We’ve all seen that Life Alert ad. The one with the old woman on the ground saying, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” and as she’s sitting there on the ground wallowing, the camera cuts to the spokesperson with the Life Alert device.
Now while we’ve all joked about the ad and how unrealistic its portrayal is, I had my first Life Alert moment.
No, I didn’t slip when getting out of the bathtub or rolling out of the bed. But I was down and needed a button to signal to others that I wasn’t in a good place.
First day of junior year. I walk into my organic chemistry discussion group and am greeted with three worksheets filled with complicated shapes, drawings, and arrows. For 50 minutes I attempted to make sense of the foreign language decorating the page but was unsuccessful. School had just started and I already felt behind compared to my peers. Dejected, I walked back to my dorm room and stared at my computer screen, trying to convince myself I won’t flunk out of college. My phone buzzed on my desk, jolting me out of my stupor.
“Wassup with you,” my friend texted me, asking about my first day of classes. I kept my responses relatively short, skimming past the details of my anxiety and focusing more of the conversation on non-academic topics.
That evening my friend texts me again. “Is everything OK? You don’t sound like your usual self.”
I scrolled back through our text conversation to see if I had said anything about being upset. I mean, sure I was a little overwhelmed and nervous but I tend to internalize these feelings. However, when talking with my friend, I had pressed the metaphorical “Life Alert” button and my friend picked up on it.
Rather than wallowing in my problems and internalizing my emotions as I usually do, I had subconsciously signaled my friend that I needed help getting up, and they came to my “rescue.”
Great, so what?
We all get stressed, worked up, and nervous about certain triggers in our lives: family, school, work, etc. It’s normal to be down in the dumps or drowning in obligations. But rather than taking it all upon ourselves and individually pulling ourselves up, don’t be afraid to push the Life Alert. You are surrounded by people to help you get back up.
Even I’m practicing to more actively use my Life Alert option, verbalizing my concerns with parents and friends.