Blog Post 3: Ride or Die Friends and Therapy
This blog is for those who love and provide any type of support for people with major challenges. We refer to ourselves as PLC’s (People who Love someone with Challenges)
Reach out and Respond to make Connections with others.
Make friends with the concept that the only reliable constant in life is Impermanence.
Get professional assistance if at all possible.
Strategy number one is in place because connection/social engagement is the first survival instinct on board for humans. It's notable at birth and stays with us. If this is so obvious, why the need to state it here? Because it's easy to tell ourselves that we shouldn’t bother others with our struggles. As you may notice a tendency to isolate under the pressures of being a PLC, take note: isolating with this is not safe, and then reach out to someone. I saw a comedian online recently in a show called “Southern Mammas,” saying that we need to keep our “ride or die” friends close. Her bit goes on to describe a friend that she could call on anytime, day or night, if she was in trouble. This person would on cue, take off her earrings, stretch her shoulders and put up her fists on behalf of her friend. I’m not suggesting a bar
fight here, but I do like the term “Ride or Die Friend.” Take a moment now and inwardly name yours. Bookmark their names in your mind. The next time you talk to them, tell them that just by naming them in your mind, by acknowledging who they are to you, you find some relief.
The second strategy is more of a mindset than an action, but one that helps in focusing on the present moment to find peace. My natural tendency has been to go down a rabbit hole of despair when under stress, counting my past regrets and dreading the future. The second strategy is a reminder that we’ve been through difficult times in the past, and yet we still survive together, therefore we can find hope for a calmer future as things change and develop. Being hopeful for a positive outcome allows us to relax and focus on the present and our fulfilling current needs as they arise, from moment to moment. Some of the actions that result from the 2nd strategy mindset for me are: warm baths, yoga, a good book, nice music-all types of self-care yummies. Rely on whatever your comforts are as you focus on sensations of the present moment, soaking up all the good that you can while under the stress of being a PLC. Remind yourself, you’ve been here before, you made it this far, and you can do it again.
Strategy number three: getting professional assistance can seem like a no-brainer. I believe in therapy. Especially when it’s combined with other self-care strategies.The range and types of professional help to be found these days is vast.You can make improvements with online coaches, sound healers, art therapists-whatever speaks to you personally. Most traditional psychological therapists will offer a sliding scale for those who are dedicated to making progress and are financially challenged. The encouragement here is for all PLC’s to consider that taking care of our own psychological health is a priority. It’s our lifeline, and trickling down this line, the care that we give to ourselves, absolutely does fall to the people we love and care for. Make no mistake about this.
Comments: A reader commented that the plight of the PLC is like that of dealing with grief and loss due to the death of a loved one.This is significant and we could talk for days about how these two states of being are similar. As a PLC, we grieve the loss of potential we’d always hoped for. Most of us in life come to expect and maybe even take for granted the states of happiness, health, and fulfilment for ourselves and our people. As PLC’s we experience the difficulties of day to day coping while we grieve for a future that will not be. An example might be, “I always thought I’d see this child drive a car, graduate,”...something like that. BUT, as a PLC, our loved ones are alive in a body, taking up space and breathing air on planet earth with us…just not in the state that we expected or hoped for. Death equals finality. The grief of total loss is monumental, and in it, the strategies that we use as PLC’s also apply, and that’s what this reader’s comment is about. May we all keep commenting, connecting and riding this life together, keeping our earrings on and our fists down.