Asking for help

I’m told that asking for help is one of the strongest things that a person can do.  There is a strength in the vulnerability that comes from admitting that you can’t do something by yourself.  It’s an indication that you’re not perfect… not the self-sufficient island of invincibility that you’d like to think you are.

It stinks.

It hurts.

It feels impossible.

Over the last few months, I’ve had the urge to cut off my hands during therapy.  I know that this is about wanting to reach out for help, and not being able to do so.  It’s about punishing those parts of myself who want to reach out.  It’s about not allowing weakness.

I learned early on in life that weakness was not acceptable, and made life difficult.  Any sign of weakness could be used against me.  If I was scared of something, then I could be taunted with it.  If something hurt, then it could be prodded.  I was confused by being hurt by people that, five minutes earlier, had been laughing and teasing me.  All of this meant that I saw my only option as being to draw inward, and showing no outward sign of vulnerability.  I was often called stuck-up while I was growing up, mainly because I did everything possible to keep myself separate from those around me.  I didn’t think that I was better than anyone else, I just didn’t trust anyone (including myself); so my only protection was to withdraw and project a veneer of invincibility.

That veneer of invincibility is now being threatened.  There’s a needy part of me wanting to reach out to others for help.  But that is being resisted.  I’m showing more signs of dysfunctional coping.  I’ve withdrawn any meaningful communication with everyone.  I’m having to take medication every morning, just to face the prospect of work.  I’ve withdrawn as much contact with people as is possible.  All I’m doing, is trying to fly under the radar.

This is the contradiction that I’m living with – needing to fly under the radar, which by definition, means being self-sufficient and invisible; and parts of me needing help.

One is seen by society as being strong; the other weak.

One has kept me alive for the last 30 odd years; the other is what led to so much pain in the past, that I don’t know if I can go there again.

Even if I wanted to ask for help, I don’t think that I know how to do so.  The stumbling efforts that I’ve made towards asking for help, have been a disaster.  I’ve sent emails which have been misread and caused more pain.  I’ve called crisis lines, and not been able to communicate how badly I’m coping, or ended up in the Police holding cells.  I’ve gone online to talk to friends, but ended up being unsafe instead.  So I obviously don’t know how to ask for, or accept, help.  I don’t know what positive help looks like, and I’ve lost all sense of safety.

But, I’m still turning up to work everyday.  I’m still playing the game.

Now playing: Adele – Rolling In The Deep
via FoxyTunes


48 thoughts on “Asking for help

  1. Although I am not very good at saying the right things, this is just to let you know I care. I felt for you so much when you described your police experience. Please surround yourself with calm things – no watching scary videoclips! You have told me to be gentle on myself today. I hope you are able to see past this tangle of confusion and scariness and do the same. I will be thinking of you. No reply necessary if you don’t feel like it 🙂

    • Annelise, you often say just the right thing.

      I knew watching that clip was a bad idea, but did it anyway. A form of self-injury, or maybe trying to jog myself out of the dissociation. Of course, all it did was create another layer of confusion and round of second-guessing.

      You’ve had an emotional roller-coaster week, so deserve the gentleness 🙂 I’ll try to do the same…

      Take care,

  2. CG,

    I want to throw around some ideas, but you tell me what you think. Others here, too, will have their own. You are the expert on you and on your experience. In that same vein, I would really want to give you a wide berth in terms of what coping looks like, for you. I even wonder if you are pushing yourself in a direction that you feel you’re “supposed” to go as it is somehow “right”, but figuring out how to do it in a way that feels safe and comfortable has fallen by the wayside?

    Here’s where I wonder what you think (well, actually all of what I write here). Your organization … your structure … your parts … have saved your life, I would imagine. It all doesn’t work well all the time for life later on, though. Should we respect our parts, all of them? Does it make sense to respect all voices, but have a kind of detente with them, where you also act as somewhat of a reasonable parental figure (tall order, I do know) … letting their voices be heard, but adding “rules” such as, “we still need to find ways to allow for some positive connection”? How can we deal with the mix of voices in need, voices who harshly berate and blame, and others? If we acknowledge them, if we listen, if we soothe them by doing so, will they “call of their dogs” a little bit, chill out, and let us do some things we want to try? Can we create conditions for the voices of need to have rights, too?

    I bet there might be as many answers/opinions as there are people, here. All around ideas in the “internal communication” realm. Or other ways that help.

