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It’s an expression that you hear and it doesn’t mean much, and you will think that the person saying it is being melodramatic, attention seeking even. And then one day, all of a sudden, you just get it. You know what those words, that phrase means.

You struggle on day after day, same old, same old; work, food shopping, kids clubs, cooking, cleaning, washing, money management, budgeting. Life admin that just keeps building up, letters to write, letters to post, emails to send, car insurance to get quotes for. Household items to replace. Lawns to mow. People to see. Sheets to change. Things to fix. Things to remember. Appointments to go to. Trains to catch, children to drop off, pick up, take to parties and you do it. You do it all, sometimes you even have time to remember to brush your hair.

And you forget. You forgot just how precariously balanced it all is. How the slightest most insignificant thing can just throw you over the edge. A thoughtless remark, an unexpected bill, a difficult phone call, then boom, just like that, the smallest thing exposes you for what you knew you were. Incompetent. Over committed and under resourced. And you know this to be the case because the thing that tips the balance from excelling at life to fucking it all up badly, is so bloody insignificant that you can’t understand how it’s brought you to your knees; from having your shit together to hiding in the bathroom silently sobbing so that the kids can’t hear you. So that no one knows how goddamned tired you are.

No one knows how difficult it is to pull your shit back together. When you haven’t slept properly in what feels like months because your brain can’t shut the hell up from thinking about how rubbish you are; scared that at any point it’s all going to go tumbling. Worried that you are doing life wrong. Tired. Right through to the bones; to the point that you can feel it in every fibre of your being.

It is at that point that you are feeling your worst that you need to reach out to people. You need someone else to hold the weight of your soul for you, even momentarily. For a minute, an hour. Long enough for you to pick yourself back up, shake yourself down and put back on your smile. Everyone needs that at some point.

So next time you get a message from someone, maybe out of the blue, or an email or a call, asking to talk, to meet up, or even just saying hello, take the time to respond. If you see someone upset or distressed, even a total stranger, take the time to stop. Maybe a simple “are you ok?” is enough to break the cycle. To let them vent. To make things OK for them once again. Take the weight. Give them a chance to pull themselves back up. To connect; adjust and move on.

We all need help at some point.