>Asking For Help is Strength

>I have always considered myself to be an athlete. Yes. Really! In high school, the 400 meter relay was my favorite event and my first attempt at it was at age 14. I also ran the 400 meter hurdles and the open 400. Right from the start I was hooked on running. Now, some 30+ years later, I still enjoy the runner’s high aka “endorphins.” I consider myself to be an athlete because of my passion for exercise, for competing, and even more so, the sense of accomplishment from completing every run.This morning I read a sad story about professional athletes who don’t ask for help. The story was a “ah-ha” moment for me, which leads me to conclude that athletes are not always taught to ask for help and… neither are mom! The story’s headline reads, “Despite resources, players reluctant to seek help.” Most of us know at least one person, include ourselves, who have needed help, may or may not have had the resources, had but did not ask for help. The story resonated with me because the two athletes discussed, Pro-Bowler Barret Robbins and Kenny McKinley appeared to live the all American athlete’s dream. A great salary,professional football career, fame, and more, yet both lives have taken a downward spiral. McKinley’s story tragically ends with suicide, reportedly caused by depression from injuries that kept him off the field.  Robbin’s professional career is over. Perhaps there is still time for him. According to reports, Robbin was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, served time in jail for attempted murder and probation violation, was ordered to receive treatment in a substance abuse treatment facility, and in 2009 was moved to half-way house. I don’t know, we can only hope and pray that he recovers. And recovery doesn’t necessarily mean a return to his professional football career, but more of a resuscitation back to living a healthy and productive life.



So I’m thinking… As an athlete, you’re taught to never give up, and to finish the race no matter what. About ten years ago, I ran a half-marathon (13.1 miles). When I reached the ten-mile mark, my knees ached like never before. I loss range of motion and could barely lift my feet off the ground- I clearly remember thinking, “I don’t care if I have to crawl to the finish line, I will finish!” Shortly after the thought, I came upon another runner, who was experiencing his own set of aches and pains. He expressed similar feelings, “I am not quitting!” I am pleased to say that we persevered and finished the race together. Internal motivation pushed us to finish. I believe that (as an athlete) the inner driver is stronger than any amount of weights you can lift, “never quit?” “A winner never quits!” it’s ingrained in your brain, heart, and soul—- persevere to the end. And- although you’re part of a team, the will to continue comes burns like fire from within. Where’s the connection right? Am I suggesting that moms quit? No, I don’t think so! Keep reading…


For me, the story has a direct correlation to busy moms. As moms, we carry so much on the plate and, quite often, feel as though we have to. Tending to the needs of our family– Delicately balancing our children’s academic progress, social progress, extra-curricular activities, and attempts to maintain the house.  All of while trying to squeeze some “Me” time in. At times, it can be incredibly overwhelming. Ironically, we insist that our children come to us for help, yet, we don’t always seek help for ourselves. I think the key is self-awareness. Being keenly aware of our mind-set is critical. Shifting from auto pilot to manual, where we are in control. Questioning what is being felt and why; then making a conscious decision to make changes and/or get the help that we need.


So often we see others (moms), like the football players, who appear to have it all together, but in actuality, are holding on by a thread. I say, forget about looking at everyone else, and work with what we have (as individuals). Everybody’s circumstances are different- you know, things are not what they appear to be. As a friend once said to me, “all that glitters ain’t gold!” So true! Anyway, my point is that ladies, it is okay to ask for help; asking for demonstrates STRENGTH.

Knowing where the resources are can be the key to getting the help that may be needed. I looked up a few agencies that may be helpful to you, a friend, a neighbor, or a family member; they are below:


http://www.aclink.org/women/ – Atlantic County Government. Provides links to some of the agencies listed below. Also lists phone number and addresses.


http://www.aclink.org/PublicHealth/mainpages/Mothers.asp


http://www.acwc.org/ – Atlantic County Women’s Center


http://www.atlanticare.org/women/index.php – Atlanticare Regional Medical Center Women’s Health Services


http://www.atlanticare.org/cancer/detection/mobile.php – Mobile Mammography


http://www.aclink.org/CFI/mainpages/5_centers.asp – Atlantic County Family Centers


www.nj211.org – Help in navigating the social service system.


Remember….    “Think Forward!”

Be blessed!

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