    On a more personal, less theoretical note:
    Please hang in there. I hope you settle into ways which give you some solace, and which allow you just the right amount of connection for you.


    • Hi Michael,

      You’ve hit on an area that I struggle with, and that Allison has been subtly addressing 🙂 I have aspects of myself that are very strong and forthright, and Allison has tried to encourage these aspects to take a positive part in my life… But, there is a huge resistance to doing so. I couldn’t talk to anyone in that way, it just wouldn’t be “nice”. So I stamp down these aspects of myself, and further layers of contempt are added.

      It’s interesting… I respect that the dissociation helps me to cope; but at times I don’t have much patience for it, let alone acceptance. Something that I continually struggle with…

      Take care,

  3. My two cents worth: First of all, I’m so sorry you are stuck in this place. I understand what it is like, having had to project the same type of persona for the same type of reasons. And I know how difficult it is to ask for anything.

    I find it is helpful for me to look realistically at what interdependence means. Humans are, by nature, interdependent. We help and depend upon each other every day, no matter how tough a persona we present. Everytime I go for groceries, or flip a light switch, or buy clothes, and so on and so on, I am accepting help from my fellows. I’m not growing my own peas and carrots, slaughtering meat I have run down and killed, nor making candles like my ancestors did, nor spinning, weaving, or sewing; I am accepting the help we all need and all provide each other. So, really, the whole independence thing is a myth. We are interdependent, like it or not.

    So, if I choose to use the help available ALREADY (instead of moving naked into the wilderness and being independent), why such a difference to ask for another kind of help I need? I already know I am interdependent and need to rely on the sklls of others just like every other human on the planet. Sometimes, we don’t see all of this clearly, and with our past experience, the myth of independence is perpetuated. But, it is still a myth.

    I can totally understand why we develop the patterns of thinking that we do. At a young age, in situations such as you described, it is wisdom to behave as you describe.

    However, it is not wisdom any longer to refuse to show vulnerability. I’m so sorry that your attempts to ask for help have been met with so many bad experiences. It is indeed most tiring (and sadly reinforces the myth). I’ve never been jailed, but I know hospitals and lockdowns. Still, that is the time to get absolutely ferocious.

    Just as we would fight tooth and nail for someone we love to get what they need, we need to do the same for ourselves. Everything we need is available. It is just a matter of getting to it. You already know the unsafe ways to ask for help. So I understand your confusion and inability to sense safety.

    But, please, don’t suffer needlessly and alone because you have been hurt by asking for help. Keep asking (and I don’t mean to sound trite or condescending, because I’ve been there and know it sucks), but you will get to exactly where you need to be if you just don’t stop.

    And, btw, just imagine how much help you’d have to ask for if you did cut your hands off. You’d so hate that.

    • Hi changingstars,

      I think the difference between the risk taken when turning on a power switch, getting groceries, or buying clothes; is totally different from the risk taken in asking for help.

      As an example, on Friday I had an incredibly rough day, and was sitting in my car after work deciding how to commit suicide. I had been assured by the mental health crisis team that I could call if I was in trouble, and I could go into respite care; so I called the number. The woman that I talked to asked how long I had been suicidal, I said a week… she asked when I’d last seen my therapist, I said Monday… she asked what I did on Tuesday, I said I went to work… she asked what I did on Wednesday, I said I went to work… she asked if I went to work on Thursday and Friday too, and I said yes… she then said that I had called a crisis line, and that if I wanted counselling, I needed to call other numbers.

      In one phone call, she dismissed my current crisis and destroyed what little trust I had started to build in the mental health team after a fairly good interaction with them earlier in the week.

      Yes, there is a risk involved in living within this modern world; but that phone call was much more risky, and it went very badly. I admit that I wasn’t clear about how imminent my suicide plans were, but as soon as the woman heard that I had been going to work all week, she didn’t think that it could be bad. I took a risk, and it failed.

      I don’t have any intention of cutting my hands off, it’s a metaphorical need.

      Take care,

      • I understand metaphors, dear. It was a vain attempt to lighten a bad situation. My sense of humor doesn’t always hit the mark.

        I’m sorry you had such a horrible time with the idiot on the phone. It is disheartenting, but also reinforces your belief that it isn’t good to ask for help.

