Why I Asked For Help
Asking for help is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
Before I reached out, I knew I wasn’t enjoying life like I used too. My sleeping patterns were non-existent, I was anxious almost continuously, and I’d started spiralling into a mental black hole. But I didn’t want to let anyone know about it; maybe they would think I was weird or crazy. Plus, it didn’t feel like anyone would actually want to hear about the chaos that was going through my head. If anything, I felt like I’d be judged as a bad person. I figured it would be better to battle my monsters alone and keep struggling.
But then one day, over coffee with a friend, it accidentally slipped out. Life was crap at the moment. I had no hope. I was wearing a mask of confidence, and each moment my friend sat quietly with me, it slowly but surely fell away. Revealing someone who was lost, feeling alone and scared. I needed help and my friend could tell a simple conversation over coffee was only the start of the answer to the hopelessness I felt.
I’ll never forget that moment when she turned to me and said, “Rachel, have you thought about going back to your counsellor?” How embarrassing. Here I was, the Director of an organization promoting the idea of people finding hope and seeking professional help, and I was ashamed to go back to a counsellor and find hope for myself again.
So, I put my fear (and a little bit of pride) aside. I called my counsellor. She’d walked with me through some terrible times in the past, and I needed someone to read my situation and give me some advice on how to overcome it again. To my surprise, she was completely fine with me coming back, even after the years since my last appointment.
I found out it wasn’t a rare thing for the average person to intertwine counselling with their life. After all, just as seasons come and go, so do our experiences; the bad and the good. And sometimes those experiences hurt us, or remind us of things that have occurred in the past which have caused a lot of pain. Having someone identify this and walk us through it can be a big help. And sometimes, we simply get sick, and we need a professional to interpret our symptoms and suggest the medicine that could make life a bit easier. Recovery is a process, and we all need some help along the way.
So, if you find yourself or a friend in the spot I was in, here are some tips on how to find a professional.
- Go to your local doctor. Every GP will know of professionals that can help support you through this season. The Australian Government has a program that allows you to have approximately 6 free Counselling/Psychology appointments when referred on by a doctor.
- Another option is to access the Hope Movement Database under your region and click on the ‘Professionals’ tab. A list of accredited counsellors and psychologists in your region will pop up. Simply click on a name and it will link you to their business profile, so you can see where they are, what they specialise in, and how they can help you.
- Often, seeing a professional will cost you money. It is worth it, after all, we invest in our physical heath by going to the gym, so why can’t we invest in our mental health? That being said, it’s not like we all have a lot of money. So always ask about Medicare rebates, and if they have any special offers that will make it cheaper.
For those 25 years and under, Headspace offers free counselling services. Many churches also offer free counselling, so have a search through the Database and don’t be afraid to call some places and ask them how they can help you! It’s also worth remembering that most schools, universities and workplaces have support systems in place that you can access for free or at low prices.
There is no shame in asking for help, but it’s normal to feel a bit anxious about it. If you need to, ask a friend to call a counsellor for you, or have them take you to your appointment. It will be uncomfortable at first, but so is taking off a band aid; it needs to be done though so we can fully heal and enjoy life again.
Recovery is a process. By admitting you need some help along the way, you are taking big steps forward in this. You are courageous and brave. You can seek the support you need to find hope again. Trust me, it is one of the best choices I have made.
We believe in you.