Age 44 - Wife and Mother of Two
As the person everyone else leaned on, Sharon wasn’t sure how to ask for help when she began feeling overwhelmed.
JUGGLING A FULL PLATE
1. JUGGLING A FULL PLATE
Sharon’s plate was already full before the pandemic: in addition to juggling her own busy life along with her husband and two children, she was also the “go to” person in her extended family when anyone needed support. “I was always the go-getter and the one to offer other people extra help. I was proud of the fact that I could successfully manage my own family and career while also being the person my loved ones could lean on when they needed something.”
2. FEELING OVERWHELMED
When stay at home orders took effect in her area last year, Sharon struggled to help her family adjust to the new normal of working at home and distance learning. At the same time, her mother was dealing with the effects of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and her father was battling stomach cancer. She also felt the impact of seeing acts of racism and civil unrest unfold across the country.
3. SEEKING HELP
“I just felt overwhelmed, like I was a failure as a wife, mother, employee and daughter. I couldn’t focus and felt guilty all the time about not being able to give everything my best effort.” As someone who’d never had to ask for help before, Sharon wasn’t sure how to manage the increased stress and started having what she calls “mini panic attacks”. Knowing she needed to do something but unsure where to find answers, she decided to reach out to her employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for guidance.
SUPPORTING HER SON
4. SUPPORTING HER SON
“They connected me to some great resources, including a therapist I’ve been seeing for a few months that really helped sort through what I was feeling and identify ways I can better manage my emotions.” Though it took some time to find a therapist who was a good fit, she's found therapy so helpful that she proactively started having her son attend regular sessions on his own, to help navigate the disruption he was experiencing with school and social connections.
5. ENCOURAGING OTHERS
“I wanted to give him that outlet and support before it got to a crisis point like I did. He’s enjoyed it and I think it made a big difference in how we got through the past year.” She also uses her and her son’s experience to advocate for the overall benefits of mental health support. By talking openly with family and friends about her own struggles, she hopes to encourage them to seek help when they need it.
6. SUPPORTING WELLBEING
“There’s often this stereotype of being a ‘strong Black woman’ who can handle all of her own problems along with everyone else’s, and that’s just not healthy. Hopefully I can be an example that you can still be strong and successful while sometimes asking for help when you need it. If anything, it’s helped me be an even greater source of strength to the people I care about.”
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