”
“Mom, I just don’t know how to do this math.”
“Well, please think of 3 things that are on your mind that may get in the way of completing this assignment.”
I held my hands together in front of me with the palms facing up…cupped to hold something.
“Now, tell me those 3 things that are on your mind and put them into my hands. I will hold them for you and keep them safe so that you won’t have to worry about them while you focus on your study session.”
He giggled a little and smiled, then listed his worries into my hands.
“I am worried that I won’t see my friends at school before it ends, since I am on home bound instruction.”
“I got this. We’ll talk about it later and figure out a plan so you can visit your friends.”
“I am worried that we have to move soon. I want to fix up my new room but I can’t do that if we don’t know where we’re going yet.”
“O.K. I’ll hold on to this for you, too. Mommy will make sure we have a place to stay and it will be fun to decorate your room together.”
“And I’m worried that I won’t get home in time to watch ‘The Flash’ on television tonight.”
“I’ve got this. I will make sure we get home on time, because your session ends 30 minutes before the show starts.”
Carefully, I closed my hands around the “worries” and held them close. I promised that we would discuss all his concerns after his tutoring session. I then placed them carefully into my journal, which he knows is very special to me. (All my important thoughts and concerns get written in that journal.)
He immediately picked up that pencil and started on his math problems.
We talked later before bedtime.
This is an important part of our daily routine, usually at bedtime. It helps when he is able to download all his concerns for the day. Many of us experience the same types of swirling emotions and thoughts in the evening. When we are still and quiet, those moments become our worry times.
Some helpful hints:
- Journaling – Spend a few minutes each evening to write it out.
- Keep a worry box where you can write on index cards or post it notes. Tell yourself it is time to box those worries until you can speak with someone who is close to you or a professional counselor who is trained to help you indentify some coping skills
- Have a book or list of inspirational quotes that offer a feeling of peace during moments of stress.
- Develop a special phrase, word, poem, story that can help you refocus if you find yourself pulled down by overwhelming feelings and worries. This “cue” can help get you over the rough spots.
- Use post it notes to high light all the amazing things you CAN do and HAVE accomplished. Make sure they are visible. Place those “Post its” on a mirror, closet, refrigerator, etc… It’s important to give yourself visual reminders.
- Music – Listen to something soothing, relaxing, or with an energizing rhythm. Music can be healing. Selection is key. (If you need advice of what works best, consult a music therapist or a counselor who can make recommendations based on his/her knowledge of your unique situation.)
- Exercise – Natural endorphins kick in and can help boost your mood. You don’t have to join a gym, but sometimes being around others can be motivating. Home programs are also available. Libraries may offer free check outs of workout videos.
- Books – I love checking out books that tell a story similar to mine. Seeing how other characters deal with challenges helps me view that a situation can and does change for the better.
- Find websites and blog posts that encourage you to see that you are not alone. Looking to others who are struggling and surviving is a great boost for morale.
- Surround yourself with supportive, loving, and encouraging individuals or resources that will strengthen your foundation. Negative energy that exhausts you is not always easy to elimintate. Try to avoid those who pull you down with their remarks when possible. If you are in a situation where it’s unavoidable, make sure you balance with your own dose of sunshine from other sources.
I know it can feel like you are alone when times get tough. Please know that you do have people praying/wishing for your intentions. It may not always turn out exactly as you want, but the answer will come. When I pray for something, I pray that the right people will enter the picture who can lead, guide, inspire, and offer solutions. Sometimes it’s what I want and other times it’s something totally different. Either way, the challenge resolves.
Please consider speaking with a trained professional if concerns are weighing you down and preventing you from fulfilling your life’s purpose. (or from getting sleep)
Disclaimer: I am not a certified professional counselor. I am simply someone who cares. Please call a qualified therapist to obtain information that can be tailored to your individual needs. Thank you for taking time to read this blog site. I welcome your insights and inspirations for future posts.