How do I know if I need to ask for help?
How do I know if I need to ask for help?
How do I know if I need to ask for help?
As the intensive part of the program neared its end for me, the topic of forgiveness was discussed. My understanding of forgiveness is that it is something you ask for from your Deity. How then “to forgive yourself.” for mistakes made? I don’t believe I can simply walk into a confession booth, spill my guts, and ask for forgiveness. I wouldn’t feel any relief from my misdeed. Asking a higher power for forgiveness simply would not assuage my guilt. Guilt is like gravity holding me down in the stuckness, all the while, being fueled by my great shame in myself.
So I begin revisiting and exploring the concept of a higher power. A God who is All-Good, yet accepts pain and suffering as necessary, gives Us the gift of “why?”, yet provides little evidence for His existence other than ancient scribblings full of inconsistencies and inhumane, hateful, dogma.
“Oh, you just have to believe!”
“You just have to have faith!”
I think of it as: “Press the, ‘I BELIEVE’ button to disable the gift of “why, wonder, and awe.” Sure, I long for a good relationship with a father-figure that I could believe in. Perhaps, that is why religion works for so many? If ignore elements that are not true and cannot have actually happened for the sake of the story, I am accepting it as truth. I press my “I Believe” button in order to suspend my disbelief. It’s tempting to believe in a higher power, when we experience injustice.
People gain strength from their beliefs.
It is tempting to accept beliefs based on my feelings, get swept away in the moment and lose my objectivity. To enter a closed-loop that is not capable of accepting new input. There are times when it would be useful to believe in a good, holy, god-like presence that can provide comfort. Since I have a brain that is capable of higher intelligence and a heart capable of great love that is what I will use to guide my life. If I was created by a Higher Power then I have to believe that it would have provided me with the abilities I need to live my life and the fact that I can think for myself is reason enough that I should.
Following someone else’s meaning of life is giving my life away because I don’t believe I’m worthy of having my own.
I wish that someone or something would have been able to shake me hard enough to get me to realize I was stuck. Struggling in unhappiness. Our path is our own. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, if we live long enough, we will have experienced “the hole.” Sadly, many don’t make it out. Without someone who is willing to stay by my side and do their best to help me get out. Without which there would have been little incentive to try. Some can turn to God, the Higher Power, for support. I find that most religions are insulting to my intellect. My ability to analyze and rationalize is limited by the constraints imposed by the very nature of the religions themselves. Religion closes the door of possibilities by conceding that life’s color palette holds only black and white. I reject a closed-minded, blind faith religion that cannot explain why other religions are wrong, and misguided. What if there is no tooth fairy, Santa Claus, or fatherly god on a cloud?
What if life, just sucks!
Life is not fair and that is made obvious by the insufficient distribution of wealth and opportunities. Our great ancestors and their descendants use their great wealth to keep the status quo while they bask in their fortunes gained through raping and pillaging our planet. Through irresponsible management of resources, the rich get richer, amassing their fortunes by exploiting the weaknesses of the poor. The system is but a game of loopholes. Slavery may be recognized as inhumane, though it continues in a different form.
Advertising experts manipulate people into believing their technology, “latest innovation,” is a necessity for living a happy, more fulfilling life. Competitive, one-upping the other, if not on the bandwagon, you’re going to be left alone in the dust and out of touch. Corporations seek highly motivated, loyal and most importantly, replaceable employees to stay on the “cutting edge.” Every decision is based on a cost-benefit-analysis. A company could easily exchange out its human components so ultimately, self-preservation, staying in power, and making the most money with minimal work are strong motivators to accept it. Our animalistic instincts to survive drives those with opportunity to the top. The attitude: No one felt sorry for me. So why should I feel sorry for them? I felt sorry for me. But I wasn’t self-compassionate. I felt that I deserved to struggle because I wasn’t worthy of respect.