        Of course there is a difference between asking for help, buying groceries etc. Those examples were metaphors too, a vain attempt at illustrating just how interdependent we really are.

        Don’t know about New Zealand, but in the States we can just walk into an emergency room. No stupid people on hotlines. Too bad you couldn’t just do that.

        I’m truly so very sorry you feel so like tou do.

        Take care.

        • Yes, it is possible to go into the ER and ask for help in New Zealand. The problem with that, is that I have a huge fear of hospitals; and the people who would eventually assess me, are from the same team as the people on the phones. I’m usually so triggered by the whole experience that I dissociate and do anything to get released. So I know it’s not a feasible option for me.

          I realise that makes me even more difficult to try and help.

          Take care,

        • Not for nothing (I really don’t know what that phrase means… just popped out).

          CUTTING OFF HANDS: I’m glad CG explained that she wasn’t literally going to cut her hands off. I wouldn’t put it past myself -given the right set of circumstances.

          INTERDEPENDENCE: As for interdependence, if I buy groceries at the store, I am in control of my experience. I am in control when I flip a light switch. Again, I’m in control of my clothing choices, shopping experience, etc.

          With mental illness, it is VERY easy to LOSE the control you have over yourself. It is perfectly legal in the U.S. for a doctor or law enforcement person to assess that you are a danger to yourself or others. You lose control of the situation. It is out of your hands entirely. What is done to you is NOT your choice at this point.

          This is not interdependence. This turns into complete dependence on other people to care for you and not hurt you. This is what asking for help can do -in worst case situations.

          Of course, when we need help, this is the risk we take. The alternative is even more dire. I definitely encourage anyone who needs help to ask!!!

          EMERGENCY ROOMS: I’m in the U.S. True, you can walk into any ER, which costs money that not everyone has access to (not everyone has insurance these days).

          If you say you are suicidal or are planning to hurt yourself or another, you will be evaluated by a professional. And, even though most ERs have times by which they are supposed to get this done… you will wait longer.

          As you wait it’s likely you will become more and more anxious and afraid and agitated. You will probably be placed in a contained area and guarded by security staff. If you try to leave your room, a big bury security man will direct you to go back in… unless you have to pee.

          Once a professional is able to meet with and evaluate you, chances are you’ll be in even worse shape than you were hours ago when you arrived. You may be able to go home. More likely you’ll be involuntarily committed for 72-hours of hell in a psych ward.

          I’ve gone through this after I hurt myself. But, it’s not too very different if you go before.

          So the choices are calling a hotline number from the safety of one’s own home while wearing PJ’s and cuddling a stuffed bear or going to the ER.

          Sorry for rambling… but I’m wound kind of tight tonight! 😛

          ~ rl

          • Hi rl,

            The hands thing was most definitely a metaphor… I’m sorry if it was taken in any other way.

            I’m sorry you’re wound up tight tonight… is there anything that you can do to calm things down a notch or two? Any favourite distraction or relaxation techniques? I know it sounds odd, but I do housework. Sometimes listening to music helps, or walking around the house in my bare feet. I won’t list too many, as I know you will have some techniques that work for you, and it can be annoying to hear other people tell you all of the options that don’t work 🙂 But please remember to breathe and try to slow everything down…

            There are big power imbalances when we enter the mental health system in any way, there’s no doubting it. Something that would be considered a healthy expression of anger at the process, could be considered a hostile act while waiting to be assessed.

            I can identify with becoming more anxious as the wait for an assessment lengthens. I now know to take things like my iPhone (and charger), and find a seat near a power-point. To smile at the nurses, and thank them for everything – they have the power to request and bring anxiety meds to help you through 🙂

            I won’t go into my experiences at the local psychiatric unit, but they aren’t pleasant.

            The main thing is to always do what you can to stay safe. Sometimes that means making difficult decisions, and ones that you know may trigger, but it’s for the long term good.

            I hope you’re feeling better…

            Please take care,

            • CG,

              I’m fine. I wish I found housework relaxing! Maybe my house might once again be clean. Unfortunately it’s the opposite for me. Good suggestions though. I used to pace in my room as a teen. I did it once not long ago around the house… the dogs thought I’d lost my mind completely! It was kind of funny amusing them. 🙂

              About being angry at the crisis line. My thoughts were less about doing something to change things and more about feeling the anger or frustration or sadness that you have every right to feel. That whole sitting with the anger thing… I did not want you to dismiss the significance of what happened. You deserved much better treatment than you received.

