I’m an introvert who recharges their battery alone and enjoys doing most things alone. But during my times of extreme struggle, being alone was the worst possible situation I could’ve put myself in. After being conditioned for so many years to depend on myself, asking for help was the hardest skill I had to develop.
Asking for help and advocating for myself is still a work-in-progress for me. Yesterday, with my psychiatrist, we discussed about this specific issue I struggle with. We came to the conclusion that the action of asking for help, for me, was so much greater than just the help I received. It was about building human connection, sharing insecurities and allowing myself to feel vulnerable in the presence of another. Whether it was with loved-ones or health-care professionals, it was the same.
When I left the hospital in December 2016, I made the difficult decision to move out. Was I financially ready? Kind of. Was I mature enough? Sure. Did I need to move out in order to be well? Definitely.
I ended up moving in with my boyfriend Downtown. My parents were initially skeptical. I had been dating my boyfriend for 2 months before I moved in. And it’s taboo in Asian communities for a 19-year-old to move in with their significant other. But after speaking to my boyfriend, and seeing the difference he made in my life, they agreed.
I owe the success of my healing and progress to my boyfriend. He taught me, from square one, how to take care of myself. From the basics like cooking and nutrition, to more difficult tasks like going to the gym and advocating for myself. Fortunately, I learned from watching him day-to-day, living his life of healthy habits, which meant that it wasn’t taxing nor a burden on him to teach me. During this process, we also developed our relationship, as well as communication skills. I learned to be mindful of my mood, symptoms, and needs, and he learned to be an active listener. Overall, it was the best possible way to grow, together.
Now, because of his help, I am a functional, happy adult who lives a life of meaning and love. I experience the simple joys of life daily, as well as keep myself open to new opportunities.
Sometimes, you just need that one person who makes all the difference. A person who makes the tough seem not so tough.
I hope you all have support systems in place in your lives! Whether you have extensive supports, or like me, a very small team, we all need an arm to lean on at times.
And of course, a quote to ponder on.
“Life is not a solo act. It’s a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife.” – Tim Gunn