Throughout history, religion has provided excuses for hate in the guise of something good and holy. Religion kills the spirit of curiosity, replacing it with the belief that a warm, comforting, almighty father, who has been watching over you your entire life, is waiting to greet you into his kingdom in heaven. I can certainly see why a person might choose the more appealing story than the cold truth of science. However, that nagging suspicion will keep you looking for answers that aren’t there because they exist outside of the world of religion. Why is the Bible considered the word of God? Where did it come from and who edited it? Why is one God the true God, yet other religions are false? Does God punish for questioning Him? Why? The answers to these questions ultimately end in circular logic because that is the only answer that can be had by someone who is unable to acknowledge that they’ve been living life according to false information. Yet it’s lazy to waste a lifetime living in someone else’s fairytale when we are given our own to create. I can understand believing in God because you can’t/don’t/won’t believe in a World without Him. I can understand gaining strength through believing in a Deity. I can see the benefits of being a part of the church community. More importantly, I can see how it closes the mind to it’s world of stagnation. An illness that prevents us from exploring the variety of ideologies along our own path. We don’t need fear of damnation to have morals and values. Too much of anything can be harmful. Religious obsession is no exception and should be treated with the same therapy provided to anyone who suffers from addiction. Religious zealots are mentally ill. I have no doubt that they believe what they preach serves to do good but it is actually divisive and extremely harmful to communities. Any religious organization that promotes division using “Us against Them” ideology is spreading hate and is mentally ill. Acceptance of others as they are is what makes us civilized as opposed to the ignorance of our ancestors. How amazing is it that we get to observe and participate in this wondrous existence? We allow religion to divide us, and guide us, being the only way to agree on a set of rules about right and wrong. I have chosen to press my “I believe” button here as a spiritual existence is personal and can only be felt inside – for it is not something that can be expressed in words, such as the beauty as felt through observation of the Arts. Reason is a wonderful gift that can be used to balance out our emotions. Both our rational mind and our reactive(emotional) mind are part of being Human. Good and bad. Happy or sad. It is our ability to recognize that we are feeling emotion that makes us alive.
I spent several hours researching the topic of forgiveness over the next few days until I discovered the essence of what it means to forgive and be forgiven. Forgiveness is to recognize that everyone makes mistakes and can learn from those mistakes by understanding how they got there in the first place and then they are willing to grow from it.
Stop beating myself up. I don’t have to be perfect.
Forgiving ourselves for mistakes we’ve made can be hard. Much harder for some of us, than for others.
What’s done is done, I cannot change the past. I can accept responsibility for my actions and acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes. I will move forward having learned as much as I can from the experience
Take Responsibility: What am I responsible for?
What am I NOT responsible for?
Acknowledgement: What have I already done to learn from the experience, repair things, and make amends?
Planning Ahead: What, if anything, remains to be done?
Accepting Forgiveness: I have taken responsibility for my actions, acknowledged my mistakes, gained insight from the experience, and have or am working to make things better (amends).
You’ve just received some income! After you budget out your living expenses there is a little extra…
If you pay down your credit debt, such as credit cards, auto loans, student loans…
If you save some money in your savings account…
If you try to do both…
It makes no difference which one you choose because there is ALWAYS something!! When living paycheck to paycheck, there is ALWAYS something. If something unexpected doesn’t occur then you can be certain that you’ll eventually have a bad day and use whatever coping mechanism brings comfort. As harmless as chocolate, and cheeseburgers, maybe some wine or vicodin, a few bowls of weed with a catchy sounding name to or heavy hitting drug found only on the black market. If it’s not a selfish reason then it will be “Lisa needs braces,” or “The dog / cat / chicken is sick and needs to see the vet!”
Now you have the choice of spending that SAVED money or you will have to CHARGE it to the credit card that you just paid down.
It’s perfectly natural to want sympathy for your own personal struggles and because each of us feels our struggles so intensely, we want others to understand. “It’s hard to be me.” Eventually, we need to step away from our self-pity. We need some “tough-love” from someone willing to tell us to…
“Look, I can hold your hand, share a good cry, commiserate, tell you that I know life is not fair, that you got dealt a crummy hand, that you’ve been cheated by things outside your control, that the ill which has befallen you is not your fault. I can say with conviction that I understand and sympathize with the fact that we cannot prevent all of the disappointments, losses, and tragedies that occur in our lives, and I realize that we are not born with equal abilities. We agree, life can sting.” The Confidence Course, Walter Anderson.
How do you take responsibility for something you don’t understand? In childhood, we adopt our parent’s unhealthy coping mechanisms and carry them with us through our adulthood until the consequences result in self destructive, often criminal behaviors that cause damaged relationships.
I believed I deserved to be abused. I deserve to suffer because I’m not perfect. I should be perfect. Sure, no one is perfect, but I have to be.
“Why? Why do you have to be perfect but no one else has to be perfect?”
