When life took an unexpected turn earlier this year, it felt like the ground beneath us gave way. The recommendation for my husband to enter an 8-week partial hospitalization program for his intensifying PTSD was a shock that rattled our world. Summer faded, and a casual coffee chat unraveled into a conversation of raw pain and uncertainty.
“I can’t tough it out anymore. The thoughts are too much,” he confessed, and in that moment, I felt the weight of the world shift. Hearing him acknowledge his need for help was both frightening and liberating.
Amidst the chaos, practicalities loomed large. Should we disclose this struggle to family and friends? How could we even begin to ask for support? The floodgates of anxious thoughts swung open.
We reached out to our prayer team and mentors, deciding to be transparent about our journey. But truth be told, we had no clue what kind of help we needed. Asking for support without a clear request felt overwhelming.
Having journeyed through this crisis and reflected upon it, I’ve gathered insights that might aid others in similar situations. Here are a few things that truly made a difference for us:
1. Sharing Our Story and Asking for Support: Being candid about our challenges and requesting tangible help from our community lightened the burden. It opened doors to prayer and tangible support.
2. Gift Cards Over Meal Trains: The unpredictability of our schedule made meal trains challenging. Gift cards to restaurants and grocery stores were a practical lifeline in times of chaos.
3. Things that Brought Us Together: Surprisingly, Lego (read more about that here) was at the top of our wish list. It might sound trivial, but it helped us connect and decompress as a family amidst the storm.
4. Utilizing a GiveInKind Page: A friend created a GiveInKind page for us, and it was a game changer. This platform streamlined the support we received, from meal deliveries to encouraging letters, all in one place. And the best part? It was free!
Here’s the takeaway from our journey:
Many of us, especially in military families, are often in crisis mode or in recovery. We’re adept at putting ourselves last and terrible at asking for help. But here’s the crucial truth: the suffocating isolation and the weight of holding it all alone take a toll.
Pause and assess your well-being. Are you stretched too thin? Overwhelmed? Acknowledge what support you truly need and ask for it. There’s a unique solidarity in realizing you need your people, and a profound peace when they show up.
Remember, it’s okay not to have all the answers or to know exactly what you need. Asking for help, in any form, is a courageous step toward healing and restoration. Embrace it, because there’s strength in vulnerability and a community waiting to embrace you.