One of the things that I’m blessed to do at work is teach a class called Understanding the Dynamics of Poverty. The class is aimed at educating about the causes and effects of both situational and generational poverty. In the class, one of the things we discuss is that people who live in poverty often lack resources and not just financial resources. They may have limited access to things like transportation and technology. They may not have many people that can help them and offer support in times of need. So far this weekend I’ve great reminders of how fortunate I am to have my support group and how close any of us could be to serious financial or life troubles.
My mental health hasn’t been great lately. I struggle with anxiety and depression with a large helping of ADHD on top. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by my circumstances and surroundings, especially working full time and having kids who are tiny tornadoes. The Hubs works an average of 60 hours a week and has his own mental health struggles to tackle. This can often lead to a messy house that gets out of hand fast. It’s not unusual for the clothes to pile up and the toys to end up everywhere and the sink to get full. I get overwhelmed and contemplate lighting it all on fire or running away. For a short time we had the finances to bring in two lovely ladies to help with cleaning and organizing but those days are gone. This week was pretty rough, so I put my many hours of therapy to work and asked for help.
My awesome neighbor let me borrow his lawn mower to cut our grass yesterday. We’d let it grow during the winter to help bring pollinators to the yard but it was time for a cut and The Hubs is out of town. I knew that cutting the grass would make it easier for me to clean the house because I’d be able to send the girls outside to play. It would also make it easier for me to spend some time in the garden, something that always helps my mental health. So, for the first time in my life I cut the grass. It wasn’t easy but it was really satisfying. (10/10 would recommend looking into an electric mower if you’re looking for a new lawnmower and don’t have a huge yard.) I finally understand why my Dad has been obsessed with his yard for years. It doesn’t look perfect but I accomplished my main goals.
While I was still in a great mood, I reached out to my Bonus Mom for help with the laundry that had been piling up. She came over early this morning and folded laundry while I caught up on dishes. Having someone there to talk to made it easier to focus on one thing instead of bouncing around all over the house and getting overwhelmed before giving up. She was able to get the laundry to a much more manageable point and even introduced me to some new, happy music. The girls were excited to see her too.
In the process of putting away laundry, I happened to look up and see that we had some water damage and mold on the ceiling of our closet. About a month ago, Donny had to patch a small hole in our roof from a dropped limb. We didn’t know how long the hole had been there and didn’t see any damage to the ceiling initially. Apparently our assessment was wrong and the insulation had retained some moisture. I knew we needed to remove the sheet rock and nasty insulation ASAP before the damage spread. I’ve patched small holes before but never something like this. I sent a message to a friend of mine who I knew was good at home repairs and asked for help. He came over and fixed the damage for me without hesitation. He even fixed another spot on the wall that needed patching.
I couldn’t have done all of those things without my support system. I would have been stuck struggling to break out of my mental health cycle. My friends and family were happy to lend their tools and time to help me better my home environment. Without them, I would still have an overgrown yard, a couch covered in laundry, an overflowing sink of dishes, and mold spreading in my house. So many people lack the support system they need or the ability to ask for help when they need it. It’s so easy to let mental health drag you into despair and darkness and even harder to fight your way out. If you see a friend struggling, find a way to take something off their plate. If you feel like you need help, just ask. Make sure your people know how much you love them and appreciate them.