When the secret is discovered, “How can you make yourself throw-up? That is so disgusting!” They don’t understand what it’s like. The carnal hunger chips-away at my willpower, with the song of the growling stomach. I can be stronger than the craving; I will restrict what goes in because my body can’t be trusted not to turn every satisfying morsel into fat. I eventually weaken as though the call of hunger is stealing my strength becoming stronger until I am too weak to resist. My mind blacks out running on what feels like pure instinct and I feel numb. I slowly regain mental consciousness. It’s too late, I’ve lost control, my stomach is aching full and I’m surrounded by empty containers and wrappers. The feeling of shame floods over me. How could I be so weak? I’m overwhelmed with guilt for betraying my body. I must resort to emptying my stomach of all of that evil, nasty, fat-making food and bask in the somewhat orgasmic relief it provides.
I worked out for months and never seemed to gain any muscle definition. What was the point? I eventually gave-up. I assumed I just wasn’t capable of building muscles. No matter how hard I try, my stomach is always protruding out. All of these years, sacrificing and here I am depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts. What has it gotten me? I’ve been self-destructive for years because I was unwilling to face my biggest fears. I didn’t want to be alone because I was fat and ugly and here I am 20 years later still struggling with these feelings when they aren’t even relevant anymore. It’s easy to say on the surface, “I don’t care what people think of me.” Though pushing the stinging feeling of truth deep down inside is not so easy, I needed people to convince me that I am worthy of even existing.
I thought about what was holding me back from getting the help I knew that I needed.
My parents discouraged me from seeking professional help using words such as “Shrink,” “head doctor,” “quack,” implying that they are shysters. “No one in their right mind needs help.” “Mental illness is means that you are weak and crazy.”
The people around me are tired of hearing it.
“Why are you telling me your problems?”
“There is nothing I can do about it.”
It is a common misconception learned in childhood. If a child cries, typically a parent holds her to sooth her pain, while re-assuring her that “everything is going to be okay.” When we are adults, there is often no one who is willing to empathize with our struggle. Some people lash-out, some withdrawal, but everyone distracts from discomfort.
The therapist I met with suggested that I consider an eating disorder intensive outpatient treatment program. A wave of fear came over me full of thoughts from my previous attempts to get help:
I’m never going to have any muscles because I’m lazy.
I’m too fat and gross
I’m too ugly to be a model because I’m not one!
It won’t really help, it’s a scam to bilk as much money as possible from me by requiring countless therapy sessions forever.
Besides, it would be far too difficult to make the time to attend all of these sessions and still work.
Despite all of the excuses that filled my mind it came down to I can’t afford to get treatment. and I’m not that bad off. I reasoned that I just haven’t tried hard enough to stop purging. I needed to try harder. It’s my lot in life to suffer. The most I can hope for is a miracle.
When I walked into her office, my nervous thoughts began fighting me not to bother.
A whisper in my mind said, “Let’s listen to what she has to say.“
“The way the program works is for about three months, we meet three times per week in a small group setting where we discussed triggers and learn coping skills, you and I will meet every week for an individual therapy session and you’ll check-in with the nurse and a dietitian. Let’s have you start by filling out some food logs every day, we will discuss nutrition and eat lunch together. If you decide you are ready to start let me know and we can set your start date” she handed me a folder full of information including some food log worksheets with an example. It all seems excessive I thought to myself,
Am I really that bad off?
I’m sure there are other people in need of treatment more than myself!
I don’t need therapy.
It’s completely unnecessary!
It’s all a big scheme just to make money.
My depression at its worst, yet there is a whisper “it’s been 20 years and I’m still struggling and miserable. I don’t have anything else going on right now and I have medical insurance.”
I was out of excuses. I made the commitment to myself to find an eating disorder treatment program.
I reluctantly completed the “stupid” food log worksheets. The white copy paper has a grid layout, starting with a column for meals (Breakfast, snacks, lunch, snack, dinner, snack), and a place to note the time of day, next the column for food consumed, location where consumed, the hunger level before, and a place to note thoughts and feelings, level of satiated after, and finally a column for noting “behavior” resulting from eating and “level of anxiety.”
I played along, filling out the food logs as requested. I hated admitting when I binged and purged or was restricting, but I did it anyway, I frequently had the thought, “no one else needs to know.” which eventually would be countered by “I’m not doing myself any favors by not being honest.”
My anxiety was often intensified as the memories of previous confrontations would replay in my mind.
