Have you ever felt raw, like you've been rubbed over with sandpaper and lime juice dripped in the wounds?

Your nerves frayed, your patience waning, energy depleted. Just... nothing left to give?

Of course you have.

If you're reading this I know that you've done this dance before.

Right now I'm hiding in a safe space. I'm not at *that* place yet, where the world is overwhelming, too loud, too bright, too demanding, where everything hurts and nothing soothes.

But I'm on that path.

It's been a day.

It's been one hell of a day.

It's been a fucking day.

I know the dance by now.

I know that when the anger and the sadness start dancing samba together that it's time to beat a tactical retreat.

I never used to do that.

I used to push and push and beat myself when I thought I hadn't given enough.

Crying silent tears of the perpetually exhausted and chronically stressed, whilst the internal narrative raged as what a fraud and imposter and hopeless loser I was for not having done more.

God I never want to go back to that place.

But it's been a day.

And the anger and sadness are dancing a slow rumba, intertwined together, and so I beat a retreat.

That's what they never tell you.

That it's ok to stop. It's ok to give up on the day and let yourself just be.

That when you put yourself out there, again and again, caring for others, supporting others, helping others, it isn't because you're superhuman or no longer need the support.

No, if you care about others you need MORE support.

Otherwise you go hoovering up everyone else's troubles and are left when filled with other people's dust and rubbish that you've relieved them of.

And nowhere to let your own crap out.

If you're in a caring profession, or if you're empathetic, or if you're simply a great person who cares, it's not a badge of honour to do it all by yourself.

It's a badge of honour to reach out. To ask for support.

It means you're allowing others to support you, to help you, and in return, creating the bond that allows others to come to you when they need support.

In order to support others you need to yourself be supported.

Whether that's holding space for the widow who cries when she comes to you with her husband's death certificate and financial affairs, unsure of what a Grant of Probate is and whether she needs it.

Whether that's riding the high wave of emotion of leading and inspiring 30 teenagers.

Whether that's giving life-saving treatment and advice to a patient.

Whether you're simply having a bad day of muppets on the internet trying to ruin your shine.

It's never a negative to ask for support.

It's never a negative to give yourself support.

Sometimes a blanket fort and a dark room and peace and quiet is exactly what the doctor ordered.

There's nothing wrong with beating a temporary and tactical retreat, when it allows you to come back to fight another day.

Give yourself what you need.

It's really the only sensible option.