The word often evokes a sense of freedom, strength and dignity. For many of us, it also implies complete self-sufficiency even when we need help.
When we are depressed about past or current situations, we usually need some form of help. Unfortunately, this is also when we are most likely to withdraw or put on a mask.
Fear and shame sometimes make it difficult to admit we have been hurt and need help.
Freedom from abuse, dysfunction and depression is obtainable ….but we must first be willing to admit we need support.
Getting to the point….
Getting to the point of admitting I needed help with my dysfunctional behavior was hard enough, but at least that was on my own terms. When I actually made an appointment to seek professional help, I felt pathetic, crazy and terrified. Mostly, though, I felt vulnerable. I had spent a lifetime carefully crafting my shield of armor to keep me safe. Even considering shedding this armor was frightening. I look back now and can see that I frantically held onto my reasons for not asking for help mainly to protect myself from feeling vulnerable. After my list of reasons, I will explain why it is important for us all to move past them.
Three Reasons I Didn’t Want to Ask For Help
1. I liked myself the way I was.
It was everyone else who had a problem. If they would only have stopped being so irritating, my life naturally would have been much more peaceful. It wasn’t my fault I got angry and threw things, screamed or punched a hole in the bathroom door. After all, it was the only way to get my family’s attention.
2. I couldn’t afford it.
Counseling and personal growth classes cost time, energy and money. Mine was far better spent doing damage control than understanding and preventing my destructive behavior. The time I took off from work to meet with the teacher because my kid was acting out didn’t count, the hours spent arguing with my husband and kids were normal, and the peace and quiet I had at night because no one wanted to be around me was relaxing.
3. It would be depressing.
You’ve seen people in counseling. They cry, get all introspective and touchy feely. They are depressed and depressing to be around. They eat even more than before. They think just because they’re in counseling or a personal growth class everyone should do the same. They think they’ve found the cure for The Human Condition. They don’t understand there is no Human Condition; it’s just their condition. They drive you crazy and I sure didn’t want to be One of Them.
Well, it’s true, I became One of Them and am now unashamedly a proponent of personal growth, counseling and therapy. It is the only reason I am here to share my story and encourage others. We all have different levels of dysfunction and therefore need different levels of help. The list of places to get help is lengthy and varied.
The point is – if you want to get better and be better, you have to think better and do better. The only way to do this is by having someone else help you understand yourself. We can’t figure this out or fix it on our own. We aren’t wired for it. God created us to need each other. We must find someone safe to pick each other up and hold each other accountable. I’m convinced that if we try to do it ourselves, we will end up by ourselves.
Let me be perfectly honest with you, however; it’s not fun and it’s not easy. It’s like emotional chemotherapy. We’ve got to kill the deadly cells so new healthy ones have somewhere to live because they cannot co-exist. Choosing to do nothing about your anger, pain or grief is like choosing to die an emotional death. Would you say no thanks to chemo just because you knew your hair would fall out and you’d vomit for days on end? I thought not. For the same reason, I encourage you to choose emotional chemo – buy a book like “How People Grow,” sign up for “Understanding Personal Relationships” at a community college, meet with your pastor, find a therapist.
Let me assure you, the journey is worth the tears and fears. There is hope, relief and freedom waiting for you. I hope you’ll consider that you can’t do it all, but you can do something. I think you’ll be glad you did. My family and I are.
How about you? What are the reasons you have or have not asked for help?
Denise Hisey is a survivor of chronic, severe childhood abuse. Asking for help didn’t come easy, but she highly recommends it. Her memoir is still stuck in her head, but screams to be set free! She lives in Washington State with her husband and enjoys riding her motorcycle when weather allows. Her growing family is her pride and joy!