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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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.

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nczupek
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I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.

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