The importance of asking for help in times of need.
Living with mental illness can be lonely and terrifying. Anorexia, in particular, pushes you to isolate yourself due to the fixations around weight, food intake, and stigma surrounding the disorder. When you finally decide (if you decide) that enough is enough it can hit you really hard. It’s only then that you find out you’re missing some key ingredients; your support network. One day you wake up and find that you’ve pushed everyone away, and it leaves you feeling like a complete failure. Suddenly it becomes harder to ask for help than ever before.
Numerous people had reassured me that I deserved help and that maybe it was time to ask for it. I mean really ask for it. Despite their concerns, I carried on, under the strict illusion that I was coping and I would continue to do so until I was better. Everything was under control; The job, the treatment, the family issues. I didn’t need anything else.
“I was superwoman.“
Except I really wasn’t.
There are so many reasons that I stopped myself from asking for help.
I approached S after a particularly bad week, one in which I had just found out about my grandmother’s terminal cancer diagnosis. It all came to a head the previous night when I realised that I was completely unable to continue on the way I had been. With that in mind, I approached S the next morning with the intention of a quick chat about my options. That quick chat quickly changed into confessional, tears and all.
“Chloe, you’re brave for asking for help. It takes a lot of strength to be able to admit when they need some support.”
Having this conversation, although embarrassing, helped give me the strength to ask for the time I needed to recover, and without it, I honestly don’t know where I would be now.
I don’t want to digress from the subject, but although my parents are wonderful people I don’t think they really set me up with the best self-esteem in the world. We are a family of doing things for other people, with the quiet opinion that anything for yourself is selfish.
Having such a low sense of self-worth throughout my life has led me to do everything for others and almost nothing for myself. This ultimately led to a sense of burnout and a downward spiral into depression and a loss of self. As cliche as it sounds, I’m not only recovering from anorexia but I’m also learning who I am, what I feel, and that I’m a decent human being and I deserve to feel happy.
It hasn’t been easy for me, but since speaking with S on that fateful day, I’ve been taking all the help I can get from others and from the National Health Service. I’m coming to learn that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.
What stops us from reaching out?
There are many things that can stop people from asking for the help that they need at work and at home, especially when it comes to mental illness.
- Our Pride.
- The fear of being a burden on others.
- Not wanting to cause a ‘fuss’.
- The fear of rejection, being ignored, or being stigmatised.
- The fear of feeling vulnerable.
- Feeling too anxious or shy to ask for help.
- Not having the right information, or not knowing where to go for help.
- Fear that admitting your thoughts or feelings might mean you are put under inpatient care or admitted to a mental health ward.
- Feeling like everyone else is able to cope, so you should be able to as well.
- The fear of what other people might think of you.
- The thought of ‘Other people are far worse off, it’s selfish of me to feel like this.’
- Just hoping it will all blow over on its own.
Why is it important to ask for help?
I’m the first to admit that I’m terrible at asking for help for a variety of the above reasons, not least of all the fear of what others might think. Even now during my journey of self-discovery I still find it difficult to ask for what I need. But asking for help in regards to our mental health is so, so important for many reasons.
- By speaking to someone and confiding in them, additional help can be offered by way of therapy, sick leave from work, support from family and friends, and any medications that might be needed.
- Starting to talk about your issues can open so many doors in regards to counseling or alternative therapies that can help you learn to cope with your mental illness.
- Finally, there is the communication aspect of opening up about your struggles. No one can keep things bottled up all the time. It’s normal for some of us to shut ourselves behind an unhealthy coping mechanism or complete isolation, but it does nothing to help us deal with what we are going through internally. Opening your struggles allows you to talk through what you are feeling/experiencing, which can often release some of the stress.
One important thing to remember is that you deserve help just like everyone else. It’s taken me longer than I care to admit to actually realise that and occasionally I still have to convince myself that I have a right to take up space in this world.
“A problem shared is a problem halved.”
Do you ask for help when you need it? Or do you stay quiet and wait it out? What is your opinion on asking for help?
