Admitting that You Need Help is Worth It
That familiar feeling of dread began to form at the bottom of my stomach that afternoon in February 2014 when I had one simple thought: maybe I’m not good at this. "No, not here," I thought, "I’m at work. I have so much to do. I have plans later and can’t miss them. If this breaks out now…"
But that didn’t stop the feeling that started at the bottom of my stomach from rising up: a familiar heavy feeling in my throat settling just below my chin. I felt my body naturally sink into my desk, trying to use my hair to hide my face from my coworkers as my silent sobbing began to release itself.
"You’re a hopeless mess." My own voice echoed in my head. "You can’t keep this up. This work sucks. Your boyfriend doesn’t like you, he only tolerates you. You’re even a burden to your family. Why did they have to help you get into your apartment if you’re working fulltime? Nobody at this company likes you. They just tolerate you because you get your work done, but no one will invite you to do anything. You suck at dancing. You’ve been taking lessons for three months and still haven’t been able to find a dance partner. No one liked you on the dance team either. I doubt your dance instructor would even like you if you didn’t pay him to pretend to. You can’t live on your own and no one wants to be your room mate. No one actually likes you, they just tolerate you…"
It went on and on. And that heavy feeling made its way to my nose and eyes, and the familiar wet warmth from my tears streamed down my cheeks silently in a room shared with three other people in the middle of this quiet February afternoon.
As I ran off to the bathroom to clean myself up, I avoided eye contact with any employees I came across the narrow hallway. I wonder if it shows how much I don’t have it together? Do they know? Are they judging me? Will they tell my boss?
As I curled into the stall, not even sitting but crouching on the floor with my hands over my head, I felt turmoil. I couldn’t even think anymore. I felt too heavy to do anything. Instead, criticisms continued to come to mind like someone was talking about me.
"You’re doing your job wrong. You’ll probably get fired soon. You clearly learned nothing when you were in school. You’re so dumb. You’re living by yourself and can’t take care of yourself. You’re an awful cook. Your boyfriend pretends to love you but he really just tolerates you. Your friends don’t actually like you either. You’re awkward. You’re overweight. You’re impulsive with your money. You’re super ugly and too hairy. You dress weird. You’re letting your dirty apartment get you sick and you’re still not motivated to clean it. You don’t do anything on your to-do list. You’re making no impact with your daily life. You’re useless. You should probably just give up…"
After a few minutes of this passed, the weight felt just a bit lighter and I stood up straight. Still heavy, like a weighted jacket got put on me, I got out of the stall and started splashing water into my eyes in my pathetic attempt to make them appear less red. I stared in the mirror at the 23 year old mess (with red puffy eyes) glumly gazing back at me. She was overwhelmed by the world around her. Her parents said that this is normal for a lot of people to feel and that it will pass. That was seven years ago. While some habits had changed here and there, virtually nothing had changed inside me. I was still getting these “Sad Attacks,” as I dubbed them by now.
It was that moment — while staring at myself in the mirror after crying my eyes out over a flood of anxiety in the office — that I realized I needed to get help. I was 23 years old. This was not the first time I felt this way, but I really wanted it to be the last.
So I decided that day that I would look for a therapist and medication.
Fast forward three years later. I help people every day with big or small situations. I’m moving into a career I like. I get “thank yous” every day from people I didn’t even know I impacted. I’m happier, lighter (both emotionally and physically), and more readily available to help my friends. I have new groups of friends that have great ambitions I can get behind. I have clarity with quite a few dreams I have. I have friends that have called me the most mentally and emotionally healthy person they know. And I can’t remember the last time I had a “Sad Attack.”
But it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t ask for help.
This article isn’t for telling you how I overcame it all. This article isn’t for telling you how to overcome it all. This isn’t for telling you how to find a therapist. This isn’t for telling you to go on meds. This isn’t for telling you to stop doing what you’re already doing even.
This article is to tell you that I became stronger because I was willing to tap into more than just my own mind to solve my problem.
If you’re in a dire situation, you need to get out of your head and into someone else’s, preferably a professional that is trained and equipped to handle your things. Think of therapists and life coaches as personal trainers and psychiatrists as nutritionists. They are there for you to become stronger. And yes, you can be self-guided, but think of the results you could have if you had them.
If you’ve been thrashing for so long, trying to figure out what is wrong with you all on your own - and your friends that aren’t professionals with the mind aren’t helpful, and they’re saying you should consider getting help, and you’ve been resisting for this long - you know what you need to do.
Get started. Tell someone you think you need help. Get their support on this and find the help you need. Admit that your mind is the most important asset you’ll ever own and invest in making it stronger with someone that can help you personally overcome your shortcomings. Be open to the possibilities and getting your life back to an amazing place you can’t necessarily foresee now with some guidance.
But most importantly, stop sabotaging yourself. You’re doing no one, including yourself, any good by not asking for help.