So, you’ve been given an #inplainsight™ postcard. Now what do you do?
Firstly, don’t panic. Just because someone has given you a card, it doesn’t mean that ‘everyone’ can see that you’re struggling. The person giving you the card (depending on the one you’ve received) may not even know that you’re struggling with your mental health; just that you don’t appear to be yourself right now, so please try not to worry. Some people are just naturally more intuitive to peoples moods and emotions, it doesn’t mean that your ‘secret is out’.
Secondly, you don’t actually have to ‘do’ anything now that you’ve received a card. There’s no pressure to sit down with the person who gave you the card and tell them how you’re feeling or justify why you’re struggling right now. The only thing I’d like you to do is to acknowledge what they did and say ‘thank you’ to them.
Whether that’s by email, text, phone call or coffee, or even one of the Comfort Cards™, thank them for making the effort to try and help (even if you don’t feel you need any). We all want to feel acknowledged and validated in this world, whether we’re struggling or not, so even if you don’t want to talk about what’s going on in your head and life, thank the person for taking the time and money to try and reach out to you.
But here’s the two real problems you’re going to face now that you’ve received the card: you have to accept that someone’s seen your (potential) vulnerability and you have to work through your pride to allow people to support and help you (if you want it).
As I mentioned above in the first point, when someone sees through our Happy Masks and notices we’re struggling, it feels confronting. We feel exposed and vulnerable (particularly if you’re a man) and the first thing you’re going to want to do when you receive a card like this is to become defensive and deny the need for it. Don’t. Maybe there genuinely is nothing wrong and you just looked a bit tired and worn out that day and that’s ok but still thank the person who tried to reach out because just as courageous as it is to accept help, it’s incredibly brave for that person to try and reach out as they fear they will upset or offend us.
If there is something genuinely wrong and that person was right to give you a card, realise that you’ve likely found someone you can confide in (even a little). If they not only saw your mask slip but made the effort to try and do something to help you, realise that in whatever relationship you may have with each other (be it, platonic, romantic, work etc), they care about you as a human. If you think no-one cares and that you have no-one to talk to but they give you this card? That’s an opening; walk through it! Which leads me on to my next point…
Accepting help is a problem. Why? Because we have to knock down all our other internal walls to allow it to happen. We have to knock down our stubbornness. Pride. Embarrassment that as adults, we can’t do everything ourselves or fix our minds without asking for and receiving help from someone. That’s a big deal. We know we need help in some capacity; someone to help us work through our finances. Someone to cook our meals because we’re too depressed to get out of bed. Someone to listen to our jumbled thoughts.
But here’s the tonic to that problem – by receiving a card, you haven’t asked for help, you have been offered it. They have met you half-way. Whether you take them up on that offer is another story but half-way together is an easier journey to make than a whole one alone. The person giving you the card may not know how they can help you but they want to try and that’s a big deal in todays’ individualistic world.
So say ‘thank you’, give them a hug (if you feel able to) and either accept their help or at the very least, know that someone on this orbiting blue planet does care about you!