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It’s so important to look out for your mental health, especially these days when there is ao much going on. You share the best articles!
I needed to hear this! Asking for help is so hard for me, but it’s something I need to do. Great reminder!
This is a really powerful post to read!
Asking for help is not a bad thing and we need to do it. That’s good you reached out and found help. Thank you for sharing!
Asking for help is one of the hardest and bravest things to do. This is definitely an important message that all of us should read and remind of. Thanks for sharing those great points and will keep them in mind.
Yyyeeesssss! You have said it well. Asking for help isn’t a weakness. It’s sad that many of us have been conditioned to believe that is cowardly of us to ask for help, even when we truly need it.
Great point and sometimes we stuck with our ways because of many reasons, pride, self-conciousness, or communications. Thanks for pointing this out and I think it will “help” a lot of people 🙂
I am totally that person that doesn’t like to ask for help. But it really is ok to reach out when you need.
Asking for help can be so hard! I have learned to ask for it when I need it, but I can relate to not wanting to cause a fuss.
An empowered woman knows how to ask questions and ask for help. And this is so important yet a lot of things stop us from doing it.
I really do hope that more people will ask for help if they are feeling down. Personally, when I saw a family, friend, or even just an acquaintance post that I feel is sad, I usually reached out to them.
This article is very interesting and worth the time we spend reading. It’s very informative and many facts are on point! It’s very essential for any individual to ask for somebody’s help as we have a saying “No man is an Island”.
Thanks for sharing the importance of asking for help! I’ve found that they teach both men and women to be more independent now, which has left a lot of people isolated. Keeping people around you that you trust to ask for help is so important.
I am so bad about asking for help most of the time. I think it’s a pride thing but also not wanting to be a burden to others.
It can take a while to learn to ask for help. I tend to take on loads and it can be hard to do everything on your own. We need to accept there is only so much we can do ourselves and stop saying yes to everyone that asks us to do something for them.
More people really need to talk about this. Its so important to ask for help but can be the hardest part.
This is powerful stuff. So many of us will drown on a sinking ship before asking for help. Unfortunately, that’s due in large part to society conditioning us to NOT ask for help.
It’s so important to be open to the idea of asking for help! Thank you so much for stopping by and showing your support.
Well written. Deciding on asking for help is the best decision to take during tough times.
Glad I saw your link on Twitter xxx
Thank you very much for stopping by and taking the time to read this. I really appreciate it 🙂
I have always had an issue with reaching out for help and this caused lots of internal issues and barriers within relationships with my loved ones. Saying no and asking for help are such important skills to have in order to put yourself first and love yourself! Thank you for this post xxx
Thank you so, so much for this comment. It has really helped boost my confidence and kinda makes me blush. Your support is appreciated so much xx
Such an important topic.Thank you for putting yourself out there in a way that can potentially help and guide others living with similar experiences. I have long dealt with issues stemming from depression and understand the relevance of what you’ve said here for anyone struggling with a mental unrest. The tips you give are incredibly on point and helpful. You have a very soft, caring, organized, and intelligent way about you in how you express your thoughts, experience, and advice to others through your writing. Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s so relevant and necessary for many people out here. ♡
Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂
Such a great article and an important reminder that its ok to ask for help, thank you!
I totally agree! I feel that to be in a career like that you really should care about the people you’re connecting with, sadly there are those out there that I feel only view it as a job. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s so frustrating because that kind of treatment given to someone else may have been the last thing to push them that little further over the edge, to a point of no return. I often wish I’d have put in a formal complaint, rather than only telling my doctor that she was hopeless etc… I just didn’t have it in me at the time though. I hate to think she’s potentially doing the same to others.
I feel like it would help bridge so many barriers, also making it help much easier to access for those who are physically disabled and suffer from mobility problems. You’re right though I guess there would be a hefty price tag if that were to be the case. It’s about time that help for mental help was easier to access, more affordable for those who’re unable to pay or to pay a lot and generally more widely available. There certainly isn’t enough being done to tackle the problem, no matter how much those ‘in charge’ like to pretend they’ve got it all in hand.