“Why do you even bother eating if you’re just going to throw it up?”
“I can’t believe someone would do that. They must be sick. “
I was very excited to get hired by a company that manufactures desktop computer-controlled machines that used various cutter bits for transferring artwork from a standard computer similar to a special printer that cuts instead of using ink. My position as a Field Service Technician was to provide support to users of the the company’s machines. We would take calls from customers who were experiencing machine failures or more likely, operator ignorance. If we weren’t able to solve the issue over the phone a technician would be dispatched to the client’s circuit board fabrication site. Initially, I thought I could handle the travel requirements of the job, the expectations escalated to 90% travel soon after closing the deal on our new home.
The stress became intense. The company sent me to Germany to be trained by the technicians who assemble the machines I was expected to support. Many of the guys I met spoke little English, making communication a challenging feet. Feeling alone, I started smoking cigarettes to calm my nerves. The evenings were especially lonely and my hunger demanded I locate some relief. I walked to a corner market near my hotel and bought handfuls of bingeing goodies: candies, cookies, cakes. When I returned to my room in the hotel, I would lay out the bounty and become a ravenous animal. Tearing into the wrappers and gorging myself with the drugs. I felt high which quickly changed to guilt, shame, and remorse. The routine took over; In between purges I drank water to ensure that I would be able to purge the disgusting filth from my stomach. The feeling of fullness consumed my body, while the satisfaction of having an empty stomach provided relief. Sadly, the comfort would be short lived and I would again feel guilt, shame, and remorse. Inhaling the cigarette when the craving for food returned gave me temporary relief from the hunger by replacing it with nausea. I wanted so badly for the cigarettes to help me overcome this crazy binging and purging cycle. Unfortunately, they were only strong enough to reduce the number of bulimic cycles. Damn it. Why can’t I stop? I felt so alone.
Sure, I tried to get help, I located a nearby eating disorder clinic consisting of one receptionist, one psychiatrist, two therapists, and a dietitian/nutritionist. The therapist I saw had a small/miniature Husky that she kept in her office during our sessions. The psychiatrist asked several standard questions and “Why do you feel the need to throw-up after you eat?” Puzzled look on my face. “How often do you purge?” I felt defensive and didn’t want to tell her the truth. “Some days only once, other days I go on several binges each followed by purging.” She was rather condescending in her tone. I tried to share my current struggles with her but I never felt comfortable. She asked questions about growing-up in my family. Her interest in me felt superficial matching the impression she gave me with her appearance.
I met with the dietitian once. She told me I seemed to know what I needed to eat to be healthy and recommended that I try sitting with my food resist overeating. I gave her method a try after each meal, sitting instead of going for seconds. It was working. My need to purge seemed to diminish by resisting the urge to stuff myself. I felt I was heading in the right direction and I stopped seeing the therapist. Not long after, I returned to cycles of binging and purging. The vending machine at work called to me. Just one or two cupcakes, potato chips, candy bars, cookies, all for the taking. Shortly after I scarfed them down I would be sure to drink soda or water to wash it down and allow for the purging in the restroom. I would bring bottled water into the stall with me so that I could rinse out my stomach until I was puking up mostly clear water. I felt relief knowing that the toxic junk was out of my stomach. Followed by guilt and shame. I was disgusting. I knew there was something wrong with me. I reasoned that it was my lack of willpower. I was weak. Other people didn’t seem to struggle like I did. Co-workers ate whatever they desired and stayed healthy looking. My body couldn’t be trusted. It failed me before. Saving every calorie I took in the form of gigantic fat cells. I couldn’t allow this to happen again.
How could people that are overweight live with themselves? They chose to be fat because if they really wanted to lose weight they could. They lacked the willpower to restrict food and vomit as necessary. It was those people I felt sorry for. They were either ignorant of what food are healthy or failed to choose the right ones.
Being overweight is not an option. I refuse to go back to that disgusting, pathetic version of myself. I hated myself. I was uncomfortable with myself. The only way to cope with the emptiness inside was to fill it with distractions.
I felt exploited.
I was resentful.
I was tired of being everyone’s bitch!
I perceived myself as being treated with less value, than even I, felt I was worth. I needed something. I needed a way that I could feel “compensated” for this injustice. I tried to resist these thoughts with what I thought were more constructive thoughts. Well, I often thought of it as “partial volunteer work.” The concept would play out in my head.
“We’ve decided to double your wage in order to better compensate you for what you’re worth.”
