Riding Waves

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” C. S. Lewis

In business and life, our days can be flooded with emotion. Often, we prepare ourselves for situations we know will be difficult.
The holidays.
A dreaded confrontation.
Saying no.
Saying yes.
Taking on new obligations.
Finalizing a difficult but necessary ending.
Not getting the job we thought we were perfect for.
Asking, “Why?”
Asking someone for anything!

Other scenarios hit us without warning.
Losing a regular customer.
Becoming fearful.
Fighting an unexpected health issue.
Facing a severe illness or death of a loved one.
Feeling betrayed, angry, bitter, lonely or discouraged.

Voice actors deal with sound waves daily. Emotional ones though are tricky. In a healthy way, we can draw upon this reservoir to identify with a script because we’ve “been there.” Yet, in real life, being tossed to and fro by toxic ones can be risky.

Several years ago, various circumstances beyond my control became more than I could handle. From the outside looking in no one knew I was riding a dangerous emotional wave. Even close friends and family were unaware because I had chosen to hide it. Being the strong, stable person others went to for help had become a source of pride for me.That glass half full description? I usually brimmed over. Optimism came easy but then…it didn’t.

Stealthily going through the motions of daily life and carrying out a plethora of responsibilities became overwhelming. I saw no hope in sight. I dreaded waking up each day and began viewing life through an unwelcoming lens.

I tried all the helpful things.
I ate better.
Exercised more.
Carved out time for solitude.
Read the stack of self-help books beside my bed.
Tuned in to countless podcasts.
Nothing changed.

Then I prayed and asked for wisdom. I committed to study Scripture on a deeper level, specifically the book of Proverbs. These worked in tandem with my decision to meet with a licensed, professional counselor. She and I examined the thoughts and emotions with which I was struggling. We agreed that my first list of helpful things was good but came up with other practical ways my life could be tweaked.
Remarkably, things started to change. Slowly, I began looking forward to the next day…and the next.

My outlook brightened.

Some decisions were small. One was big and still affects me today. Until that point in my life, voice over had been a hobby. It was then that I decided to dive deeper. I submerged myself in all the information I could find. I invested in professional training and purchased recording equipment for a private studio. Lastly, I made it official by becoming an LLC.

Ripples of positive change seeped through to other areas of my life. Emotional gasps for air morphed into a constant mental treading of stability.

Why do I share this very private chapter in my life?

Funerals. Specificially, for suicide and substance abuse. Watching lives snuffed out too early because of the stigma of getting help.

It’s easy to see why society doesn’t value the importance of physical and mental health equally. Emotional wellness can’t be seen. If we fracture a bone we have no problem going to urgent care yet how foolish of us to ignore a broken spirit! Why should we be slow to seek help? Embarrassed even?

Surfing the same emotional wave for too long and allowing ourselves to be tossed about on a sea of hopelessness is dangerous. Seeking professional help can make a difference.

The only shame? Refusing the support needed to make it to shore. I came across a quote (author unknown) that said, “Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.”

More than that, I contend each of us has the choice of surfing in a new direction but it’s okay to ask for help.