Thank you Nyxie, I’m sure I will someday, it’s just a game of carrying on until then.. At least over time I’ve built up my resilience! 🙂 xx
Thank you for stopping by Britt.
I think, to an extent, it’s hard for a lot of people to bite the bullet and ask someone for help. It doesn’t have to be with mental health, but with anything.
It’s such a brave thing to be able to say ‘Okay, no I don’t got this, and I need to ask someone for a hand.’
I am so, so sorry for what you went through with that woman. I can’t believe any mental health professional would dare speak to someone like that! She should never, ever have passed her training and become certified to help people in distress!
Online should definitely be a way forward, but it should also be affordable. I’ve heard of things like Better Help etc but I have never tried them out because the price always put me off.
I really, really hope you get the help you need and deserve soon. Don’t give up!
This is SUCH an important post! I know for me, the biggest thing that has always held me back has been the fear – fear in that moment that people will see me differently, or that I will become a burden on them. It’s something I have had to work REALLY hard to overcome.
I’m pretty big on the whole asking for help thing when talking to others and dishing out advice to them… I have asked for help for myself in the past, too, which as I’m sure you’re already aware, is SO HARD.. The problem I have at the moment though is that nobody in a professional capacity seems willing to help me anymore, not since I had my daughter.
I suffer from anxiety and depression, have done since I was a child. I had a LOT happen during my pregnancy and after having my daughter, I’d have loved to have talked it all out with a professional, I was screaming out for help. I was sent to counselling but the woman I was seeing actually made me feel a tonne worse, she literally blamed the behaviour of other’s on me and was so judgmental it’s unreal. Safe to say I quit. I’ve since tried get help with a place I used to receive counselling, but they turned me away because I have a child. Apparently my only option is to go back to the woman who made me feel worse, yet I have additional junk in my head FROM that very woman… I don’t understand it at all.
I’m also now in a position where I can’t get counselling because children of course aren’t allowed in the room. I totally get not having youngsters present when there’s a lot of emotions and feelings to work through, but it’s not the best when you refuse to leave your child with a complete stranger but have nobody in your life able to babysit even for that hour.
I feel like it’s about time that there was another way forward, maybe online sessions for those who find it hard to leave the house to begin/can’t get there or have childcare issues. If I was home then my daughter could play in my bedroom or have a nap, simple. I feel the system isn’t very inclusive in it’s approach. What happens to the rest of us?
I agree with everything you’ve said though, it’s SO important not to bottle things up, it’s only going to make things so much worse for everyone involved once a person gets to their snapping point.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. And thank you for your retweet <3
I’ve always struggled to ask for help, as I don’t wanna burden others. However, I am always there for others. I don’t know why I won’t ask for help. Thank you so much for sharing!
This is such an important message!! Thank you for sharing this information and increasing awareness.You are brave and strong for sharing. And I believe that your words will reach some people that really need to hear them. I know many people that need help but won’t seek it out for various reasons. I finally started seeing a therapist on a regular basis a few years ago, because I’m worth it. 🙂 Retweeted.
I’m exactly the same! Thank you for popping by and showing your support.
What you wrote is so powerful and important. I am so happy you found the strength within you to reach out and ask for help. It is not an easy thing and it translates to every aspect of life. I can relate to each reason you mentioned for not asking help. The main one for me is being afraid of being a burden to others, and it’s something I had to teach myself to do, and also to admit I really can’t handle everything on my own. I am so proud of you for sharing your story with each post, this is so important.
Thank you for your openness! You are definitely going to help so many people out who needs it! Yes, one of the toughest periods in my life was trying to get a loved family member to see that their problem was surrounding by the fact that their ignorance and arrogance was the down fall spiral of problem after problem after problem. It took years for them to figure it out and finally go get the much needed help. I think about how much frustration, pain and anger could have been avoided. Thank you for sharing : )
The fear of what others think of me was such a struggle for most of my life. This post is so helpful
I think it’s a big one we all struggle with!
