Whilst waiting in traffic, I was having a conversation with a human fixing up the road, whilst also waiting for another human to manually let me through (you know those lollipop sticks that say ‘Stop’ on one side and ‘Go’ on the other). I felt curious about what these seemingly emergent roadworks were about. In the conversation that followed, one sentence forged itself into my mind;
”It’s not dangerous just yet”
Those words are powerful and can be applied to therapy. Often therapy is sought as the last resort and everything imaginable is tried before asking for help, mostly. It’s courageous say those words ‘I need help’, but what caught me was the thought, ”It’s not dangerous just yet. I am managing, but I am at the end of my tether, next stop physical and emotional burnout”. I put my hands up, guilty. I do this too thinking, ”there’s just not enough time and responsibilities that just can’t be put aside”. I journal, walk, listen to music, curl up, distance myself, before I say, ”I need another human to hold some space for me, hear me, witness what is happening and support me, so I can start supporting myself”.
The talking process is phenomenal on its own accord. You start talking and slowly; if the listener doesn’t interrupt; you unfold and talk about one thing after the next. You explore so many routes that then lead you to the root. It’s like journeying from the leaf to the base of a tree. You’d find leaves that fall, tiny leaves, branches, twigs (dead ends), a whole glorious trunk with smooth, rough textured, woody bark. Then, there’s the root, exposed and vulnerable in a safe, trusting space. Maybe raw and ready to be uprooted, to be mourned having served its purpose, making way for something new. This metaphor fits well for the talking process, being aware of the root cause of distress is healing, but what next? I guess for me it’s conscious choice of what now. The realisation that there’s free soil, bask for a while and think.
My point is, don’t let it get dangerous and dire before reaching out, there’s no confirmation needed when there’s a spark of distress. Things don’t have to get so bad before saying, ”I need help”. It’s OK to be aware of feeling distress and not know what it’s about. Talking relieves distress, making space in your mind to figure out what it’s all about.
Reflection: How ‘dangerous’ does it have to get, before you permit yourself to seek help or reach out and just talk about it?