"Do you cut yourself?"
That's what the slightly annoyed woman on the other end of the phone line wanted to know. I was calling up an eating disorder clinic to ask them about the outpatient program they had, hoping to get on the list.
First of all, holy moly, no warm-up?
Second of all... cut myself??
I immediately felt bad.
Like an underachiever.
Like I didn't struggle enough.
“I am thinking of joining Operation Tigger, but I don’t think I’m struggling with winter ENOUGH” is the concern I find in my inbox every single year. “Yes, my energy drops, and my mood drops, and I am more irritable than usual, and my workouts sort of drag, but … like… I’m fine, you know?”.
Oh, I know.
I’m the queen of fine. A friend told me once: “You know… you may come off as too strong for your own good. You exude and radiate an aura of got-my-shit-together-edness like few people I know. Most who know you wouldn’t think you’d need help”.
Also... the unfortunate fact is that there IS often a struggle threshold. Like… we have to struggle a certain amount before being eligible for help.
You gotta pass the struggle test.
The woman on the phone had more questions.
"Do you abuse alcohol or drugs?"
Umm... The two bottles of craft beer have been in my fridge for weeks. As for drugs - not since smoking weed in India. But, that's India - it's actually harder to get beer in India. Does coffee count?
"How often do you think of hurting yourself", continues the woman.
I finally snap. "Listen, I am not suicidal! I have an eating disorder. Which is why I called YOU, and not a suicide prevention hot line".
"Oh". The woman sounds disappointed. "Well, if there is no immediate risk of self-harm, we do not put your name on the list".
There was no other list.
Which, perhaps, is the crux of the problem for anyone in the "high-functioning" camp - anxiety, depression, burnout, alcoholism, seasonal affective disorder. Take your pick.
"Look at you! You are vertical, AND you don't have a gun barrel in your mouth. Congrats!".
You don’t struggle enough.
You are just fine enough.
It's hard to find a place where you go if you are just a regular person who is fucking tired, but more so than usual, and occasionally sort of depressed, but still manages to get their laundry done.
I found that place with few people.
And I try to build that place for others.
I don’t care what the annoyed woman on the phone told you - in my book, if you are considering getting support for whatever struggle - you struggle just the right amount.
There is no official struggle threshold here.
And I will welcome you with open arms.
If your struggle is something else, I hope you find a place that doesn’t make you RANK your struggle on a scale of 1 to 10, before you can get help.
Have questions - you can find me here: https://www.instagram.com/k_solovieva/