Every now and then, I get to meet with a very good friend for lunch. We talk a mile a minute because our time is limited and we are desperate to get caught up on what has happened since our last meeting. On one such occasion, minutes before we parted, I said to her, “You know, it really bothers me when people tell me how lucky I am. I find it to be a backhanded compliment.”
It’s not that I don’t believe in luck. Maybe it’s better to say that when something unexpected and totally awesome occurs, I will acknowledge how fortunate it is to have happened. Whether it is an act of God, Karma, a guardian angel, or a little fairy following me around with some pixie dust, I will give thanks for my blessings. But that isn’t what I was referring to when I made that statement to her. I was referring to the fact that I have worked hard to get where I am today and it shouldn’t be written off as luck; rather setting and visualize goals and working hard to achieve them.
Perhaps the biggest part of that statement that bothers me is the implication that my life has been nothing but rainbows and butterflies. My life has been filled with ups and downs just like the next guy but I don’t complain about it or wish that it was any other way. It is important to maintain a balance, be honest about where you are on your own personal roller coaster (down or up, it doesn’t matter. It’s your ride, after all), and try to use the force of the current to your advantage instead of fighting against it. Above all else, it is essential to create and maintain a support system that will guide you through both highs and lows.
Like any other precautionary measure or defense system that is put into place, your support won’t be tested until it is put under pressure. When you are facing one of life’s challenges – depression, sadness, loss, stress, etc. – you will find that some of your support falters. That’s ok. You will find that some things that you didn’t even know you had will rise up to the challenge. Your camera, bumping into a friend that you hadn’t seen in years, your companion/husband/wife/lover, a volunteer in your garden, repetition in your knitting, the warmth of your tea (or coffee – you know who you are), sleep at the end of the day, a stranger smiling at you in passing – something or someone will be there for you if you have a support system in place and you are open to the guidance around you.
I hope you will join me in supporting those who need a little love, happiness, understanding, encouragement, and hope over at You Are Not Alone. The site is still very young, but along with the group pool on Flickr, there will be plenty of chances to contribute if you are interested. Though designed specifically with those suffering from PPD in mind, anyone is welcome. Just think, you could turn someone’s day around! And if you are the one in need, be sure to check the blog and group pool often for your Daily Dose of support.