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Speak Up & Speak Out

It’s never easy to admit when we need help. In fact it’s one of the hardest things to do. I’m not sure if it’s because of pride or fear but when things get overwhelming, most of us slip into our cocoon and try to figure it all out on our own. We force ourselves to carry the burden alone. It isn’t until things start to fall apart that others realize just how much pain we are in.

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Fear can be a huge determining factor in our lack of eagerness in seeking out help from others. There is a fear of appearing weak to others. We are taught that you should not be weak and when you express an inability to handle your problems on your own, it makes you weak. There is also fear of someone mishandling your emotions. In the back of your mind, you question if that person even cares about how you feel. That feeling can be valid at times but not because of something you’ve done wrong.

Some people do not know how to be a source of encouragement and support. When they get confronted with your feelings they are not sure how to process what you’re saying and most importantly, how to help you. Still, don’t let that discourage you! There are times where just telling someone you’re not okay can make you feel better. There are also times where other people feel so overwhelmed with their own problems that they don’t even realize just how much you have been struggling. That is why it is important to let people know when we feel like the walls are closing in.

I remember telling my mom how I got bullied in middle school and junior high. I made it to my junior year in high school before telling her and she was shocked. Being the oldest of five kids means that I spent a lot of time trying to hide my problems so my mom could focus on taking care of my younger siblings. She was hurt to find out that I had kept something like that from her and that she hadn’t been able to see it at the time. Looking back on that moment made me see how not trying to bear the burden alone could have helped me get through a very dark time in my life much easier. It also helped me see that even though she wanted to be there for me, I never gave her the chance to be.

We should also be aware that sometimes our own pride can stop us from getting the help we need. In an effort to not appear weak or look bad in front of the people in our lives we keep our hurt hidden. You have to recognize that pride is also a part of what is stopping you from letting the people you care about be there for you when you need it most. I understand how difficult it is to let anyone in that deep. It’s like baring your soul to them and asking them not to judge it.

In the past, I let anxiety rule my life. It influenced my health, my sleep, and my relationships. I didn’t want to leave the house because I believed everyone could see my anxiety. I thought they would judge me and in all honesty some of them probably did. I hid away in my room and pushed away my family, friends, and my boyfriend at the time. Most people assumed I was just being antisocial. Others didn’t press further to find out if there was a problem. At some point I was eating to find comfort and hardly slept three hours every night. Eventually I broke down to my mom and told her how bad my anxiety had gotten and through prayer and some much needed t.l.c. I was able to start healing (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually).

Whether or not you realize it, you don’t have to be afraid of saying that something is wrong. It’s okay to tell someone how anxious you are. It’s okay to tell your friends “not today” because of your depression. It is alright to let your family know you need help. If they do not understand, educate them or ask them to educate themselves about what it is you are dealing with. More often than not, most people are not well-versed on mental health. They genuinely do not understand what it is that you are going through so educating them is a must.

Research and seek information together about what you are dealing with. DO NOT be afraid of speaking up. Sometimes the people around you have struggles of their own that they are afraid to tell you. If you or anyone you know needs more information about mental health visit:

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https://schools.au.reachout.com/articles/recommended-mental-health-websites

This website (ReachOut.com) lists some websites to visit that pertain to mental health. You can visit:

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https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

The National Institute of Mental Health gives a more detailed explanation about different mental health issues with information about treatment, symptoms, and links to booklets, brochures, and etc. You can also visit:

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https://www.nami.org/

This website has ways to find support and even get involved in helping others who also struggle with mental health. There is no shame in seeking help. It takes a significant amount of strength to admit that you need help and even more strength to seek it. So speak up and speak out.

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