Ask For Help – Don’t Suffer In Silence

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

It was, hands down, the hardest thing I have ever done. It took weeks and months to even contemplate. I had the loudest voices in my head screaming at me not to do it. That my life would be literally over if I did it. The amazing thing was, I didn’t have to complete some huge task or go on an arduous journey. I just had to say three simple words. Please help me.  

I am so grateful I did.

It seems incredible now to think of. Part of me wants to make light of it. Make out that it was ‘no big deal’. That it was not as momentous as I had imagined. But I can’t. I just can’t, because to this day it remains the most difficult decision I ever made.

It cannot be denied. I have done many hard things in subsequent years, things that have drawn whistles or incredulous looks. Things that have been either physically or emotionally so challenging. They don’t even come close.

Anxiety

When I think of that day I can still feel the emotions, the tension, the strange abandonment of hope. Prior to it I had struggled for six or maybe more years of pretty extreme social anxiety. I had reached a point where I felt it was taking over my life. At eighteen I was still very naive.

And had very little understanding of what I was suffering from. Back then I think I would have struggled to have identified it as a mental health condition, let alone anything as specific as anxiety. I reached a crisis point in my life and felt that I had no other option but to ask for help.

I see that now. Can see it very clearly. I thought that I was in danger of causing myself serious physical harm if I carried on the way that I was. It was ultimately this fear that was able to somehow overcome those voices in my head.

Easier said than done

Yet it would be over simplistic to say I should have reached out for help at an earlier stage. Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing. In the twenty plus years that have now passed I analysed and re-analysed each of the years I struggled.

Thought more about my condition than I ever did at the time. I have identified all the key moments in my life where the anxiety may have first appeared, where it started to take over and how I developed all the symptoms associated with the condition.

So yes it is easy for me to say this is the precise moment I should have asked for help. But I realise that this is little more than wishful thinking. Ultimately I understand that with the little understanding and will I had at the time, I was lucky I was able to ask for help when I did. Many people, being in a similar position are not able to ask for help and continue to struggle for many years.

This is, I suppose the real intention of this article. If you are struggling with a mental health issue. You can always ask for help. Despite everything that is going on with you, how you are feeling, how scared you may be or what you may think the consequences are, you can always do it. The option is always there.

It is just a question of timing. Knowing that can make a really big difference. When you are ready it is there for you. It is something I was completely unaware of. Strange to say but it is true. 

No help

I thought that whatever it was I was dealing with, there was no help to be had. So why even bother asking or trying. The thing is help is always available for anything we may face. There are people out there who have experienced exactly what we have.

(This was something that again was a revelation to me when I finally got help, for years I thought I was unique in my struggle. I was amazed others had been through the same thing). People are out there who will not only understand us but are also trained to make us better. 

And this is the other thing to understand. Help is exactly that, help, we don’t have to struggle all the time. We have every right to be happy, to feel content and not have to struggle in our day to day existence. No one is beyond the bounds of help. I was certain that I could never be cured, that I would be like the way I was for the rest of my life. #Afraid help would mean I would be locked away or something. The idea that my condition could be managed and overcome through just talking was inconceivable. 

Three simple words


When I think of that day I can still feel the emotions, the tension, the strange abandonment of hope. Prior to it I had struggled for six or maybe more years of pretty extreme social anxiety. I had reached a point where I felt it was taking over my life. At eighteen I was still very naïve.

And had very little understanding of what I was suffering from. Back then I think I would have struggled to have identified it as a mental health condition, let alone anything as specific as anxiety. I reached a crisis point in my life and felt that I had no other option but to ask for help.

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