              Sending peaceful thoughts.

  4. I was afraid that this situation would arise when the police bungled thing so badly last time. I was worried that you would need help and hesitate because of what happened.

    It seems to me like part of what’s happening is old messages coming through and causing problems. The programming that tells you that reaching out shows weakness which will be punished. And of course the police did not help that message to be contradicted.

    I think that writing about what’s happening here is a way of reaching out, which is great. You also need something in your “real life” though that can help you. Have you spoken to Allsion?

    It seems too that the parts that need help are trying to keep you safe. They know that you need support, but the whole system needs to get on board.

    Is it possible to have Allison call someone for you? The reason I ask that is I’m wondering if a professional was able to call and express that you need help and why, maybe things would be handled differently this time? The last time, was it partially an issue of not being able to communicate the kind of trouble you were in? I’m trying to remember why the police acted like utter idiots. Where I live, there is a place that you can go to be watched for a while, like 72 hours. You can show up and it’s like a small hospital. Do they have something like that where you are? A place where you can go yourself without having to call the authorities?

    • Hi tb,

      The Police were just following their standard procedures, so I don’t blame them. This is really about my inability to trust anyone. Allison is included in the “don’t trust” category 🙂

      I did try to reach out to get into respite care (see my response to changingstars), but it didn’t work out so well. If you’re sectioned under the Mental Health Act here, they can hold you for 5 days. That is my worst nightmare. I will never go near that place again.

      Take care,

      • I read your comment about what happened when you called and I wanted to strangle that woman! Then I wondered if you wrote out a statement ahead of time explaining your exact situation and then called again and spoke to someone else would that work better? I mean instead of having to speak on the spot, if you wrote it out and read it would it work better?

        Then I changed tactics and I remembered that you said you were taking medication to go to work. Please forgive me for not remembering but I have a reason for asking: do you have a mental illness like depression etc. that you’re being treated for? I’m asking because I’m thinking that medication, more precisely an antidepressant may help to pull you back from the brink and give you some breathing room to deal with this. It wouldn’t have to be something you take forever. If you do have a chemical imbalance though it could help. To clarify, I’m not talking about traeting the DID with meds because I don’t believe that works since DID isn’t chemical. But, if you have secondary mental health issues going on, medication may be an avenue to explore adn it could take some of the emotional and mental pressure off so you can deal better.

        If I’m totally off just say so, it’s ok. I just know that sometimes we need a little help to deal with stuff like this. A friend of mine with no mental health issues had to take an antidepressant a long time ago for maybe a year becuase of a life situation. She took it until she was better able to deal with the situation but the medication gave her some space until she could without being overwhelmed.

        Sorry if I’m off base, I just don’t want anything to happen to you. *stuffs mushy feelings down*

        • Hi tb,

          The crisis line are not worth getting angry about. They are understaffed, poorly funded, and wrongly staffed in some instances. It’s a statement on the mental health services in this country – and around the world. I know that in some areas New Zealand has excellent services for mental health, but also areas which are really substandard.

          I have been diagnosed with dysthymia – which is psych speak for being a drag to be around 🙂 But I’ve never found a medication that has been effective to treat the depression, let alone being worth the side effects. Thanks for the thought anyway 🙂

          Take care,

          • CG,

            Crisis lines with stupid people answering the phones is something to get angry about. I’m angry at the way you were treated.

            Understaffed, poorly funded, wrongly staffed/under qualified -just crisis lines or the entire mental health services system- there is no excuse. That crisis line worker was talking to someone who, I know I’ve only just met and only online but, care about. She did not take care of my friend. That makes me angry. It was her job to provide adequate and intelligent care.

            hmpf… and stomps around.


            • Hi rl,

              I could get angry, but what’s the point? I talked it over with Allison this morning, so now I need to let it go and learn from it. Allison agreed that it was unprofessional, but then, what can be done? I don’t have the resources/strength to lay a complaint, so I need to move on.

              I’m really thankful for your concern, but please don’t allow this to wind you up further…

              Take care,

  5. First of all, I want to tell you how very well written this is. I admire the way that you are able to dissect and articulate what is going on in your life as well as the very reasons why.

