Strong Enough for Help

Strong Enough for Help

It was a Thursday when I walked up to the doors of Ark Crisis Child Care Center  (Ark) in a suit. This time though I wasn’t there for a board meeting.

I serve on the board of directors of Ark Crisis Center and thought I understood the mission in the work of the organization but I really didn’t. I don’t think you can until are in a situation where you need the help they are providing.

I thought the people who utilize the services were unemployed, low income mothers- maybe who were trying to get clean and sober.  I am none of those things, but there I was at the doorstep of the center at 9:15 a.m. with tears in my eyes.

I had triplets Sept. 1, 2013. Several months after they were born, I was hit out of the blue with post-traumatic stress disorder from my tumultuous pregnancy that left me emotionally paralyzed.

One night I started crying uncontrollably because of the trauma I had experienced. After my husband came home from work I got under the covers and cried all night and didn’t know how I was going to care for my babies and 4 -year-old the next day.

During this time I had a few people helping here and there with the babies who I probably could have called to come over. But I didn’t need help with the babies; I needed help with me. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I needed the babies out of the house so I could cope with what was going on with me. I didn’t want someone in the house watching them while I cried in my bedroom.

I don’t know how I got through that first day, but by the second or third day it had gotten so overwhelming that I knew what I needed to do — take care of me.

I called Angie (the Executive Director of Ark and a friend) and told her I needed to bring the babies in right away, and without hesitation she said come right now.

I cried and cried as I dropped them off, not only because I was an emotional wreck but also because my ego could not handle that I was now a parent of an Ark Crisis Center child. My husband makes a decent income; we are educated; I drive a sweet van and wear matching work out clothes.

I remember Angie just hugging me and telling me all they cared about was taking care of the babies while I took care of me. My heart and my head were saying two different things; either way though I knew this is what I needed to do.

For several months I continued to take the babies to Ark when I needed respite. The teacher would thank me for bringing the babies and tell me how strong I was reaching out for help. There was a part of me that knew I was strong, but I also felt guilty and weak.

There were days when I would call and then show up in tears because I needed relief from the stress of the triplets. Several weeks would go by, and I could start to feel that stress and feeling of drowning return so I would call and bring them in for a day so the stress wouldn’t get to the tipping point.

When I thought I didn’t need the help, the occasional break and relief, the outcome wasn’t great.

Months ago the babies were starting to teeth, and they were all crying and fussing all day for several days.

I had been feeling overwhelmed and our four year old was being four, and I yelled at him — like really yelled at him for the first time ever. I don’t yell; I scared me and him.

The next day he wasn’t listening, and I grabbed his mouth. This was the  first time I’d ever put my hands on him in this way. I didn’t grab him hard at all, but when I did it, I froze and immediately started kissing his face and lips. He didn’t think a thing about it.

I walked away and started crying. I knelt down by my bed and started to pray.To an outside person this would have looked like nothing, but to me it was everything.

I didn’t call Ark when I felt that drowning feeling coming back and that was what happened.

I eventually started to work very part time; I needed it for my sanity. I had an opportunity to work on a project once a week for eight weeks, and of course on the second week the babysitter called in the morning and was not able to come and I needed to be at work in an hour. My husband had a meeting, and I felt like I couldn’t call in, I had just started this job opportunity, so I called Ark. I only needed care for the babies for three hours.

I walked up to Ark in a suit. All the other days I arrived either disheveled and in tears or in a T-shirt and jeans. I felt almost justified in that “uniform” of desperation. But in a freshly pressed suit and looking put together I felt guilty. All of this guilt I was feeling was manifested by me and only me.  All they wanted to do was watch my babies so I could do what I needed to do.
I attended and still do attend fundraising events for nonprofits that serve the community. I dress up, bid on silent auction items, give them my money and leave. During that process I felt I understood their missions as much as I could. But now I truly know how important these organizations are for the people of our community as one of them has been so important to me.

I learned that you don’t have to be poor, or uneducated to use the services of community organizations. You just have to have a need, and I can promise you that all they want to do is help. If you can put your ego aside (if you even have a problem with that) you can get the help you need.

Do you have a drug or alcohol problem and need help, but your ego is in the way? Do you have money and a job and think you are too good to go to treatment? Does your son or daughter need help with drugs/alcohol/bullying and an a local organization could help? Are you in an abusive relationship but won’t get help because you think you don’t fit the stereotype of a women in this kind of relationship?

I can promise you that you are not the first professional, college educated or your fill in the blank excuse that they have seen. Reach out for help; that’s what these organizations are there for.

Also, I encourage you to support the organizations you are passionate about. They are saving and changing lives.

The organizations I feel strongly about and give to personally are Ark Crisis Child Care Center, Youth First and Project Reveal.

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Ark Crisis Child Care Center
-A stress-less home is safer for children. Stress is a primary common factor in most cases of abuse. If you can reduce adult stress, the likelihood of abuse declines drastically.
-Ark is available to any child, aged 6-weeks to 6-years. There are no restriction on income or where you live. You do not have to be poor or live in Evansville to ask for help.
-Ark has helped bankers, politicians, lawyers, professors, teachers, DCS workers, police officers as well as the unemployed, homeless, drug abusers, convicted felons and many others. They all have something in common- they were parents and they needed help. We don’t judge and we don’t treat anyone better or worse than any other person.

Youth First’s mission is to strengthen youth and families through evidence-based programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors, and maximize student success.
-The top reasons that students were referred to a Youth First Social Worker last year included anxiety, depression, anger, school behaviors, peer conflict, social skills, substance abuse, home life concerns, and basic needs such as food or clothing.
-On average, Youth First Social Workers are involved in 15.5 crisis interventions a week for potentially life-threatening situations.

Project Reveal: To provide a voice and community for women by encouraging them to be honest about their struggles, to inspire hope and to validate their journey by providing a forum to share their stories.
-According to the Psychology Foundation of Canada, self-regard is rooted in authentic self-understanding. Sharing our thoughts and feelings with other people and getting their feedback are great ways to increase our self-understanding.Research by pioneering Canadian-born psychologist, Sidney Jourard, has shown that self-disclosure is an important component of mental health.