There have been times in my life when I needed help for my mental health issues, and I was afraid to ask for it. I remember one of those instances in high school. I was 18 years old, and every day I would vomit bile before school, because I was afraid of separating from my parents. The repeated thought that entered my head was: how will I survive without my parents in the “real world?” I was scared of the thought of dealing with debilitating anxiety and not having anyone’s hand to hold. Later I would figure out my own coping mechanisms, which involved therapy and medication. But at the time, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to be a competent adult without the guidance and support of my parents.
In time, I figured out that I wanted my parents to save me, and actually I was (in fact) capable of saving myself. It took years to realize that I could help myself feel better or self-soothe. Anxiety is an all-encompassing feeling and it can feel extremely overwhelming. I was afraid to reach out for help, I felt stuck in my own head, I didn’t want to admit there something wrong or (even more scary) something wrong with me. I didn’t want to believe any of these things about myself. So I suffered in silence for a year...until I couldn’t anymore. I told my mom that I needed to see a psychiatrist, because I wanted to consider going on medication for anxiety.
I knew that this wasn’t the answer to my problems, but I had an intuitive sense that my brain needed some relief and meds could provide that respite. I was right and they did help me calm down enough to be able to live a functional life. However, getting to the point where I was ready to ask for and accept help was extremely challenging for me. I think the reason that I was scared about asking for help was that I was a teenager and I wanted to be able to demonstrate independence. I wasn’t sure of myself and I wanted to show my parents that I could do things for myself.
In the end, I conceded and asked for help. There are many times in my life that I’ve struggled to ask for help, and most of them it has come back to bite me in the a**. I finally came to the realization that when I need help because I am struggling with anxiety, depression and (lately) bipolar disorder, it is okay and to my benefit to reach out and ask for help. I know that once I do that, I will begin to feel better inside myself and more confident about living my life.
If you’re reading this and you’re depressed, anxious, paranoid or struggling with any other mental health issues, please know that there are people who care. It is okay to ask them for help. Take that first step and you will be on your way to feeling better, whether that means in-person therapy, online therapy or talking to a friend about your problems; help is out there for you.