If You Can't Fix It With A Sandwich, Walk Away

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Feeding People Does Wonders For My Mental Health

In other words: Put your OWN oxygen mask on before helping others.

I like helping people. I like volunteering for stuff. Particularly when it comes to feeding people. Whenever sign-up sheets went around in church for a pitch-in, potluck, taking a meal to a family, or hosting the missionaries for dinner, I always signed up.

For me, feeding people is the easiest and best way to show someone you care about them.

If someone needs something, and I have a something that I don't particularly need or use, I'm happy to hand over that something. It's easy for me; I like doing it. It's just a thing I do. And it's not a big deal. (It's kind of how society should work, isn't it?)

You've probably heard the announcement on airplanes: "Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others." The same applies to life in general. It's not selfish — it's common sense.

My peak of helping others was also the peak of my mental health. I was doing SO good. I was just sailing along with little trips here and there.

Well, surprise! After last year, helping people became hard. I still tried to do it, but I never bothered to take care of myself first. Because of that, helping others simply exhausted me. What's worse is it took away from what I was able to give my family as well.

I also began to pull away from emotionally difficult relationships. I certainly didn't need anyone else making me feel worse; I'm perfectly capable of making myself feel like garbage, thanks.

Slowly, things started to improve, and with therapy I can actually feel the old me begin to bubble up. Several people have already mentioned how much happier I seem, and that means an awful lot to me.

This is where things get tricky. Pieces of the old me are starting to show up. I'm happier, but I'm still not strong enough to wade in the emotional struggles of others. I'm an empath, and I always have been.

For the last year I've actually hated being an empath because it's made me such a delicious target to awful people. Being an empath isn't a bad thing, but right now I really need to take care of myself. So I've learned that if I can't improve a situation with a sandwich, then sorry, I'm out.

The good news is, I can fix a lot of things for a lot of different people with a sandwich. So can you. There's thousands of different sandwiches for thousands of different situations, and I'm happy to provide whatever sandwich is needed when I'm available.

So if you're an empath, or a giver, or a helper, or a doer, but it's really in your best interest to take care of yourself right now, ask yourself if a situation can be improved with a sandwich. Sandwiches mean a lot to people (so do cheeseburgers, burritos, gyros, and falafel).

If it's not a situation that can be improved in any way with any form of sandwich, maybe step away. Maybe have a sandwich yourself.

This article was originally published at mooshinindy.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.