    I can’t even begin to describe how much this resonates with me. This has been my method of coping my entire life as well. And you are correct that turning inward and not reaching out for help is something that we learned very early in life, with those lessons reinforced at various times throughout our adult lives as well.

    It’s interesting to me that people called you stuck-up growing up because that was the case for me, too. All throughout my childhood, I was quiet, withdrawn, and I kept to myself. Most of this was because I was certain everyone could see that I was a freak, that I was dirty, bad, and unworthy of friendship. I also kept to myself because I was afraid to trust others. Years after graduating I ran into a former high school classmate, and I was shocked when that classmate told me that most everyone I went to school with perceived me as stuck-up. I recall being so bewildered by this information. I mean, couldn’t they see that I wasn’t good enough to be around any of them? (Logically, I know this isn’t true, but those feelings within me still reside.)

    Part of me wants to reach out for help as well, but the strongest part of me resists. It creates quite a bit of conflict within.

    For me, I think all I can do at the moment is try to trust my instincts, which are on the hypervigilant side, and reach out when it feels predominately safe to do so. For me, it’s too traumatic to reach out when I’m doubting my safety…. which includes safety from myself.
    Trusting myself is as much as an issue for me as trusting others.

    I have also heard that asking for help is a sign of strength. I’ve had a few conversations about this with my therapist who feels that before I can successfully do this, I need to feel safe as a whole. In other words…. all parts of myself need to be on-board.

    In the meantime, I choose to believe that there is a certain amount of strength in the way we choose to cope.
    It takes strength to stand alone. Call me dumb, but that’s just what I believe. Maybe I’m too stubborn to believe that my habitual isolation is weak. 😉

    In all seriousness though, I think we need to find a safe and healthy balance. I think reaching out, as well as not reaching out, can go to extremes without balance. Never reaching out can lead to total isolation, and constantly reaching out can lead to codependence. So balance is the trick.

    As usual, I come here without being able to offer sound advice. Instead, I can validate what you’re feeling, and tell you that I understand your method of coping.
    And as usual, I can do all of this in the most wordy way possible. 😉

    Take care, and I hope that you find peace and self acceptance in the ways that you choose to cope.

    ~ Mareeya

    • Hi Mareeya,

      I find trusting myself to be more difficult than trusting others. I look at all the bad decisions I’ve made throughout my life, and use them as proof that I’m the last person on Earth that I should be trusting! The worst thing is when someone that you dare to trust, proves to be anything but trustworthy… it sends a message that I can’t read people, and that my judgement is flawed. It becomes a vicious circle of distrust, self-doubt and self-hatred. All of which, just reinforces those messages from the past…

      I can see what your therapist means regarding safety. There are so many factors involved in reaching out – trust, hope, safety, etc; and if one of those isn’t there, then it’s more difficult. When you look at it, those factors are interconnected on some level – you need to trust, in order to feel safe; if you don’t feel safe, then hope can be effected; and so on. This is why I think that it doesn’t matter what sort of abuse a person was subjected to, or how “bad” it was; it’s all about how it effected them. There are so many factors that come into the equation as to that effect – someone growing up in a war zone, but within a loving family; could show more resilience than someone growing up in a dysfunctional family within the suburbs.

      I appreciate your words, I really do.

      Thank you, and take care,

    • Hi Alice,

      Sometimes I can be like a wounded cat in a cage, striking out at the vet trying to help me, because all I see is the hand coming towards me. Sometimes, I’m my own worst enemy. But yes, sometimes the helplines are not that helpful.

      Take care,

  6. CG,

    Reaching out and asking for help is the theme about which you wrote. This is *such* a dangerous and difficult area in people with any experience with trauma. With connection, there is almost invariably a re-enactment of *some* conditions that were experienced at some time in abuse. So, while asking for help seems so logical, who could fault a person for saying, “why the f*** would I actually do that??” (sorry to drop the f-bomb as a mere visitor to your blog. It’s probably RL’s fault.)

    CG, the woman on the talk line failed you in spectacular fashion. That’s not to say that your own dynamics weren’t in action at the “scene of the crime” … I’m thinking those dynamics tend to put restrictions on the range of responses which will be useful for you, so that’s hard for the one you’re talking to, as well. However … and I’m sure most of those here will agree … if you’re speaking to a professional, a crisis line person, etc., wouldn’t that be the time for the person to be prepared to help you in whatever condition you arrived? My own experiential take is that there is that there are different levels of training and different perspectives/personalities in the field, and it is simply a reality that sometimes these people are going to just be wrong for you. Again, the woman on the phone could not have gotten you or your needs more wrong. A crucial Fail. Oftentimes, I think people simply don’t get how transactional/relational process needs fit in … they don’t even think they exist, due to a flat-out lack of awareness. For all of the “validity” that their current position imparts to them right now, they are CLUELESS. Ouch. Makes me angry, to be honest.

