Yup, a second newsletter for today. Maybe it's a misguided feeling of self-righteousness or maybe it's inspiration, but I feel like today's message can't wait until Friday. So, we get another bonus newsletter today.
One of my favorite things about Give 'Em Hell, Brigham is the ability that it gives me to write about anything and everything that I feel is important. Sure, we talk a ton about BYU athletics, but this platform always has been and always will be about a community first. And today, I'm opening up my vulnerable side and talking about something that is vitally important for all of us.
We all need help. And when we don't need help ourselves, there is a pretty good chance that someone close to us needs help. Life can be really, really difficult and a helper along the way can be what someone needs to pull them through a difficult time.
"Difficult times" feels like an obvious statement. When life's tragedies happen, it's easy to identify a difficult time. But, difficult times come in all shapes and sizes. They are no respecter of persons and find ways to impact everyone. Difficult times are everywhere.
I have found that right now is proving to be a difficult time for many people. COVID restrictions are easing and more and more people are getting back to 'normal' life. But, the threat of COVID still exists and is causing anxiety for people. Some people are dealing with the consequences of the virus themselves. Some people are still grieving the loss of loved ones who were taken during this pandemic. And nearly all of us are having to re-adjust, at least in some facet, to being around people each and every day.
Turns out, a lot of people got used to life inside over the last couple of years.
Remember how I said it's time to open up my vulnerable side? Here we go...
I have had a successful career at my company. I've worked my way into a leadership role and am frequently pulled into many different projects. There are people who count on me, depend on me, and look to me to help move everyone forward. It's a big responsibility.... and most days, I don't feel adequate.
I have a reasonably sized following on social media. I'm known as the fun-loving fat guy on the internet who makes stupid jokes and videos while providing BYU content. Honestly, I love being that guy and I completely created that "responsibility" on my own. But, man, there are days that I feel like I'm not even a human. My objective on social media is the same objective that the creators of Schitt's Creek had - to just make people laugh and give them a chance to escape the daily grind for a few minutes.
As time goes on and people want their escape, I have felt less and less like a person. I'm a Netflix show. I'm a movie. I'm an escape room full of employees at a company doing some sort of retreat. Sometimes, I don't feel like a person anymore. I feel like a character.
My daughter is almost eight years old. This week, she held a hand-written note in her little hands and gave it to my wife and me.
"I don't feel like I am loved," it read.
First and foremost, she is loved. More than I could ever love anything in the world. But, man, what a punch to the gut those seven words were. Regardless of whether I thought I was right or not, my daughter was feeling unloved. Sure, she was a grounded and I think a reasonable part of the note was about sending me on a guilt trip so that she could get ungrounded, but it still punched me in the gut.
I felt like a crappy parent.
All of those feelings that I described above transpired in single day this week. Between the time that I woke up and the time that I went to bed, I felt like an inadequate employee, a soulless character on the internet, and a really bad dad.
I am incredibly fortunate. I have a wonderful support system around me who is ready and willing to offer help whenever I ask.
But, much to their chagrin, I struggle accepting help. I never ask for help, no matter how much I need it. When someone does extend a helping hand, I often let my pride get in the way and push that hand away.
We all need help. I need (and specifically in this case, needed) help, but I refused to let myself be the helpee.
My wife is fantastic and knows what I need whether I am ready to accept it or not. She got me talking and she offered help. I got through the crappy moment of the crappy day and was ready to move forward.
On the surface, I am not the guy who needs help. I am the confident career man who sarcastically makes people laugh on the internet before going home and playing with my kids until bedtime. My life is great.
And yet, I still need(ed) help.
We all need help. We have to learn how to accept help. We have to learn how to recognize when help is needed.
In my interactions with people re-adjusting to 'normal' life over the last couple of months, there are a lot of people who need help.
Many of those people didn't seem like they needed help before, but they do now. Many of those people don't know how to ask for help, but internally, they a screaming for someone to reach out to them. Many of those people don't know how to accept help. They have always been the helpers and that role reversal is not an easy switch to make.
Why am I writing all of this today? Because, I hope, someone is reminded or inspired by my rambling and one person who needs help is helped. Maybe that's a person who is struggling to ask for help that musters up the courage to ask. Maybe that's someone who pays a little more attention to their friend in the office and realizes that that person needs more help than they ever have before. Whatever it is, I hope it helps.
Mental health is health. Learning how to accept help and ask for help and offer help is as crucial for your health as exercise or vitamins. Help is a sustaining nutrient that we all need in some way and at some point in our lives.
I needed help. This week was really, really hard for me. And I don't think that anyone (aside from my incredibly perceptive wife) had any idea that I needed any help. Nobody had no idea how badly I was struggling or how down in the dumps I was.
I'm not a special person or a special use-case. If I felt this way, there are countless others who feel this way.
If that describes you, please ask for help. I
If that person describes someone you know, please find a way to help them.
If you are struggling, there is always help available. Our world is better with you in it. Please, don't hesitate to reach out.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
Veterans in crisis, press “1” to be directed to local VA resources