Recognizing When You Need Help

This may be one of the hardest things to do in life. We are constantly at a battle with ourselves, yet find it impossible to ask for help, even for the smallest things. We want to be able to do it ourselves and be proud, yet the journey ultimately leads to stress, anxiety, and even more harmful effects.

“I don’t want to burden anyone,” “I can take care of this myself,” “I need to be able to do this myself,”are some of the many mantras that go through my mind on a daily, maybe even hourly basis. It’s scary asking for help – it’s admitting defeat and letting go of all control. However people can simply push this thought away and keep turning it back into “I’m fine,” when what they really mean is “I’m not ready for help.”

Let me tell you: you will never be ready. You can wait to hit rock bottom all you want, but if you’re in it deep enough, rock bottom never comes until it smacks you in the face and the consequences are severe. I discovered this about two years ago when I suddenly broke down and my parents forced me into the hospital. Well, I “obliged” when my doctor said I could drop dead at any second, even though I was still in denial, and I couldn’t bare to see that look in my mother’s eyes again. So I did my time and in 6 long weeks I was released back into the real world. But was I ready? Technically I should have stepped down to a lower level of care, but my same mantra of “I can take care of this myself” slowly crept back into my mind.

I could go on and on about my achievements and struggles over the past few years, but the point of this post is I’m coming at the crossroad again of wondering if I really can or cannot do this on my own. While I do have a team of doctors (therapist, psychiatrist, pcp), there’s only so much they can do. They can’t be with me every second of the day, watching my every move. Unfortunately, I know I need that. I need someone to figuratively hold my hand throughout the day and push me when I don’t want to be pushed and fight me when I fight back.

I’ve taken the necessary steps to understand how I can get help, regarding short term disability for work and looking into various centers, which is huge considering my past denial and refusal to give up my job. But what is next? That’s up to me and me alone.

The question still remains, “do I need it or can I just do it myself?”

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When did We Lose Ourselves?

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Via GIFY

I was sitting outside last night, smoking a cigarette, and as I watched the smoke float up into the air, I thought, why do I do this to myself? Because it feels good? Sure, but how long does that actually last? For me, maybe a few minutes or a few hours, depending on my level of stress. For others, it could be different. But it wasn’t the cigarette I was concerned about, it was the general idea of why we do terrible things to ourselves?

Drinking until blacked out; inflicting physical pain; inflicting emotion pain, starving; throwing up; binge eating; self-deprecation; doing drugs; the list goes on. We do these things to feel better or maybe to escape, but is that the actual outcome? Does it last? Hours, days, months, even years later, do we actually feel better or free from our problems? If it’s consistent, then maybe the answer is yes. I can attest to many of these actions helping me to cope with various issues, but when it comes down to it, at the end of the day my problems are still there and I’m left with mental and sometimes physical scars.

Some people aren’t able to ever stop and see the other side. I’ve straddled that line many times, and may be doing so right now. It’s hard to see and even harder to sit down with yourself and ask “why?” The hardest part, in my opinion, is learning that reason, or that there is no real “reason,” and trying to figure out how in the hell to stop and find a better way to cope. That’s the place I’m in and I’ve been in multiple times. You’re in limbo, not sure where the light is at the end of the tunnel, or if it even exists. I like to believe it does, but I’ve yet to see it.

I know it’s much more complicated than the things I’ve written here, because I’ve lived it. I’m still living it. But I still beg the question:

Why do we find it so easy to destroy ourselves?