From the comments and emails I received, Terry Waite’s story of anxiety and depression moved a lot of people. It reminded each of us how fragile we are ... no matter what our façade. I have written countless times about ‘being the man’ and ‘manning up’, but we still have emotions and we all handle situations differently.
Over the last few months several spouses and significant others have contacted me. They were frustrated or hurt that the recently diagnosed men in their lives wouldn’t talk about how they are feeling. Each could see that their man was not handling it well. They all wanted to help, but felt shut out and unable to ‘be there’ for the person they love. It must be a terrible feeling watching a loved one go through something a traumatic as this and yet be unable to help.
Having someone to share your feelings with is an important part of the healing and acceptance process. I use the term ‘healing’ because the news often scars us mentally and emotionally. Before we can accept our situation, we must first heal our emotional wounds. The healing process is not easy and is often a painful experience. It is even more difficult when there is no one to share your thoughts and concerns with.
So, why do we push away the person we love the most? Do we really believe we can protect them by not talking? Or, do we believe that opening up will somehow change their impression of who we are?
Whatever the reason, it is wrong. At a time like this, our loved ones need more than ever to be let into our private world. They cannot help if we don’t allow them to know what is happening and what we are thinking. And, we need to come to terms with the fact that going down this path alone will cause more harm than good.
What happens if you do not have a spouse or significant other? Then seek out a good friend or family member that you trust. You’ll know who that is.
Further, if the situation remains problematic even after sharing then seek help from a professional. That doesn’t always mean a psychologist. It could mean your doctor, pastor, rabbi, or cleric.
The idea is to change your perspective because when something like this happens we tend to see the worst. It becomes difficult to focus on anything positive because we are feeding ourselves a bunch of ‘worst case’ scenarios. I will use an old programmers saying, “Garbage in = garbage out.” Our thoughts often become our worst enemy. And, that is why we must have someone to share your thoughts with.
The right person can help us work through our erroneous thoughts and be there for us as we move forward with out lives.