Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, but I didn’t know that when I was in college.
I tried to handle my depression entirely on my own just so I wouldn’t have to tell my parents I needed help.
It had been that way for years. I spent most of high school pretending I wasn’t depressed. The only one who knew was a teacher who wasn’t equipped to handle my problems and kept telling me I needed to just be stronger.
Worst advice ever. My problems weren’t because I was weak.Yes, life was too much for me. Yes, I was scared and angry and I didn't understand myself or my feelings very well. But #mentalhealthissues are not a sign of weakness, and thinking they are makes them worse. Click To Tweet
I was ashamed of how I felt, and that stopped me from getting the help I needed sooner.
I eventually ended up telling my parents I wanted to see a therapist, but not until halfway through my freshman year of college. Had I not been so ashamed, I could have asked for help when I was in high school and maybe I wouldn’t have looked back on those years later and regretted how much time I wasted trying and failing to deal with life on my own.
I wish someone had been able to tell me what I want to tell you now:Needing help doesn't make you weak. It just means that you've been misapplying your strength in an effort to help yourself. #lifecoaching Click To Tweet
I really believe that. I believe that it takes strength to be a survivor, whether you’re surviving having to prove yourself to adults who don’t take you seriously or insanely tough situations that nobody can expect to get out of unscathed.
The fact that you have scars, that you have pain or depression or anxiety, just proves that you fought to survive and you won.
So how can needing help to undo the consequences of the battle possibly mean that you’re weak?
Still not convinced? Maybe there’s another way to think about it.
Sometimes asking for help can feel like surrendering, and that’s not something that strong, independent people like to do.
But it isn’t, really. You’re not turning your life over to someone else to live for you. You’re asking for someone to join your team.
It’s that person’s job to see your best self even when you don’t see it and to tell you what they see, but it’s really up to you what happens. You choose the person, you choose what you tell them, and you choose what you do with what they tell you.
When you’re the one asking for help, you have all the power. You can ignore suggestions that don’t feel right to you and you can even walk away if you don’t feel like the person helping you is the right one for the job.
In fact, the very act of asking for help is empowering. It’s a way of declaring to yourself and to the world that you have had enough of the way things are and you’re not going to put up with it anymore.
Over to you, now. Have you ever struggled with feeling weak because you needed help? How did you overcome those feelings?
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About the Author
Jack A. Ori is a transgender, biromantic life coach and author whose mission is to empower young adults through stories to live life on their own terms. He coaches young adults and their parents one-on-one and together and is the author of Reinventing Hannah. Follow Jack on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook or subscribe to his newsletter for more inspiring stories.