THE STRUGGLE IS REAL….

…sharing our burdens is vital for managing mental wellbeing.

We will never truly understand how challenging it is for others that walk away from all that which they know and start all over. To take on new challenges and carve out a new life with hope and optimism is easier said than done. We are parents to three beautiful daughters aged 18,16 and 12. We have moved to North Carolina to build a business and fulfill our dreams. The dream was planned pre-Covid and came to fruition just before Covid reared its ugly head. We left behind our extended family, our support base, our community, our friends our knowledge and comfort zone. I knew it was going to be hard. I expected the up’s and downs, highs, and lows but honestly, when I sit down and really gather my mind and thoughts of what we just did…I am blown away at how much we have left behind and at just how hard it has been to persevere and adapt to get by these last 9 months.  While we are experiencing our struggles as parents and solopreneurs, our teenagers have had their own struggles too. Their entire whole world has been turned upside down. They are making friends in this wonderful new home and good friends at that too. The un-familiarity though is still stressful for them. 

Some of you reading this have young adults at college for the first time, or like mine, are planning to go into college in the next year or two.  This change is massive for your young adult.  It is significant, and stressful!  Our family may have moved countries, but your families change can be just as stressful, if not more so.  New friends to make, finding work, being liked, and accepted.  The context is different, but the situation is the same – alone with our own thoughts of fear and anxiety. College life is a chance to reset.  In the same way that our family has had a reset, yours has too.  For all of us change brings excitement, it also brings along with the excitement anxiety and fear.  The challenge is for us to not compare our stresses and the cause of anxiety.  The issues I am experiencing are like mountains in my eyes but may seem insignificant through yours.

I was naively optimistic. A reset to life, a reset to all the bad decisions and mistakes once made and taking those learnings to our new business and home. We were literally just starting all over and making better life for our family than the one we left behind with a vision building a Dollar Based Pension that could fulfill our dreams of travelling the world once we chose to retire. This has not been easy. We start to miss what we once had.  We knew the system and now we don’t know this new system.  Drivers licenses, credit scores, school districts, college applications, where to shop, dry cleaning services, gyms, party venues, maintenance, plumbing, gardening, and yard work aaaarrggh, the list goes on and on. As a family of five we are also all at different stages of the stress cycle.   One is happy, one is sad, one is normal and the other just hanging on for survival.  It is not the big obstacles that create the depression, it is the compound effect off all the little things that add up.  It’s the not knowing what groceries to buy, utility providers to apply for, contracts, leasing, vehicles, medical, doctors, and appointments that you need to make and do.

Because of this, we are more deliberate when we engage in difficult conversations at home, at work, in business and with team members.  We plan company functions to build camaraderie and find alternative ways to entertain and be entertained at home and socially.  All five of us need to build intimate friendships where we identify relationships to start, others to nurture and some relationships that need to possibly end.  All this compounds the stresses.  As a father and husband, I fear that when I confide my insecurities to Caryn, she bears my burden and may become reluctant to share hers with me.  Now I am compounding the stress and worry which overflows to the girls. This ongoing internalizing manifests into a deeper depression which limits communication, and it is this very lack of communication that could take us into a downward spiral that if not recognized, will have us in a dark, scary place before we know it.  Our struggle, like yours, is very real.

We may think that time will start to heal how we feel so we suppress how we are feeling. We say to ourselves, I can handle this, I don’t won’t to be an extra burden on the children, my spouse or partner, we certainly can’t let our friends know.  What will they think of us?  Besides, we say to ourselves, I am not a victim, and I won’t be a statistic? This attitude forces us to push through by forming potentially bad habits such as having another glass of wine, eat that extra piece of comfort food, lie in bed that little bit longer and binge watch shows as often as possible because this is what we perceive gets us through the next day, month, two months or even the next 6months.  I share this because as a family we are far from perfect, and we have challenges.  We also have many wonderful things that are going in our favor. I have a great team at work, I am inspired by innovations in the organization. There is excitement around choosing colleges.  Yes, there is some fear but also excitement. We are being supported by graceful individuals who are understanding where we are at in this moment of our lives. The truth is we can only discover these wonderful things if we communicate and focus on the common stresses that others have around us. The amazing thing is, just sharing how we are feeling lifts a weight off our shoulders and we can think a little clearer and make better decisions. 

Earlier I mentioned my fears of sharing the stresses I have with Caryn. When I mentioned this to her, showing my vulnerability, she helped me realize that my concern was valid but untrue.  Hearing from me made her feel important and supportive.  It gave her the freedom to also lighten her load and share her concerns with me too. The best part, our children have picked up on this too.  By sharing my fears with Caryn, she put me at ease, and we now openly talk about what causes anxiety and can have these very same conversations as a family. To ensure that you do not end up in a downward stress spiral, share how you are feeling. If this does not change anything, remember you are not alone, and professional help is a great approach to sharing your burden.

*****

Neville De Lucia has been in the people development business for over 20years.  He started his career as a certified financial planner and joined Dale Carnegie as a performance consultant in October 2000. Over the years Neville has applied his trade globally and supports the development of organizations by delivering customized training to clients in the USA, Europe, Middle East and Africa.  Neville is a Business Coach, TEDx Speaker Coach and has a passion for youth development and is currently engaging with young adults on job readiness initiatives that will prepare them for the workplace of the future.

As a people’s person, you will find that Neville is fit for purpose in this industry.  His focus on others allows them to grow into the person that they want to be.  Neville and his wife Caryn moved to Cary North Carolina in January 2021 with their three daughters and are excited to build a successful business in the USA.  To work with Neville or to just have a conversation reach out and connect with him here.

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