I came across this “inspirational” this morning while I was perusing my facebook newsfeed.
And I flinched.
A year ago I would have agreed with it.
That keeping strong was what was needed. That it was the Right Thing To Do to keep going, to not let anyone know how much I was struggling.
Let me tell you, that ended up pretty badly for me.
2012 was my hardest year to date, and I’ve been through some pretty difficult times in my past.
And when I thought about it this morning, still hiding under my duvet, not quite ready to get up to face the morning rabble that ensues when you’re a mama of two young boys, I realised that I was so, so wrong.
Being strong to the point you’re crying into your cereal every morning, trying to keep it together, and saying “Nah, I’m fine” to everyone who asks if you’re ok?
That’s not good.
It’s not good for anyone to do that, to keep it all in and try to deal with everything yourself when you’re breaking inside.
It took me breaking down at a school meeting about Max back in November for anyone to realise just how difficult everything was becoming.
To admit to myself that I could no longer cope with things the way they were.
And that was the turning point for us.
Finally realising that I couldn’t cope was one thing, but having to admit it to the professionals?
That was hard.
But it’s also been our salvation.
Now we have the right people involved to help, and things are going well.
It’s too easy to brush people off by saying we’re fine.
“I’m just tired, you know how it is.”
“Oh I think I’m coming down with a wee bug.”
Or my favourite “honestly, I’m OK… you don’t need to worry!” with a big grin and a swift change of subject.
It’s OK to admit that things are tough.
It’s OK to let other people in.
It’s OK to ask for help.
In fact, admitting these things, and asking for help, that can be the trigger that helps you get on the path to feeling more able again.
In other words, sometimes staying strong just isn’t the best course of action.
Sometimes you need to let the cracks show to be able to move forward from where you’re at.
And that’s OK, no matter what anyone says.
Being strong isn’t the be all and end all.
Sometimes it can make things worse.