Do you ever feel like the Main Line is like the show ‘Cheers?’ It’s the place where ‘everybody knows your name.’ When your life is going well, this kind of social recognition feels supportive. It’s great to run into everyone that you know at the Farmer’s Market, and it’s wonderful to know and greet so many other women at the gym.
However, if your life begins to fray at the edges or slides into crisis, your social situation probably does not feel as easy and comfortable. You may start wishing that fewer people knew your name.
When my marriage fell apart in 2009, I was too overwhelmed to tell my friends or even my family about how I was feeling. I didn’t want my clients or coworkers to think that I was too upset to do my job. I also feared that people would judge me for having a failed marriage. Instead of reaching out for the support that I needed, I glued a smile on my face and told everyone that I was fine. I’m pretty sure that not one person believed me, but I stuck to the story nonetheless.
When you are overwhelmed, it’s hard to confide in your friends. On the Main Line, there’s a fear that if you tell one person about your personal crisis, that the news will travel down Route 30 and become fodder for gossip. Given this concern, I’ve observed that the vast majority of women will (like me) protect their privacy at the expense of their own emotional wellbeing.
Four years later, my life is happy and peaceful again (even with a broken heel). I’ve learned,the hard way, that I make my own life more difficult by declining help when it’s offered. It’s tempting to believe that other people have perfect lives, but in reality, they are probably concealing stress as well.
There’s no shame in going through a personal crisis. It happens to everyone. The problem arises when we don’t ask for help when we need it the most.
Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D.
More from love