Why It's OK To Ask For Help

Why It's OK To Ask For Help

Be strong, speak up and stop suffering in silence.
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Life can be difficult sometimes. Between school, friends, family, jobs and many other obligations you might have, it can be overwhelming. We often feel like we have to have it all together. All day. Everyday. All the time. That’s impossible, even for Superman.

When life gets hard, we are supposed to smile and pretend that we have it all under control. No matter how old you are, no matter what stage of life you are in, it’s completely normal to get overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, seeking help has become something to be embarrassed about. We view those who seek out help as “crazy,” but we have no place to do that. Who are we to say that asking for help, that reaching out, is the crazy thing to do? In fact, those who do reach out are the ones trying to prevent themselves from feeling crazy, aren’t they?

We all think and want to believe that we are strong, that we can take care of ourselves and don’t need help from anyone. We look at others and see them as perfect, as having a successful life. We ask ourselves, If they can do it why can’t I? But who says they aren’t struggling? Who says they have it together? Who says they’re doing it alone?

We are all unique, individual people with different needs, different strengths and weaknesses. Some people need more help than others and that’s OK. There is no shame in asking for help if it can benefit your well-being.

People often suffer in silence as they believe having to ask for help will injure their pride, but it doesn’t need to. Be proud of yourself for recognizing your struggles and working to get through them. Asking for help is taking care of yourself. Having the courage to ask for help is being mindful. You're making a conscious decision to improve your physical, emotional and mental health.

The negative beliefs associated with seeking help are crippling to so many that they pass up the opportunity. Often times you’re not alone; there are others struggling with similar things. Reaching out for help, taking medication, going to counseling or not being able to handle life on your own are seen as weaknesses.

And unfortunately, the strong stigma that continues to surround mental illness turns out to actually be detrimental to mental health. Out of fear of judgment, individuals struggling do so in silence. Those suffering from a mental illness, whether it be something as common as depression, as serious as bipolar disorder, or as prevalent as anxiety disorder use medication to improve their state of mind. They are plagued everyday with battles that the rest of us are able to overcome more easily. They don't choose to have these disorders. We don’t frown upon the boy wearing a cast for his broken leg, or the woman seeking medication for her diabetes. Mental illnesses are just as real and serious as physical ones.

Perhaps people would not be so scared to ask for help if they knew that it would be positively received. Life is hard; things happen, and you’re not expected to be Superman all the time. Sometimes we struggle for a little, and sometimes we face lifelong uphill battles. When we are in need of help and don’t ask for it, we are depriving those who would love to lend us a helping hand. Seeking treatment of any kind means that you are able to identify your problems, face your vulnerabilities and work through your insecurities.

Rather than going down the destructive path of skipping class, abusing drugs and acting out (behaviors that are becoming more and more common for college students today), reach out. Your mental health is important. It's more important than your boyfriend or dinner with your friend; it's more important than your sorority or your grades.

Trying to handle everything on your own and avoiding asking for help is unhealthy. It does not matter if help means getting a tutor, seeing a therapist, visiting a psychiatrist or simply calling your mom. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength. And, usually, reaching out provides you with a feeling of empowerment – you're taking control of your life!

Everyone falls down sometimes; the key is remembering to get back up.

Bottling up your problems, failing to acknowledge anxiety before a test, refusing to say “no” to someone when you're already busy: these things don't make you strong – they make you weak. It's okay to feel stressed, angry and lonely; don’t be ashamed of your emotions. We have family for a reason. We have friendships for a reason. There are health care professionals for a reason. But nobody can help you unless they know you need it.

Cover Image Credit: https://dailyteacher.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/dont-be-afraid-to-ask-for-help/

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

This one's for you.
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You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that. I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions. After everything life has put you through you have still remained soft. This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did. You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself. You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away. Remember that it is OK to say no. You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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4 Helpful Tips To Keep You From Getting The Flu

It's not like you want to be sick.

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Every year, every change of season, it seems like the communal health of the world gets flushed down the toilet.

The turn of Spring brings allergy season, and right now, we are at the very start of flu season. According to the CDC, flu season lasts from October to sometimes as late as May, with peak activity starting usually in February.

The flu did not waste any time this year. I live in an apartment with three other girls. I am the only one to not get the flu or a flu-like illness, and it is mid-October.

It is actually possible to not get sick while in college and to not get the flu. Here are a few simple and very helpful tips.

1. Get a flu shot.

Want to not get the flu? Get the flu shot. Simple as that, for the most part. It is not a cure, but it is the best precaution you can take. Don't forget, you could still get illnesses like sinus infections or strep throat, which are other common illnesses during this time of the year. But, you got your flu shot, now what?

2. Wash your hands with soap and invest in hand sanitizer.

People aren't perfect. You aren't always going to use soap when you wash your hands. Yes, that is a little gross, but here is me reminding you to always use soap every time you wash your hands. Don't forget to invest in hand sanitizer. Think about all the handles and surfaces you touch all day long that other people have also touched all day long. Sanitize your hands and you'll thank me later.

3. Vitamin C!

Got your flu shot and washed your hands and you still feel a little sickness coming? Pick up some orange juice and even some vitamin C tablets. Last year, I could feel myself getting a little bit sick and I took a vitamin C tablet every morning for about three or fours days, and guess what? I didn't end up getting sick and felt pretty close to 100%.

4. Wipe down surfaces.

No one likes to clean their dorm room or apartment. I know that because I hate doing it, and I'll push it off as long as I can. Suck it up and grab some Lysol wipes. The best thing you can do, at least, is wipe down surfaces like countertops, tables, and door handles. If you're living with other people that are sick, they're touching all these surfaces and handles with their grubby sick hands. Wipe that stuff away!

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