Reaching Out – Why My Support System is Tiny

Reaching Out
Picture from Pixabay

I think I am a hypocrite. I always tell people that it is important to reach out, that they need to expand their support system and that they need to take that leap of faith when asking someone for help. We all need people in our lives that we can turn to when we are struggling. Everyone should feel safe enough reaching out to the people they trust, or professionals, when things are bad. So how come that I don’t do it?

I volunteer. I work with people who are struggling and who need someone to talk to. I am a safe person for people to reach out to. I am skilled in active listening, I have high emotional intelligence. I never turn down anyone I know who needs an open ear. Being part of someone’s support system makes me happy because I know I can do good. Of course I know how to set up boundaries and I don’t burn myself out on supporting others.

Hypocrisy thy name is …

But I am a hypocrite. Others come to me with the same kind of negative thoughts that I experience when I am struggling: I don’t want to be a burden, it is not that bad, I can’t trust anyone, there are people who deserve help more than I do, no one can help me anyway. Everyone who has ever been in a dark place, has struggled with thoughts like this. It has never been difficult for me to help others combat those kinds of thoughts. Everyone matters, everyone deserves support, your feelings matter, you are not a burden, there are so many different kinds of help out there so chances are that something might work for you. All those are true statements that apply to every human being on this planet. But for some reason, I am able to convince myself that they don’t apply to me.

Being a Burden and Not Deserving of Help

I don’t want to be a burden. I hate feeling inferior (unless in a BDSM and D/s context!) and I don’t like others thinking that I am in need of help. There is some kind of negative connotation for me, some kind of negative attention. I don’t want to be a negative in anyone’s life, I want to be a positive. I want to be a fun person, an asset to people, someone people enjoy to be around. So talking with anyone about my issues would mean that I am the opposite of those things. Paradoxically, I abhor shallow connections with others. So if I want to have real and deep connections with other people, how am I supposed to have that when I don’t want to open up and talk about myself?

I am also an expert at downplaying my own issues. In my mind, there is always someone who deserves help more than I do. I just need to get my stuff together, and stop being so weak. Instead of whining about my silly problems, I should be grateful for the things I have in my life.

Trust Issues and Helplessness

No one can be trusted. I have this strong fear that if I am vulnerable, it means that someone is going to hurt me. I know that this is linked to the trauma I had to endure in my life. But that awareness doesn’t make it easier for me to work on it. I don’t like allowing anyone close to me, I don’t want to be vulnerable with others. I need to be in control, I need to make sure that no one is going to hurt me. This of course puts a stop to reaching out to others. However much I am screaming inside: talking with someone about my pain seems unsafe.

And then finally, there is the idea of that no one can help me. And it doesn’t matter what emotional state I am in, I hold on to this idea. Why? Because professionals have called my case complicated. Because medication makes me worse instead of better. Because there is so much wrong with me, no person would be able to handle the misery, the pain. I have long ago given up hope that professionals will be able to help me. So how would an untrained person, or a friend, even be able to handle my mess?


But honestly, above all, there is shame. I am ashamed of that I would need support all the time. That I am weak, that I am constantly struggling, that I am not functioning. I don’t want anyone to know the depth and width of my struggles. what I have to deal with every day. I want to have normal, strong friendships. I want to be like others, who have friends with whom they have intellectual conversations with, with whom they have fun with and who they sometimes can turn to if they have a problem. But I feel like all that I am is problems, and I wouldn’t want to put that on anyone. So I am stuck with shallow connections. And a very limited support system.

My Support System

My support system consists of one person at the moment. I don’t have any professional support at this point because I don’t have health care coverage and I am a bit reluctant to trust any professionals due to past negative experiences. I know that it must be hard for my partner to be the only person in my support system. He never really gets a break, and he has to take the whole load of it. It is not like I can hide how I am doing because we live together. He is a caretaker Dom so wanting to support me comes naturally for him. But I am sure he would want to have a break from my issues every now and then.

I don’t see how I would be able to expand my support system at the moment. With the lack of professional help, my only other option is friends. But making friends with the incentive to make them part of my support system seems wrong somehow. I would want thing to evolve naturally into a direction where the people I am close to are just as much my support as I am theirs. But that balance is always somewhat skewed in my connections. Maybe I should get a cat. I have heard they are great listeners and only silently judge!

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14 Responses

  1. Sweetgirl says:

    I’m am sorry you feel this way and I do understand. I hope you do reach out when you need it x

  2. May says:

    Support systems can be made up of so many different things that are used in different ways. I know it may sound funny but once my teddy bear was part of my small support system and in many ways still is – I should have written about it for this week really bu there is only so much we can all do in a day lol. Remember we are all a small part of your SS – if that’s what u choose x

  3. SB4MH says:

    Shame is often an issue, alongside the internal perception that everyone else is much more deserving of attention. Your mental health support work tells you the logical steps to follow with those you support. I know how easy it is to think I should be able to apply those logical steps to myself and then be frustrated at the seeming irrationality of not being able to, Yes, that can sound like hypocrisy and I’ve personal sympathy with viewing it in that way – I often tell myself in exasperation “Physician heal thyself”.

    As both you and your dom have written, it’s complicated. Finding the right balance in a support system is not easy. I hope you make progress with it and a cat sounds good.

    melody x

  4. I am very good at giving others advice, but not as good at following that same advice for myself, or even if others give me similar advice. Like you my support system consists of one person: my husband. Before my mom passed, she was part of my support system. I can also talked to my oldest daughter too, but I don’t want to burden my kids with some of my problems. I feel children should have their parents as a support and not the other way around.

    Rebel xox

    • It can be hard when the support system is so small, but on the other hand, we are both lucky that we have one person we really trust close to us. I can see where you are coming from, our children might get a bit overwhelmed if we overshare things with them. I hope that the system you have in place right now, works for you <3

  5. jupitergrant says:

    It’s really difficult to take our own advice. I am also one for offering kind words to others but spit absolute venom at myself. And I judge myself way more harshly than I do anyone else. It’s a common thing, exacerbated by the feelings of shame and self-hate that comes from our past experiences. I hope you know that so many of us out here think the absolute world of you, as May said, we will be part of your support system, too. ???

    • You know, when I used to support people in my volunteer work, I often asked the question: what would you tell a friend in a similar situation? – It often blew them away, how easily they were able to see solutions and paths, if they took away the emotional subjectivity from their situation.
      Thank you, darling, I really appreciate it <3

  6. I can understand some of what you say. Endurance sport is largely a mental part of simply taking everything thrown at you running 80 miles in, alone in the dark. But the finish line is there with coffee and rice crispy bars even if you can’t see it yet!

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