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.