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From an early age we are bombarded with the idea that the goal in life is to be comfortable. As soon as we get that promotion, as soon as we get married, as soon as life settles down, then we can relax and enjoy life.
What takes many of us so long to learn is there is always an excuse. There will always be things vying for our attention. Life never settles down, but that is good news because being uncomfortable means we are growing.
A new job can be stressful because you are learning new skills and putting them into practice for the first time. You risk failure and feel vulnerable, but that is also what makes success so rewarding.
For people struggling with depression, anxiety, or addiction, getting healthy always involves getting uncomfortable and getting vulnerable.
It is unavoidable, and if you are waiting for a convenient time to ask for help or to take the initiative you are going to be disappointed. We can’t put it off. We have to be willing to say “I will not let this take another day away from me.”
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I’m not saying that we have to take drastic measures. Getting healthy is absolutely a process, but that means we have to be making progress. If we relapse, we have to tell someone. We can’t just act like it was a fluke and keep it to ourselves and put on a smile. We have to value our well-being more than we value what others think about us, and that is seriously uncomfortable.
When I first spoke to my parents about my depression and self-harm, it wasn’t on my terms.
My friends thought I was seriously going to hurt myself and told an authority figure who was legally obligated to tell my parents. I knew something was wrong as soon as they ambushed me at the door when I got home from school, asking me how my day was with plastic smiles. I said it was fine and proceeded to push my way past them to my room. Then they followed me. “What is it?” I asked. “What are you doing?” They said my student pastor had called and my friends were worried about me. I could tell they knew everything.
“I am not talking about this,” stammering as I forced my way past them again as I briskly marched down the stairs and to the door. As I climbed into my car and started the ignition, I realized I had nowhere else to go. I had a decision to make. I took a deep breath, and prepared for the most awkward conversation of my life. My parents were patiently waiting for me on the couch. My Mom was crying. It was painfully uncomfortable. I just wanted to crawl in a hole and go away. Both of my parents cried. I couldn’t even look at them.
It was, without a doubt, the most important conversation of my life, and by the end of it I had never felt more loved.
“We will figure this out together as a family,” my Mom said. I had no doubt that we would. It made all the difference in the world to know I had the encouragement and support of my parents as I took the necessary steps to get better. From going to a psychologist to medication, to exercising and talking with friends, they were so encouraging every step of the way.
And each step was very uncomfortable.
I want to encourage anyone who is struggling with depression, anxiety, or addiction to step out of what is comfortable and have that awkward conversation with your friend, parents, or spouse (and yes, it will be awkward).
It is a simple conversation, but it is life-changing, and it will be the first in a series of awkward conversations and uncomfortable baby steps that will lead to healing, and I promise your relationships will never be the same.
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