    On the topic of encouraging your various aspects, being “nice” is probably a subtly vicious mandate in you … and you have very, very good reason to worship at the Temple of Niceness, and should never be faulted for it. However, the strong and forthright aspects of you, among others, are important aspects of you. Perhaps you cannot be whole, without them. So the path of growth is just … fraught. May you find opportunities and ways to allow those qualities. I’m pretty sure that there are ways in which being smarter than most and more sensitive than most make it all a greater challenge.

    Thank you for writing and for hosting these discussions. It must be difficult, but you seem both graceful and diligent, throughout. I know that everyone here wishes you a bucketload of support.


    • Hi Michael,

      What I found rather amusing about the phone call with the crisis line, was that I was following the pattern of responses which I’ve found has been helpful in the past. I mentioned that I was struggling with suicidal ideation – not “intent” as that will activate a Police incident. Usually they ask what would help, at which point I was going to request respite care. So I thought I was playing their game well, but I was wrong. May be I sounded too cheerful? May be she read on my notes something about me being an attention seeker? May be she was having a bad day? May be I should have said “intent” rather than “thoughts”? Who knows. It’s past now.

      Well niceness is part of flying under the radar 🙂 It’s another way to stay invisible. I find any deviation from that very uncomfortable. Yet, less than an hour ago I was sitting in Allison’s office swearing like a trooper. I wasn’t angry, it’s just the way I was talking – that whole “backbone to the max” thing.

      Thank you and take care,

    • Michael,

      *laughing* I needed that laugh tonight.

      I’d like to pretend to be appalled at your suggestion that it was my fault you used the f bomb. But, I really totally agree with its use in this set of circumstances.

      Most sincerely,

  7. I just wrote a post myself about asking for help…I have a code word I use when the suicide Ideation is at a peak and P will call or text me to help me in this venture…only again and again I find I can not get that code words to my lips… as if It’s not important.. or I don’t matter..It ia a vicious circle….I hope you are hanging in there…and I am just one who is listening with a hand stretched out if you need and or want it…As always…XOXOXOXO

    • Hi Bongo,

      I hope you can communicate your distress and get some help. You deserve that help, and it sounds like you need it. It is a risk, but it’s worth taking.

      Please take care,

  8. Hello Castorgirl,

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. I can, unfortunately relate.

    For seven years as an adult I lived with my mother, who I later knew was my primary sexual abuser. I was suicidal for all of those seven years. No one understood. I couldn’t explain to others. I didn’t trust them and there wasn’t a safe environment for me to get the help that I needed. So I had to struggle with it alone, even when I was in therapy.

    If you brought up suicidal ideation, they wanted to lock you up and I was highly invested in never being locked up and I never have been. Help lines suck when you aren’t willing to admit to how bad things are because they will lock you up. I worked, I paid my bills, and I talked like an intelligent person, even though my therapist knew I was multiple, she didn’t understand. No one understood. And there was no one to help me to heal.

    Eventually I decided that all my options had been robbed from me, including killing myself, and that the only true option I had left was to live and to heal. And that was the option that I took. I hope that doesn’t sound preachy. I wouldn’t want to do that. I’m sorry that you can relate to what was a big part of my life for so long.

    Please know that you are not alone. Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • Hi Kate,

      I’m so sorry you were in that awful situation for so long, and seemingly without help. Safety is a key factor in healing, so I can understand why you were constantly struggling and being triggered. I’m glad that you are now free of that environment and healing.

      You didn’t sound preachy at all… thank you for stopping by and commenting 🙂

      Take care,

  9. CG,

    I am pretty familiar with that dynamic of “the game” when calling the crisis line. I have worked at one for a bunch of years in our county health department, and that one has a respite care option, too. It’s pretty funny (or disturbing) that there is a subtext between crisis worker and crisis caller, concerned with negotiating the services wanted, calling or not calling the police for hospital, saying the right things and omitting the wrong to stay in the respite program, etc. But it is true. Sheesh. It’s pretty amazing to think of being in distress but also REALLY monitoring and parsing your word choices!

