Ever Since I Was a Kid, I Have Always Hated…

…asking for help. Whether I was struggling to solve a math problem at school or trying to reach the highest shelf in the kitchen, I tried to find a solution by myself at least a hundred times (slightly exaggerated but you get the gist) before I asked someone smarter (or taller) than me to help me out. In my mind, asking for help always equaled being weak, and I hated the idea of someone out there thinking I’m weak. So when I started having intense panic attacks and suicidal thoughts in college, reaching out for help was out of the question. I have always thought of myself as a “control freak”, and I couldn’t bear having people think that I have no control over my own thoughts, emotions, and actions. The few desperate times that I did reach out to friends for help, I was usually met with pity, skepticism, and even ridicule. No one seemed to understand why I kept getting sad or angry – it didn’t make sense to them why I couldn’t just try to be happy. And when I did find someone who genuinely cared about me and my mental well-being, they became the target of my anger and jealousy as my emotions began to center around them and their decisions.

I realized that my mental state dictated the state of all my relationships, and as a result I started to isolate myself from everyone around me for fear of having people I care about thinking that I’m broken. Repression became second nature to me as asking for help ceased to be an option. I perfected my public persona – smiling, laughing, listening but never talking – and pretended everything was fine whenever I wasn’t alone. As expected, my behavior only made things worse.

After college ended, I decided to take a job out-of-state. Soon after my move, I became prone to random violent outbursts whenever I was alone or with loved ones – even the smallest action against my wishes would trigger an intense emotional reaction. I started having frequent mood swings and even resorted to physical self-harm at times. My mental health rapidly deteriorated along with my relationships as I started lashing out instead of recognizing I had a problem and asking for help.

It took a major life event to occur for me to finally realize that my relentless refusal to accept I wasn’t okay was slowly destroying me and everyone I cared about. I ended up quitting my job, moving back home, and finally talking to my parents about my mental issues. I took a month to recuperate and move on before opening myself up to new work opportunities. Today, I have a job I love and an open and honest relationship with the people I care about. Even though I still deal with anxiety and depression, my acceptance of these issues give me the strength to ask for help whenever I feel myself losing control over my thoughts and emotions. I now realize that having the support of people who care about you only makes you stronger. And so I urge you to not make the same mistakes I made – please ask for help. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or medical professional, please take that first step towards living a healthier life because you deserve better.