“I Need Help”: Why Is It So Necessary That You Ask For It?
How Do I Know When it’s Time to Seek Help?
Do daily activities seem overwhelming? Does it seem like a huge effort to get out of bed? Are you avoiding friends? Are you calling into work sick more than usual or skipping classes? Does your mood seem low more days than not? Do you feel like life has sucked the energy out of you? Do simple tasks such as paying bills and doing dishes seem out of reach? Is it difficult to get to sleep because of racing thoughts? Are you experiencing a lot of headaches, pain and stomach issues? Have you dropped many of the activities you love? These are all warning signs of depression and anxiety which affects 1 in 5 Americans.
What’s the Point In Asking For Help?
It has been said that the world is too terrible not to have a friend. Everyone needs someone to confide in when circumstances arise in which it feels like living is too hard to bear. Having a friend or confidante to talk to during difficult times is what’s called a protective factor. A protective factor is a buffer to stress. A protective factor means the stress you’re facing is less likely to cause long-term health or mental health problems. Even though the person you tell may not be able to solve the problem, simply telling someone can ease your distress.
Why Is It So Hard to Tell Someone That I Am Struggling?
It is hard to come out of something like this by yourself. It’s even harder to open yourself up to other options, such as telling someone, anyone, “I need help”. You may feel scared to tell someone you’re in need. This fear exists because of a number of factors. First of all, your pride may be an obstacle. You may feel that it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help when everyone sees you as strong. Second, you may have difficulty feeling vulnerable. Perhaps you’ve been let down in the past when you’ve opened up and asked for help. Perhaps you’re a private person that doesn’t share their feelings. Third, maybe you’ve been told that you just need to ‘get on with it’. Perhaps you’ve tried to say how you feel and have been ignored.
Despite a growing awareness of the number of people that suffer from anxiety and depression, there is still a stigma associated with mental health issues. Many people continue to see mental health issues as a personal failing or a problem with your character. The plain fact is that most people will at some point suffer from a mental health condition. You’re definitely not alone. It is a sign of strength and self-respect to let someone know you’re struggling.
That Moment You Realize You Need Someone Is Not One You Forget
When you’re at that make it or break it point, you’re more likely to reach out. That point may be the lowest of the low. You feel like you’ve hit bottom. Often, during times like these, people feel hopeless, overwhelmed and even suicidal. It’s important to understand that in fact, you don’t have to wait until things are really bad to get support. When you are willing to make a positive change, know that help is always around in many forms. Help might be from your natural support system, which means friends and family. Help might be calling a warm line or suicide hotline. Help might be finding an online counseling service like BetterHelp or finding a professional in your area. It might be attending a local support group such as NAMI, Smart Recovery or an online forum. It could even be dedicating time to a self-help program. Whatever you decide to do, at that moment when you realize you can’t do this alone – reach out. Let someone know you need help.
What It’s Like to Be Depressed, Anxious and Scared
If you’re reading this, chances are you already know what it’s like to face the day feeling anxious, depressed and scared. Perhaps it will help to read about what it’s like to feel this way from a person who has been in your shoes:
“To emerge from darkness is something only those who have been there can appreciate. It’s a place where there is no hope, no love, and no sunshine. It is overwhelming. It is completely consuming of mind, body, spirit. After begging God every day to let you go, to take your breath away forever, you start wanting to live again. It seems possible to live again. Please God let me survive this so I can see my son grow up and become a man.”
He goes on to give this advice:
“When hope appears, grab onto it as tightly as you can. With the ferocity and tenacity of a drowning person. Search until you find a great therapist. Surround yourself with people you love. Work like your life depends on it. Because it does. Most importantly, never, ever give up. There is always hope, always love, always beauty. I, like you, have been in places in my mind where no person should ever have to go. Once you come back from touching those demons you are not the same person. You are kinder, gentler, and more empathic. Taking lessons from that experience will benefit you for the rest of your life. You can make it. You can survive. Reach your hand out and ask for help because the world is waiting for you.”
Respectfully published with permission from CG. Written 2 -25- 2019.
Some people struggle for years with mental health symptoms before finding the courage to reach out and ask for help. Never be ashamed of the help you may require. Being fearful of asking for what you need and deserve can be damaging to your mental and psychological health. It can leave you feeling very much alone.
How Can Talking Be Helpful?
Talking about your problems with a friend or a trained listener is shown to be extremely valuable. It’s a way to download all the things that are bugging you and clear some mental space. The truth is once you face your fears and insecurities out loud, you are that much closer to managing them, instead of them managing you! Talking to someone can help you better understand your problems so that you can cope with them more easily in the future. When you admit that you need help, and everyone does at some point, you have taken your first step to a healthier and happier life.
Final Points on Getting Help
-Don’t minimize your own pain and distress by saying things like “It’s not that bad. Lots of people have it worse.” What counts is that you are true to yourself and your own experience. It’s easier to get better and recover when the mental health issue is less severe.
-Help is out there in many forms. Don’t discount the value of help. The more people you have on your team, the better life will be.
-Dismiss or talk back to self-talk that says you’re weak to feel this way, or you should get over it. You feel how you feel. Face reality. Face what presents to you.
-If the first thing you try doesn’t help, try again! Keep going until you find a way to make your life a little easier.
You might just need a helping hand to pull you out of the hole, where you can see the majesty of the mountains!
Trusted Online Resources
In addition to the licensed, professional counselors at BetterHelp there are some trusted online resources that could start you on the path to better mental health:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher
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Traci Baxendale Ball, LMSW, CAADC is the founder of Vibrant Health Company LLC
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