“Come as you are /
As you were /
As I want you to be…”
– Nirvana, “Come as You Are”
In recent months, my mental health hasn’t been the first thing on my long list of “priority” items. My job, my house, my pets, my marriage: all of those things have come before me, and before reminding myself to check in every once in a while and ask myself, honestly, “are you alright?”
Now, it can be a good thing to put others before ourselves. I’ve found that, especially in my marriage, putting my partner before myself is extremely important. I’m lucky to say that my partner does the same for me, as well, but there were still too many other things getting in the way of my mental health that shouldn’t have been all this time.
Long story short: my first “career” pathway job has been great, but it’s taken up a very large part of my time and, therefore, my life. I’ve often let it come between myself and my mental health; checking my email obsessively (even on weekends), allowing the “small stuff” to stress me to the max, and so on. It hasn’t been good for my health, for one, and neither has losing my support system by moving to a new city and starting a new job (as well as getting married) all in the same year. Life has been crazy, and I stopped making time for Miranda in the midst of it all.
This, of course, resulted in me having a really, really terrible time this past weekend when it all came crashing down on me. I was depressed, distraught, and my husband and friends noticed that I just wasn’t myself. I needed help, and I had to reach out at some point and put a stop to all this. Essentially, this is where the “come as you are” part of this comes in to play: I needed to reach out and ask for help in some way, but I was too worried about what people would think about me to do so. This weekend, though, changed that.
I decided to reach out to old friends online, only having my husband here with me in this new, crazy city. My husband has been great, but even he encouraged me to let my old friends and former support system back home know that my depression had been flaring up again (with a vengeance), and that I hadn’t been as well lately as I’d lead everyone on to believe. A little worried and a bit embarrassed, I reached out with trepidation and basically said, “Friends, I need help. I’m not well right now and I want to be well again”.
Embarrassed and feeling a little defeated, I tucked my tail between my legs and headed home after an absolutely cruddy travel day at Philadelphia International Airport. To my surprise, my phone began to light up. Friends both old and new began to reach out, texting and calling and simply asking, “Are you okay?”
My heart swelled. I realized that, had I only been less embarrassed and less worried about reaching out and admitting that I needed help a little earlier, I would already be in a much better place mentally. My family and friends, and even some mere acquaintances, showed me nothing but love and support that afternoon and into the rest of the weekend. They really lifted my spirits and allowed me to vent out my emotions, but also simply reminded me that my existence was valid, that I wasn’t “crazy” for feeling what I’d been feeling, that I did matter, etc.
So, what does this all have to do with some random Nirvana lyric? Well, it’s simple: allow your friends, family, and even complete strangers to “come as (they) are”. So many of us are broken, or hurting, or even doing alright but had a really terrible-awful-no-good-very-bad-day, and could use a helping hand. The problem is, sometimes we’re ashamed to come to one another in all our brokenness and all our mess. We are afraid what someone might say about us, what someone might think about us, that we will look “weak”, etc. but I’m telling you, friends: reaching out is the best thing you can do when you are feeling overwhelmed.
So, reach out. Reach out to a stranger, a friend, a family member, a pastor, a mentor, a teacher, whoever you feel most comfortable with. Reach out to the person who will allow you to “come as you are”, with no judgment and with no questions asked.
Moreover, be that person for someone. Be the friend, the family member, the stranger, the mentor, etc. that allows people to come to them without judgement, without hesitation or trepidation, without fear… allow people to “come as (they) are” to you, when you’re in a good place. It might just mean the world to someone; you really never know how much of an impact lending a listening ear or a comforting word can help someone in need.
With all that being said, a special “thanks” goes out to my husband, my friends, and my family that continue to relentlessly support and show me love every single day. I love you all and I’m glad to know I have a strong, loving group of people to reach out to when I’m feeling just plain bad.
So, who are you going to reach out to this week? Who are you going to check in on? Who are you going to hug, to text, to call, etc? It might mean more than you’ll ever know.
Love, Miranda Martin – xx.