A Youth Worker a Nun and a drunk are seated on a plane together… I know, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but the story I shared in the short clip above is 100% true. I (the youth worker, just to be clear) found myself in a near impossible situation stuck in the middle of two people with whom I was unable to connect with or escape. To the left of me, a person who was about to share the inside of their stomach, to the right of me a person that represented all things good and wonderful and holy. And then there’s me, completely and utterly stuck in the middle.
Everyone feels stuck from time to time. Life has a way of sometimes taking us to some very tough places. We look one way and we see challenges and struggles, it feels as though the proverbial bile of the universe is moments away from dropping into our lap. We look in the other direction and we see all things good, beautiful and wonderful, we desperately want to find our way there but it seems as though there is no conceivable pathway to get there.
Stuck somewhere between the fear that our challenges will never ease and the hope that maybe one-day we will somehow come through the other side. You know the feeling?
Like when we crave the restoration of a relationship gone wrong.
As we deal with the rejection of a lost a job whilst trying to find another.
Like when we face the bully who won’t go away.
Like living in a period of ill-health without a foreseeable improvement.
Or just feeling ‘blah’ for no apparent reason. All of these can leave us feeling totally and completely STUCK with no way out.
Situations like these might take us to the end of our tether, but they do not need to be the end of the story. There’s more to be written. A new script. A new day. A new story. Full redemption is possible and it begins with a conversation.
It’s exactly at this point that we need to call on the most valuable of all our assets. We pull out the big guns, the high-end ammunition and attack it with the full arsenal of weapons at our disposal –
W E A S K F O R H E L P
So I’m sitting on a plane, stuck between fear and hope. My anxiety was paralyzing and my feelings of panic were off the chart. What did I do (aside form panic) you might ask? Well I did the only thing I could do. I reached out and hit the button. I called out for HELP. The flight attendant came to my aid, ushered the spanish speaking Nun from her seat. I was able to get out, the vomitus vixen to my right was able to get to the bathroom and do whatever she needed to do. Shortly after we all resumed our seat and continued on the journey. Problem addressed. Sometimes all we can do is call out I NEED HELP and sometimes that is enough. But how will we ever know unless we speak up?
I have felt really stuck many times, and many times I have had to ask for help. On one occasion it saved my life. I suspect that you might be surprised at just how many people there are who are also willing to help you. But in order to unlock this support it’s possible you need to speak up. Talk to a friend, your family, your parents, your doctor. Or if you prefer contact one of the many HELP lines available (I’ve listed some below).
The bottom line is you’ve got to seek some HELP and now is the time to do it. Coincidentally today is R U OK? day, so consider yourself asked! Should you need to I hope you can answer with these three simple words:
I N E E D H E L P
Say them, repeat them, type them, write them, send them to someone, SCREAM them if you have to.
I N E E D H E L P
Oh… and if someone trusts you enough to share these words, please respond well. Sometimes it is as simple as just listening as they talk about what is troubling them, but this simple act can indeed save a life. (You might like to check out the R U OK site for some excellent tips and resources for both helpers and those seeking help.)
Saying ‘I need help’ reminds us of our worth.
Saying ‘I need help’ moves us toward others and an experience of connection and belonging.
Saying ‘I need help’ is an important step toward hope, change and becoming un-stuck.
So remember these three simple words. They could very well save your life.
This is the last of the three post series on the topic. Thanks for hanging in there with me, I know it’s been pretty heavy. As always, I’m keen to know your thoughts. Where have you found help? What or who gives you hope? When have you said ‘I Need Help’?. Lets keep this important conversation alive.
If you’re in need of immediate support or medical assistance call 000, or contact:
Lifeline | Beyond Blue | Man Therapy | Kids Help Line | Headspace