Hours after I had to tell my husband that our house burned while I was out with the kids and he was at work, I asked him if we were ever going to laugh again. I sincerely felt that we would feel so sad for so long that we would not be able to have enjoyable moments again. (Thankfully we all were safe, but we lost almost all of our belongings. Story here.) The hubs replied with a smile, “Of course we are!” I wasn’t quite ready to believe him yet. The crisis that my family was living through was dark, deep and devastating for us.
Have you ever felt the devastation? Did you ever think that you would never be able to function normally again? That you couldn’t have fun again? Laugh? Or go back to the way things were? That the things or people or experiences which used to bring you joy were no longer? You may have never experienced a house fire like me, however a broken relationship, a struggle with a child, loss of employment or death of a loved one could be devastating.
Months later and a lot of laughter in our rearview mirror, today’s texts between my husband and I remind me of two really important things that can apply to anyone who has been through stressful times.
- Seek help. Not only did we need obvious help with clothes, food, shelter and even encouragement, we had to let go of our ego and accept help from friends, family and even strangers! Weeks after our fire, I sought a family psychologist. I wanted us all to have an expert help us process our loss, in an emotionally healthy manner for each of us. Our kids lost all of their toys, books, furniture, cuddlies, and 95% of their clothes. I feared how this would affect them in their future. I may be their Mom, but I am no expert in psychology. (Although one might assert my jedi mind tricks performed on my four year old may qualify….but I digress…). I did not think about what others might think of us, as a family, if they knew we needed a counselor. Instead of thinking of others, I put every thought into helping my family heal in a healthy manner. We are still in this process but it is going much better than if I were to take this on, by myself. This help I am discussing might be from a professional, but could certainly just be help from loved ones, neighbors, friends, colleagues or acquaintances. Who might be able to help you? Seek help when you need it. Period. No excuses. Do not give up until you have the help you need. And if you are reluctant to seek assistance because you are embarrassed or ashamed, read this article on the importance of accepting help!
- Don’t hide in fear. The cause of the fire was my mistake. People heard of our fire and wondered how it started. I was the one that had to explain, again and again, that I mistakenly left a burner on, placed a plastic cutting board on the stove top and went to the park with the kids. Our house was accidentally destroyed by my actions. I was the one that had to call my husband and tell him what happened. ..and it was all my fault. I was mortified. How could I be so stupid? Can you imagine trying to hide from all of that? I did not want to put my energy into trying to hide. Yes, I was embarassed and ashamed, but I wanted to put my energy into helping my family move on and rebuilding our home. Too often, when something happens that brings us to our knees, we can easily feel ashamed. Yet, I am finding that placing emphasis on our ego does not help us in the long run. You do not have to be ashamed and hide. Own what you are dealing with… and keep moving forward. Acknowledge your feelings, do not ignore them… just move forward in the healthiest of ways you can muster. Hold your head up and keep walking.
My family is much more important than my pride or ego. So, I blabbed to the world whenever it was appropriate that it was my mistake. Then I smiled, thanked whomever for their kinds words and walked away. Maybe you have a child who needs help but you are reluctant because of your frustration, disappointment or embarrassment. Think of who is most important. Those who may judge you or your child? If others look down of you for seeking help, that is more their problem than yours! Your priority is right where it needs to be. Now, this does not mean it has to be depressing and sad all the time. My husband and I are able to cope now by using humor.
Like today… my husband graciously confirmed our appointment time with our psychologist, which I now consider our hot date night. Our romantic nights out do not look the same as they used to, but for now this is perfectly okay with us!
Put your ego and fear aside. You will feel a lot happier and have renewed energy for what is really important in your life.