It’s Not Just You

Not an exaggeration: every day – as in every single day – since my last post I have heard from someone who has a kid who is struggling.  Every single day.


Oh, and, by the way, here’s a fact: struggling kid = struggling family.  Truth.


Old friends I’ve not seen in decades.


Friends of friends.  Lots of ‘em.


Strangers who happened to see my blog.


Difficult people.


Super cool people.


Rich, poor, city, suburban.


There’s no discrimination here, folks.


Each has a story starts with the same theme: a kid who is struggling.  Some situations are eerily similar to ours. Others a different flavor.  All are heartbreaking. Each exhausting.


I’ve received private messages, texts, emails, phone calls, Facebook messages all saying the same thing:


I thought it was just us.


Nope.  It is not just you.


It is not just your kid (wait: never just the kid…the whole family).


Trust me: you are not alone.

And that’s kind of what it all boils down to, isn’t it?


That sinking, horrible, unshakable sense that you are alone.


The shame you think only you carry.


The anger you are sure no one else feels.


The resentment. The fear. The exhaustion.


The loneliness. That’s the worst.  The loneliness.


But this isn’t just about a kid (no, a family) going off the rails.


It’s about financial worries.


It’s about aging parents.


It’s about having a kid on the spectrum or one who is either bullying or being bullied.


It’s about the challenges of marriage – no matter how fabulous your partner might be.


It’s about  the college fund you never managed to, well, fund.


It’s about the cancer, or the heart disease, or the dementia.


It’s about being 100% committed to the (entirely false) notion that no one else is feeling your feels, worrying your worries, dreading your dreads, struggling your struggles.


Reality: That’s not the case.


While we might know (in our brain, anyway) that others share the same issues, worries, and fear, we definitely don’t always know it in our hearts.


While we are busy powering through, superhero cape flapping, and making decisions that are equal parts difficult and terrifying, it is hard to remember that we are not alone.


When the phone rings and your heart sinks in anticipation of what’s on the other end, it’s hard to remember that you are not alone.


When your kid is this or that or your parent is this or that or when your partner or friend is this or that or you are this or that it’s hard to remember that you are not alone.


But, really, I promise you, you are never alone.