Monday, February 13, 2012

Asking for help is not a weakness

I've helped several friends through some tough times and I've told even more that when things are rough, you need to talk about it and it's ok to see a therapist. It is NOT a sign of weakness to reach out.    Yet when I started to hit rock bottom I resisted asking for help. I didn't want to open up to friends and I didn't want to seek out a therapist.  I felt it was a sign of weakness and while I know I'm not always a strong person I like to pretend I'm strong.  If I admitted to how bad the depression was it meant I was weak.  If I had to ask for help instead of working through things on my own, it meant I was weak.

Taking our own advice is the hardest thing to do sometimes.

I suppose I'm starting to use this blog as a big of self therapy.  I don't run the risk of running in to any of you in my day-to-day activities, I don't think anybody I know in my home town actually reads this.  For some reason it feels safe.

I admit to having a lot of problems, a lot of things that I've never worked through that have been with me since my teenage years.  Normally this is not an issue as when I feel myself starting to get depressed and the old insecurities and crap start to creep up I can work through it before things are bad.    I suppose all the extra hormones kept me from being able to do that this time.  I started to get bad in August and it just got worse and worse until I was having a major break down at least once a week.  I tried to hide it, I don't think most knew what was going on or if they did notice a change they didn't realize it was as bad as it was.   If I happened to mention being depressed people would comment that it was the hormones and it was common to be upset over nothing.

I wasn't upset over nothing.  Everything that was depressing me were things that bother me a lot. This time I just couldn't fight it.

I tried to take my own advice and I reached out to somebody that I thought I had a connection with and was close to.  I misjudged that one big time.  Yet like an idiot a little over a month later this person seemed like they were reaching out to me and I opened up again, thinking the first time was a fluke.  Bad move.  It's really hard for me to open up to people so for me to open up to somebody and to be ignored and treated the way I was, not good.  At least I can use this as a learning experience.

Now, you might be wondering where Husband was during all this. I have to say he was great. There were nights I woke up him at night because of the crying and he would be there for me.  There were days he would get home from work and see how bad I was and lay down with me.  The problem was he didn't know what was going on, I wasn't talking. If I did talk I would skirt around the major issues and mention some things but not the major things. I wasn't ready to admit my problems.

It took Husband to tell me several times that I needed to call my OB and tell them what was going on and get on medication for me to make one of the hardest decisions in my life. I called a therapist and made an appointment.  See, you might not see that as being such a hard decision.  For me, I felt like I was being weak.  I wasn't strong. I had to admit that I wasn't strong.  I didn't like how that felt.

It took a lot for me to convince myself that asking for help WAS the strong thing to do, not the weak.  I wasn't showing weakness by admitting that I couldn't handle these things myself. I showed strength in admitting I needed help and taking the necessary steps to get that help.   As you can see, I am talking about this. This is a huge step for me, something I'm working on.  I  have come to realize recently that talking my own advice and talking about it really is the best medicine.  I found help in some very unlikely places, something I'll be touching on in another post.   If nothing else..I think I wanted to talk about this because this might reach somebody who is in a similar situation I was.  Maybe it'll  help somebody else in a time of need. If so, then it was worth it for me to open up with this post.


  1. I'm so glad that you took your own advice and reached out. A friend once told me that seeing a therapist is like making sure you have all the tools necessary to live a good life. He said that we wouldn't garden or cook or build a house without the proper tools, so why wouldn't we want to have all the tools required for living a happy life. And just like with any other activity, we have to learn how to use the tools.

    Your post also makes me aware that we need to be sensitive when a loved one struggles ... that we need to pay attention and listen. Even if we can't offer words of wisdom or solve a problem, we can be there and offer a shoulder. Thank you for sharing your story ... I know that it will help others!

  2. I think taking help is a lot harder than giving help. I remember one time when all these people were doing things for helpless me and my mom said..just take the help. Pay them back some day. Now..I owe..I owe..
    Hang in there..spring is coming. and good luck.

  3. Small Footprints - Your friend is so very right. Seeing a therapist was making sure I had the right tools to get through these last couple of months. Husband has been awesome..he doesn't get it and doesn't always say the "right" thing but seeing his support was what I needed.

    Momto8 - Thanks! You are so right..I'm always offering to help and like to be there for friends, but accepting help is so very hard for me. I needed it though and I look forward to being able to repay the people who helped me.

  4. Reaching out to someone is hard. I've always been a very private person, very introverted, so I usually only reach out to my husband and best friend. I've tried in the past with another person and they always seem to make it about them...

    Found your blog through the Monday Meet and Greet. I look forward to reading more from you. Congrats on your baby on the way too! Pregnancy is a wonderful time in life, enjoy it.

    Peace. ;)

    Michelle |

  5. ((hugs)) Kris. It's hard to admit weakness when one tries to be so strong all the time. I had to learn the hard way. I still can go thru bad times but I know there is a light that keeps shining to show me the way and I can't forget to look for it. Be good to yourself during this time. Before you know it there will be a little one taking every minute that you have. Am proud of Chris for being there for you.

  6. Thanks Michelle and Paula - I appreciate all the kind words.

  7. Wow, I knew I had a connection to you. This post (minus the pregnancy part) sounds like I could have written it. I went to the therapist a few times, but now I'm stuggling with going back mostly beacuae of the $$ part but my "I need to be strong" attitude is part of it too. One of my issues is $$ and even if we are ok I just think its a waste of moeny I can figure this out on my own.

    So yeah, I feel you.


  8. See...neither one of us is alone in this Amber! It's hard..really really hard. After going a couple of times and seeing how it really helped me I stopped worrying about the money part. I figured we would find a way to pay for it if it's going to keep me from hitting rock bottom. I'm totally prepared to go after baby arrives if I get the "baby blues" really bad.
    Luckily for me I finally opened up to a couple of people who were awesome and there for me..and that was the best thing I could have done. So that being said..feel free to email me! I might be a stranger but sometimes those are the best ones to talk to because you don't have to worry about seeing them or having a history and having things go south, etc. One of the individuals I opened up to was almost a total stranger, they just happened to reach out at the exact moment I needed it and I responded. I can't stress how much that helped me. Incredibly hard...but it helped.