I would smile; thrilled at finally being recognized for being me and the struggles I’ve had to suffer.
“Knowing that you’re the wonderful person that you are…”
My smile turns to a frown.
“One-half of your wages will now be automatically donated to the company.”
If I *believe* I see others taking exception to the rule, then I am inclined to feel “cheated” for being expected to abide by rules that others get to be the exception to without consequence of punishment. My knee-jerk reaction is to feel that “they are getting away with something that I’m not!” The feelings of anger, frustration, and injustice start swelling inside. I fought off resentment with what rational I could as best as I could. While stealing violated my core values, I wanted to retaliate against those who wronged me. I remembered the rush I got from “taking what I wanted” and “the thrill of getting away with it” when I was a teenager. I felt frustrated and I was getting mad. Driven mad by the insidiously, nagging, thought. Demanding attention, “The Company deserves some loss and I deserve some gain.” I theorized that I must not be receiving enough compensation. Despite my best efforts, I felt I was struggling to keep my bills current. Now, I can better understand that the problem wasn’t external to me. The problem lay in my perspective being distorted. A perceived injustice leading to feelings of entitlement.
The fear of knowing my idea is risky with a possibility of getting caught and consequently, punished as a result. Eventually, my suppressed feelings; my inner-demons, wore me down. I felt as though I needed to feed the demons in some way that would satisfy their hunger. I would just have to receive my compensation in the form of products and make sure that I don’t get caught. After all, I couldn’t simple quit; I liked working hard. It kept me occupied and distracted. My fear fed my obsession. Fear of not having an item when it was needed outweighed my rationale. I was scraping by to pay my share of the bills and fund my distractions. How do I get the items I want without spending money I can’t afford to lose. The store/employer can afford to lose a little profit, besides there is insurance to cover losses and tax write-offs. I deserve to receive a “special discount.”
The thought goes through my mind and I am excited. I feel my heart beat faster, my mind starts racing with plans to act out the deed. Loud thoughts of justification, “Oh, it’s not that big of a deal.”
“It won’t hurt them.”
“Cory, you deserve it.”
I’m on autopilot. Compelled. My demon takes control and the true me is only able to watch.
Completion is relief.
Down.. down… down:
The job was boring, reminding me of my past experience working for state government. Repetitive, boring, unclear plot projects with requirements that require excessive meetings to “hammer out those details.” About two months into the job, I had completed the first project I was hired to do. “Cory?” A man’s voice broke through the silence of the large room with several divided workspaces. I turned to the opening of my workspace and saw an unfamiliar middle-aged, man with a round face, large cheeks, muscular build, with short hair, standing there, “Cory?”
“I NEED HELP NOW!”
If you are feeling suicidal, don’t lock it away inside yourself. Talk to your friends, to your partner, to your doctor. Any fight is easier when you fight it with others by your side. Be proud that you have made it this far. Recognize that it is fear that is holding you back and not bravery. There is nothing brave about bottling up your emotions to the point where you feel suicide is the only option. There is nothing manly or tough about shutting loved ones out from the truth of what you are going through. Being a man or being a strong woman, means realizing that you are not alone in this world and bravery is asking for help when you need it.
“OKAY, SO NOW WHAT?”
Chances are that you, the reader has tried desperately to help yourself, through many self-help books, articles, and stories. If you’re like me, you’ve felt that many are trite, feel good, crap. The “feel good” doesn’t seem to last long. Many authors are hawking some concept or product that’s appealing, and if they work at all, it’s only temporarily. The effects wear off and the cycle continues. Repeat cycle.
“Hey, why don’t you just suck-it-up and look on the bright side, things can always be worse and chances are somebody, somewhere, has survived it and so will you. Only weak, pathetic, crazy people need help.”
How would I know if I were crazy anyway?
Would anyone tell me if I were mentally ill and would I listen?
What if I am sick in the head and have been all along?
“No, you’re just weak.” I’ve said that many times to myself and yet deep down, I don’t think I really believed it. Tired of struggling to live, yes, but I wasn’t weak. I can acknowledge that; I have proven my strength to myself many times. So that’s not the problem. It’s more as though life’s struggles are problems without good solutions.
No one around me asked me directly, “What would it take for you to believe that you need professional help? To be able to say, ‘I’m hurting, and I need help.’?” Even if there was such a person to ask me that question I doubt it would have changed the fact that I had to lose everything I held valuable before I could realize the truth. What I was doing, over and over again, wasn’t working and I was not any closer to living the life that I desperately wanted. A life that deep down everyone wants. A life filled with happiness.
