I never been the type of person that is willing to open up to people, and more so I would never open up to a random person I did not know. As far back as I can remember I have been an introvert, and for me to open up to you it takes me a long time to warm up.
Since my traumatic brain injury and dealing with all these mental health illnesses this part of me has been on extreme. I have isolated myself pretty well. I have closed myself off. We don’t have time to go into the details of why I am this way to begin with, and why I believe this has grown into a bigger issue. Rather I want to share a story of the power of stepping out of my comfort zone. The power of being vulnerable. The power of community.
Recently my wife needed to buy a new fall/winter jacket, so we headed to the mall. We planned out what stores we were going to go to, so I did not get overwhelmed with decisions or being around so many people. We went to two different stores, and we could not find what she was looking for. I was feeling overwhelmed. I knew she wanted to go to more stores, so I offered to go to more. I wanted us to get this taken care of that night!
She could tell that I was getting ants in my pants, so she told me we could leave. As we were walking through the mall to exit we saw the Sleep Number store. I DID NOT want to go in there. I knew I would fall in love with their beds, and this was something I did not want to buy right now even though we need a new one. I also was ready to leave, and I did not want to think about any other decisions.
She ignored me which happens in marriage. I do it all the time. It is called selective hearing. I am sure you heard of it. Well back to the story. She walks right in, and so I have to force myself to get over all my anxiety and emotions and just go in.
We were greeted by a nice lady. Of course, she has us go through their routine of trying out their beds. The point of this story is not their beds. I love their beds now, I will be buying one. I will be a member of them for the rest of my life. However, the point of this story is the fact we were in this store for over two hours. One of those hours was an hour after the mall was already closed. She didn’t mind and were didn’t mind either. Why? Because the conversation we were having.
See, this person was a person who wore many hats. She was a mother, a sales lady, a wife, a graduate student, and a licensed psychologist that focuses on motivation such as life coaching. She was a life coach for a long time before her husband had a stroke, then she needed to pick up a different job to support the medical bills.
The conversation we had was honestly the best conversation I have had since my car accident. Here was this person who I have never met. She was old enough to be my mother, but something happened. I call it divine intervention, you can call it coincidence, either way I believe we were supposed to be in that store that night. This lady got to know us on a very deep level, and she even shared some very deep traumatic events that happened in her life as well.
At the end of the conversation after the mall cop kept looking at us as if to say, you need to leave NOW. She gave us a list of material to go over. Music to listen to that she believes helps. Tons of authors to look up that discuss my situation and recovery methods. She also gave me her email that was attached to her life coaching business. We hugged each other, and I asked her if she was still offering her life coaching services. She said no, because her life circumstances right now she doesn’t have time. I was bummed, but I told her I would email her to keep in touch.
I went home that night and immediately emailed her to thank her for being so kind and opening her heart to us…to me. I cannot express enough how warm she was to us, and how much the conversation we had meant to me. Well, she emailed me back a few days later and told me that she was thinking about us and has decided that she wants to be my life coach for FREE! She has already emailed me some worksheets, and once I finish those we will be meeting up for some coffee to start this new journey of healing!
Long story short…being vulnerable opens up doors. It brings people together, and it provides a light in a dark place. It is not easy, but nothing in this life that is worth having is easy.
If I can do it…you can do it.
Depression lies to us and tell us that people and even the universe hates us, but really they love us we just need to be willing to push away the lies that rest in our minds.
I am a huge fan of Lecrae (Christian Hip Hop Artist) his song called Can’t Stop Me Now (Destinations) on this album has helped me push through when depression strikes. It is worth the listen.
To those that do not struggle with this…be a friend to those that do. We need you through the ups and downs of life. We might push you away, but really that is because we love you and do not want you in our mess…so push back.
It takes a village, so let us be in the tribe together.
We found my wife a jacket! (Carhartt Women’s Shoreline Jacket, Deep Wine)