This was me a couple of weeks ago...
Doesn't even look like the normal me does it?
Purely 100% stress induced.
I'd been holding on and trying to be strong for far too long. Not asking for help. Never having a break. Taking everything onto my broad strong shoulders, far too 'brave' to succumb to the overwhelm, anxiety, panic attacks that I had 'indulged in' in the past.
What a load of bullshit! What was I trying to prove? How strong I was? Or how weak I wasn't?
It's not weakness to ask for help. It's not weakness to step away from what is killing you.
Over this time I honestly felt like I was going to stroke out or have a heart attack. My frontal lobes throbbed. I was having fainting spells from the hole in my heart brought on by the stress, and was just not coping.
This was quite a regular thing for me over the past few years. Usually leading me to want to drink. I never did though. No matter how hard things got. It was almost like I was creating drama and stress, to make things so hard that I would want to drink, just to prove I was so strong, that I wouldn't.
How. Fucking. Stupid!
Certainly nothing new for me though. I'd been suicidal before, but did I really want death by stress? If I'm honest, brutally honest... it was sooooo my style... I could see my tombstone now...
Nicole Died Caring More About Others Than Herself.... how fucking noble!
I stood back, took a deep breath and looked at why I was doing this to myself.
That's right, I was doing it to myself!
Stupid huh? Not always consciously, but there was certainly some Victim/Martyr crap running in the background.
I'd literally built a business around it! Two actually if I include the music industry.. where I literally just did "stuff" for bands, promoters, whoever. Because I thought it would be returned in kindness... but that's another story for another day. But basically, helping people was "my thing".
But... there was one question I had been asking myself over the last few years that just wouldn't go away...
Who am I if I'm not helping everyone?
Who am I if I'm not going above and beyond?
Who am I if I'm not offering everyone around me support, counselling, lending money, offering to help etc?
Oh that's right, I'm just ME.
And that's not enough for some people. And that's OK.
What I needed to learn was not how to be enough so people love me, but that I am enough for me, I am enough for the handful of people who truly love me, just the way I am... ever changing, ever evolving. Even if I was a lump on the couch not doing anything for them. Nothing. Nada. Zero.
When I was jumping to people's rescue, I was doing them more harm than good.
I was dis-empowering them, not helping them at all.
I was stopping them from finding solutions for themselves.
Stopping them from stepping up, from working hard with their backs to the wall.
Stopping them from taking responsibility and stepping back, taking a deep breath and asking for help.
I was jumping in before they had a chance to resolve their issues themselves, because then they needed me. And I needed to be needed.
I learnt this from a young age. Help people and they'll help you. They'll like you. They'll need you. And they will be there for you when you need them.
Except they weren't.
And when I stopped helping, they disappeared.
All of my life I ran that pattern over and over again. Asking myself why people disappear when I can't afford to keep lending them money or if I can't keep counselling them for free because my paying customers were missing out on the best version of me because I was fried.
Or why after doing lots and lots of work for people, for nothing, when it came time that they could afford to pay someone, they never chose me. After all the hard work I'd put in.
Because I didn't value myself, so why should they?
And that's not their fault, I didn't ask for anything in return, I thought I already had it. Friendship.
However, friendship isn't about saving people. It's not about giving them what YOU think THEY need. It's not about being a hero, or being there so they will be there for you when you need it. Because they won't be.
It's about loving them, just as they are, no judgement, supporting them to support themselves, empowering them to empower themselves. And not wanting or needing anything in return. Or at least, not out of obligation.
That was a hard pill to swallow and a hard lesson to learn.
Because I thought I wasn't enough if I wasn't doing everything for everybody.
I wasn't enough if I didn't drop everything.
I wasn't enough if I didn't give people my last dollar.
Then I realised....
There was only one person who needed saving.
Until I learnt... I AM ENOUGH.