A good friend called me today too vent. This is unusual for him, because is probably the most stoic person I know. He generally considers emotion to be weakness and avoids it like ISIS avoids bacon. So when he calls, I answer. He confided in me that he has had a hell of a month, and is not doing so great. 4 people he knows have died this month, some by natural causes and some by suicide. This is obviously a hard thing to for anyone to deal with.
He told me while walking thru the grocery store picking up some deli meat, he smelt an old familiar smell that triggered a series of flashbacks and panic attacks. He had to leave his shopping cart in the isle and head for home immediately or risk public embarrassment. This was a few days ago, and he has been a mess since that moment.
We talked about what was going on and I agreed that what he was experiencing was symptomatic of a panic attack, and that he may be having flashbacks set on by the smell in the deli. He was a cop for years and has seen more carnage than I want to know about. The smell of the sour meat in the deli took him back to a few times in the past where he was on the job and was exposed to the deceased. He didn't want to call me, but he finally did, and we talked for a half hour, he felt better.
The point is we all get into jams sometimes, all of us. For a lot of us when that happens our first instinct is to white knuckle our way thru it. Sometimes we think that if we reach out to a friend, that we will be bothering them or become an inconvenience. That is a lie. What is an inconvenience is keeping everything to yourself, and eventually losing the war within. There is a meme going around that says "I'd rather sit with you for 100 hours listening to your problems, than to spend 1 hour at your funeral". It's the truth!
The hardest call to make is the one asking for help. But its the most important.