When crisis hits, the hardest thing to do is admit you need help. You may feel that you don’t want to drag anyone else into your problems, or maybe you feel ashamed that you have to ask for support. Suffering in silence is the worst thing you can do to get through a personal crisis, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If this is something you struggle with, continue reading to discover some ways to reach out to those around you.
Take time to reflect.
The very first step to asking for help is recognizing what you need help with. Put an end to negative thought processes that may be anchoring you in the past. Instead, think about the present and your current needs. When you have established what you need help with, steel yourself to approach the person you think will be best for what you need. Odds are, that person is happy to do anything they can to make your situation better.
Most likely, none of your friends or family will feel negativity toward you reaching out. It can feel like you are burdening others with your problems, but your loved ones want to help no matter how much your brain tells you otherwise.
Remember that when people offer their help, they mean it.
Though you may think people are just being polite, when someone offers their help, take it to heart. Take some time, think about what they could do that would genuinely help you, and tell them. Without communication, no one will be able to understand how best to see you through this crisis. You can’t expect people to read your mind but try to remember that they want to help. They just need you to tell them directly how they can help you.
While you may feel “needy” when reaching out for help, your friends and family members aren’t looking at it that way. The people who love you want to see you happy and well, and often they even feel honored that you trust them enough to share your personal struggles and know that you can rely on them.
Finally, they probably realize that you would gladly do anything within your power to help them through a crisis, as well, so they’re happy to be the one who can help you this time. Friendship isn’t quid-pro-quo, but knowing that you can count on one another no matter what you’re going through is a valuable element of true friendship.
Sometimes, anonymity is a good start.
If reaching out to friends and family is too daunting, it may be best to try a crisis line. Anonymous help lines can be an easier way to practice reaching out. In fact, a hotline may even be able to help instruct you on how to seek help from people in your life. The people behind these hotlines are trained to help. You are not a burden to them in any way, and you should not feel ashamed to call when you need it.
If you’d feel more comfortable talking with a professional, make an appointment with a therapist. Doing so doesn’t make you any less capable of handling your life or your situation; there are many people who seek out the help of a professional therapist in a crisis as well as those who have regular therapy sessions – even when life is going swimmingly well.
Think about joining a support group, either online or in your community.
Many times, a personal crisis can result in unhealthy habits like alcoholism. Finding a support group or a group therapy class can help prevent this downward spiral or help you in recovering from any resulting unhealthy habits. If affordability is a concern, every region has county-funded crisis centers with professionally trained staff.
Related: How to Overcome Your Addictions
Online support groups or communities of like-minded people (or those who share in a similar experience, such as coping with a specific mental health disorder, recovering from addiction, or having lost a loved one to suicide) can be a valuable source of support. These communities are often free to join and instantly connect you to hundreds (even thousands) of other people who have endured a similar crisis to that which you’re experiencing right now. As they have walked a similar path, other members are not only willing to help but take great pride in their ability to help someone else overcome the challenges they once faced.
Acknowledge that emotional support is a normal need.
If you’ve spent time on Facebook, Instagram, or another social media platform, you’ve probably noticed that it seems most of your friends, family members, and connections are leading seemingly perfect lives. Celebrating their children’s achievements, boasting about their latest tropical vacation, and regularly displaying their deep affection for their significant others is all part of the social media game.
But remember that these profiles aren’t truly windows into a person’s life; many things are happening behind the scenes in every family. In other words, no one’s life is as perfect as it appears on social media.
Human beings are social creatures and needing emotional support from others is part of being human. It may be tough to remember but try to keep in mind that you are human, and no one expects you to be an exception from the norm. Trying to overcome a crisis without the help of others is not natural nor expected.
Asking for help isn’t easy. It’s tough to admit that you’re going through something that you can’t handle on your own, particularly if you’re usually a highly independent person. But asking for help is sometimes the most important step in beginning the healing process, and a small discomfort is worth the step in your recovery process. Be kind to yourself and accept the help your loved ones want to offer.
This post was written by Sarah Lockwood, a concerned parent and former social worker. Having worked with the public for decades and after watching her own daughter struggle with addiction, Sarah knows all too well the devastation that can be caused by drug and alcohol abuse. Sarah’s daughter is now in recovery, but her experiences with substance abuse inspired Sarah to get involved with ThePreventionCoalition.org. She plans to spread awareness and support through her work for others dealing with addiction. While Sarah devotes a lot of time to the Coalition, she makes sure to relax and enjoy the small things in life, as every day is a gift.