It’s so difficult and I still find it so when needing to speak to my GP about things. But I am learning to overcome that – it’s just one thing at a time!
Thank you for stopping by 🙂
It makes things so much better to have someone to listen to you.
Thank you for stopping by 🙂
The fear was what others might think of you is a very good one of the list
This is such a wonderfully written post. It’s often the hardest to ask for help when we need it the most. Thank you for having the courage to share your story and for trying to help all of us to be better.
I’ve learned to ask for help and as hard as it is it definitely makes dealing with the hardships of life a little easier.
It’s always nice having someone in your corner.
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. x
This is such a powerful post! Thank you for sharing – you are right, we all deserve help 🙂
This is a great post! It took me years to know that it’s okay to ask for help in many different areas. It wasn’t until I realized I was doing more damage to myself by holding things in that I started asking for help, and a heavy weight has been lifted. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for sharing this side of yourself with me, and thank you for taking the time to stop by. x
It’s difficult to ask for help sometimes, especially when I feel there’s still some stigma and misconceptions about psychological disorders. I deal with depression and anxiety. I’ve talked with therapists before about all of this, but sometimes, it just seems awkward to talk about it with family even when I want to and probably need to.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It has helped me realize that I should ask for help more and not to be ashamed by it.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I often tell people to reach out for help but when it comes to myself, I am so scared to actually go for it.
Such an important post- Thank you!
As a professional counsellor I always say to others “reach out& ask for help”….. but as a human being i find it so hard. I’m ok in therapy as a client because I’ve got a fair few miles on the therapometer. Maybe that is about safety.
In ‘real’ life though I find it SO difficult to ask for help. I get bombarded by shame, guilt and fear- fear that what is inside me will irreparably tear outside apart.
Having recently had an authentic conversation with a dear friend to ask for help- whaddaya know- all is well.
Thank you again for your words on such a vital subject.
Peace and love,
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. xx
Thank you so much for stopping by xx
Girl your story is so powerful. Don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise! It IS brave to ask for help. As a matter of fact, it’s strength!! ???????? Great post and thanks so much for sharing!
The only help that works is God’s help. From my own minor stroke, quitting my job without a backup plan to my loved ones hit by critical illness, God comes to my aid.
I too struggle with asking for help! This post has helped me recognize what I need to work on. Thank you for writing! You are making a difference! ????
Well said. I agree that it’s important to ask for help, yet it can be so hard for so many reasons. It took me years and years before I was brave enough to ask for help. It was the most terrifying experience in my life, but I am so glad that I did because it made a huge difference in the end.
I have honestly given up with asking for help because the answer always seems to be “no”…right now I’m stuck and I have my MP helping to fight to get me some help because MH don’t want to touch me because I’ve now been diagnosed with Autism…and ASD services refuse to touch me because I am also mentally ill.
So I’m on my own struggling with it all and I REALLY want help to detox off my benzos (that MH chucked me on because they didn’t know what to do with me, and then just left me on these highly addictive meds…for over 4 years now- I tried to detox myself but ended up in serious trouble mentally and no support).
Most of my help and validation comes from the Twitter community to be honest. I’ve become afraid to ask for help from professionals 🙁
Great post! Thank you…
I am not sure whether I need help. I just seem to struggle desperately along…and keep spiralling our of control…
I am currently not in any therapy, as had so much and bad experiences have put me off. So trying to do my own therapy. But it’s not easy.
They are plodding along. Not necessarily good but for reasons outside my own control – I am trying and continuing onwards despite it all.
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
Such a true and important post! I’m not very good at asking for help and lots of those reasons apply to me! But each and every one of us is deserving of the help we need, and sometimes we won’t get it unless we ask. I’m glad you plucked up the courage to talk to your friend, and I hope things are going better for you now! x
Thank you so much for the comment 🙂 I really appreciate it ❤
This is such a wonderful post, so powerful! You are amazing ????????
Love, L @ https://onemorelightlb.blogspot.com ????????????????