    Cool that you brought your trooper to Allison’s office! What’s “backbone to the max”? I think I get the general gist, but is it a kiwi thing I should have picked up but didn’t? 🙂

    Finally, RL seems suspiciously missing from your arboretum. I can tell you, she was pretty active over on Twitter. If I can just throw my hammer that far to get her attention …

    Best to you, CG … you take care, too. One of these days, I’m going to email you to compare thoughts about the interactions/intersections between social networking/online communication and psychology/mental health care. You probably never should have confessed your areas of study! 🙂


    • Hi Michael,

      I’ve found interacting with the mental health profession to be full of subtext – which sort of makes it an interesting meta-analysis subject 🙂 I can’t talk about it too much without my cynical side hanging out and having a party, so I’ll leave it there…

      You’ve heard of the phrase “get a backbone”, which is about being tough… well “backbone to the max” means having the maximum amount of backbone possible. The main part of the phrase is “to the max”, so easily mix and matched with anything that you want to indicate that you’re doing to the maximum. It’s similar, but older than the “betterer” and “worserer” phrases 🙂 Confused yet?

      I have odd qualifications, so it’s fun to find someone who doesn’t do the head tilt and nod in an understanding way, while looking for means of escape 🙂

      Take care,

    • CG & Michael,

      I always get asked who the vice-president is… like I got hit on the head or something? So, I make sure I always know who the VP is… at all times! Cuz the first time, I was kind of dumbfounded by the question and for the life of me I couldn’t remember Al Gore… until like a million seconds later. Been labeled crazy ever since! Stupid questions.

      I completely agree we dance delicately to get just the right amount of help…and not too much “help.”

      @Michael, I am most definitely in CG’s arboretum now. Plan to be hiding there for some time. Twitter is a scary odd scary place! *wanders off looking for the ducks*

      Take care CG,

  10. Have you ever tried Wellbutrin CG? I’m just thinking out loud sort of. Sorry, I have a hard time not throwing out suggestions on meds since I’ve taken so many. I’ll try to control myself lol.

    • Hi tb,

      I have been tried on all of the major, and not so major drug groups. Each of them came with an amazing assortment of side effects 🙂 After one made me lose two months, I called an end to the experimentation on my brain… the side effects weren’t worth the potential gains, and the psychiatrist I was seeing agreed with me.

      Thanks anyway 🙂

  11. RL,

    I just see you answering the assessor’s question with a question of your own: “What is this … social studies?” 🙂

    Glad you’re safe in CG’s arboretum, now. Rest up and regain your strength, before you go back out again with the *really* crazy people! (less-than-tolerant twitterites)

    Michael (thanks again, CG!)

  12. Hi CG, I am sorry there are so many contradictions now and things are so hard. I see your writing this, despite the “realities” of the past and present, as an understanding that the way forward actually does require you to find a way to ask for help and challenge the past (and present). I can imagine your feeling being that you have been “knocked down” and why bother getting up to do ask for help when you have not been helped before? Allison, while you have complicated issues of trust, has been trustworthy and is an ally. Can you possibly let her help more?

  13. I have had a horrible time with any type of medication….just recently I was prescribed a low dose of Haldol and ended up in a fetal position for 8 hours on my bedroom floor unable to get up..never again..I have always suffered the bad side effects and none of the lifting up effects….I have all kinds of things i can use for grounding..but when in the midst of it I can not think to use them….being multiple..i fear sometimes closing my eyes in fear of what one of us will do….this asking for help thing.. you already know I struggle with that also…keep working with Allison…I’ve been told it gets better and sometimes easier…..You are doin great….As always…XOXOXOXOXO

    • It’s amazing how differently people can react to medication, I know some people have found haldol really helpful. I know of others who have had similar reactions to it as you, and I’m sorry it effected you so badly.

      I agree that it’s easy to forget to use your grounding techniques when you’re in the middle of a crisis. That’s part of the reason that I’ve found talking to someone, like on the crisis line, can be a good prompt/reminder to use those skills. Just having an external prompt can make the difference, and help put you back on track. I know that isn’t always the case, but it’s worth trying.

      I hope you were able to reach out for help, and are having a better day.

      Take care,

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