It meant admitting [to myself] “I’ve been wrong!”
“I have been living my life based on incorrect information.”
It wasn’t clear what I should do.
Not just the stigma from others, but to leave my zone of comfort to do something that I knew would be a challenge like no other. I had to willingly undergo a mind altering process, through a form of brainwashing, from strangers. Now that is crazy!
I’m unemployed and searching for any crappy job. Without my own transportation, opportunities to indulge my binge cravings were limited. I smoked cigarettes throughout the day to help reduce my anxiety.
The negative thoughts bombarding me:
“You are the biggest loser,”
“fat and gross,”
“You’re so fucking stupid!”
“You deserve to suffer.”
“Your record is permanently marked with nine felonies.”
“I’ll make sure your mistakes haunt you for the rest of your life.”
“You hurt the only person who loves you, you know?”
“You really fucked-up!”
“You’re not worthy of existing.”
I was hurting so badly I felt deep physical pain inside for I had hit rock bottom. Thoughts of overdosing or jumping off of a high building, ledge, or bridge played over and over in my mind. I didn’t want to go on struggling and I didn’t want anyone to know how weak I had become.
“Men don’t cry and they certainly don’t talk about feelings.” Men need women and other men to believe they are strong, independent, and emotionally distant so as to not come off as having ‘feelings’ which is characteristic of being feminine, homosexual, or even worse, sensitive.
Men need justification, an excuse, to connect with other men – sports, work, women, church – over a beer to loosen tongues yet appear tough like the guys in the beer commercials. Why can’t men be close without an excuse? What if a stranger gets the wrong impression, or even worse, someone sees you expressing feelings.
It was ignorant to think that I could control my feelings.
I was ready to end this miserable existence. I cannot imagine a much more dire circumstance by which I should realize that I need help. Yet, I was still resistant. I finally made an appointment with my insurance company’s mental health services department. There was nothing left for me to lose. What little pride I had left in myself was overshadowed with a disappointment I couldn’t shake. My antidepressants weren’t giving me enough relief from depression. I reluctantly made it to my first appointment with a therapist and then a psychiatrist for a medication evaluation. I felt crippled by the pain induced by the constant thoughts reminding me of what I had lost.
My eating disorder was my escape from the crippling guilt and shame I felt from being a sensitive homosexual who failed constantly at supporting myself. When binging and purging wasn’t enough, I would smoke cigarettes. I would often smoke enough to feel nauseous giving me temporary relief from the hunger. I felt desperate, ravenous, similar to that of a cigarette smoker with an empty pack, isolated without access to more. I’m digging desperately through an ashtray hoping to find enough butt that I could smoke.
Maybe some people recover. Completely. No more ED.
I find it nearly impossible to believe that one day
I will wake-up and ED will be gone. A forgotten memory.
So until that day, I’m going to use my
Rules for Living with ED:
“Solution Sandwich” – a proposed structure for difficult communications
White bread – a genuine statement of empathy or appreciation for the person you are talking to
e.g. I understand how hard it must be to deal with this situation,
or: I appreciate your role in my life so much
I feel (honest feelings, like sad, angry, afraid, guilty) – this builds intimacy and explains reason for request
I need – state what it is you need
Would you please – ask them as specifically as you are able to for the part they might do in meeting your need
e.g. I feel afraid that I am going to hurt your feelings but I feel sad right now and I need some time to myself. Would you please forgive me if I cancel our plans for this weekend?
Or: I feel angry that the kitchen is a mess. I need help in keeping our home neat. Would you please pick 2 nights a week that you can clean up after dinner?
Or: I feel guilty that I have not been able to help as much around here as I used to. I need to apologize for so much falling on you. Would you please help me brainstorm about what I am able to do that would help even out the load?
White bread – more honest empathy, perhaps an honest statement of appreciation for hearing your request.
e.g. Thank you for listening to me through this; it is so important to me that we understand each other and each other’s needs.
There are three levels of “muscle” you can use with a Solution Sandwich: 1, 2 and 3. One involves saying, I need. Two involves saying, I really need, and Three involves saying, I really need and if you do not, I will…then stating a consequence. Try not to let it get to level 3 by using the Solution Sandwich as soon as you’ve identified there is a problem.