Real Talk: When to Ask for Help
Beyond failing a test or being upset about a slump, sometimes what we are going through takes more than just a mental pivot or a change in perspective to get through.
Even when you try your best to shift your mental game, there are times that maybe the damage has been done and that damage makes it impossible to move.
When depression or extreme anxiety hit, it is okay to ask for more help.
I’ve been there.
There have been times in my life where I enlisted the help of therapy to get back on track.
In these times I wasn’t public about my experience.
There were times in college I saw a therapist without even letting my parents know. It felt like I hit my lowest point when I made my decision to ask for more help because I was admitting I wasn’t well enough to pick myself up off the ground. How wrong I was – because asking for help was my first step in getting unstuck.
By nature, I am a proud person. I hate admitting when I am wrong and in general, I just hate being wrong. I think when I hit my first round of depression during my college years, some of the closest people in my life noticed a difference in me: a distance I was creating between me and the rest of the world.
They gave me the idea for therapy, but I didn’t want anything to be “wrong” with me. I didn’t want to be “weak” or thought of as “less than” the powerful, strong, confident, independent athlete I was supposed to be. I was supposed to be living out my dream. I was supposed to be thankful for what I had. Instead, I felt guilty for not performing.
I felt unworthy of the time people were giving to me to explain my feelings because even I was confused where my depression was coming from.
Yes, I was failing, but it was more than that. My life was going faster than I thought was fair. I couldn’t slow it down even though I was staying home more, sleeping more. Nothing helped, and I absolutely did need help.
You don’t need to listen to your friends or even coaches that tell you “You’re okay” or to “Shake it off” when you’re feeling bad. Maybe you don’t know exactly what’s wrong, but if you feel like something is off, it’s totally okay to ask for an opinion outside of your circle. If that’s because you don’t want them to see you at a low point or because you don’t think they would understand: the reason doesn’t matter.
It’s okay to not be okay. It’s not OK to sit with those feelings because you are scared of what might happen if someone else knew what you were going through. We are not meant to handle everything on our own, especially when we are growing and learning what makes us, us.
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If you’re struggling with some big issues in your life (depression, anxiety, life at home is difficult, loss of someone close), the little failures can be a trigger for pent up feelings and your reactions have more of an opportunity to really hurt us internally.
Even though Defense Club isn’t a place for face-to-face help, maybe it will help gain some perspective and build up your everyday skills to give you a break from feeling like everything is coming down at once.
Having small successes in getting past those little failures can help to brighten up the rest of your life. Yes, the big issue is still at play, but at least you mastered that smaller hurdle.
When you are seeing everything in your life from a mental space that won’t allow you to see the good, a more specialized route might be the best option for you. The way you go to create change in your life doesn’t matter as long as you can get active in shifting your mindset.
If the goal is to feel less alone or isolated and to equip yourself with possible tools to start your journey in recovery, here are a few resources that you might find helpful. Even in the world of athletes – constant competition, working to get better, and grinding through the hard stuff – if you are feeling like your options are limited, please pause and reach out.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Text HOME to 741741