Knowing when and how to help yourself and the importance of seeking out help from a professional.
We all have challenges and obstacles that we must face in life and no two situations no matter how similar are ever the same. Although my experience may not be as relatable to others, my hope is that those that read this may gain some insight into possible reasons to seek professional assistance. It is my intention to help anyone reading in gaining some insight into learning how to take your own power back through being vulnerable and knowing when to ask for help and how to help yourself.
In my mind, I noticed there was always a stigma in asking others for help. I was reminded by those who I would have asked for help that it wasn’t a good idea or that it made me weak or I wasn’t strong enough to handle life on my own. The people we love, trust or look up to don’t always have the right answers available to us, and it’s okay to accept the difficulty of this. I only think asking for help is a problem if you aren’t going to do anything with the help you receive. It isn’t helpful if you only want someone to listen to your cries, but when they help you to fix the circumstances, you put yourself in another situation or similar circumstance, only to ask for the same help again.
If your intention is to get better then you should learn about what you can do to take action in that direction. This is the journey that led me to seek out therapy. I hope this is insightful and brings value to anyone reading.
I remember working and coming home depressed and stuck in the past after my divorce. I had a lot of pent-up feelings and bottled-up emotions and I thought that if I kept moving forward something would eventually happen and I wouldn’t feel the same way but, months passed by I couldn’t change a thing and I was still unhappy, hurt, and confused. So, as the months continued to go by I would say, “if you still feel this way in 30 days, then you should ask a professional for help (talking to myself of course). I guess in this case what happened to me was more of a- ‘I know how I want to feel and my feelings are under my control but, if that’s true then why don’t I have control over my feelings”. This made me concerned because I knew how it felt to feel good, I just couldn’t feel good.
I started monitoring my thoughts to see what I was mostly thinking of that could trigger this unhappiness and I didn’t like it. There was this chaos in my mind of, hurtful thoughts, scattered past events, and it was all unorganized and unfiltered and I couldn’t process it. There was a lot of confusion for someone who spends his life trying to stay balanced emotionally and organized mentally. After noticing how I felt I focused on finding answers.
I needed to be more vulnerable and open in order for me to find some answers to the emotional and mental dilemma I was facing or pay attention long enough to follow suggestions to get the help I needed. I had a short attention span so I needed to build up the ability to focus for longer periods of time. I started by finding something that made me feel good so I could be in a clearer mental state long enough to find more things that made me feel good. Once I felt good it was easier for me to be present and more aware of what I needed to do. I started watching shows that captured my attention long enough to keep me excited. This motivated me, and it led to me being out in nature more often and visiting friends I enjoyed being around.
When I learned what was feeling good, I kept track of how often it was that I felt good. Doing this also allowed me to clearly pay attention to what was making me feel bad. Once I knew what was making me feel bad I could express that with the intention of changing that. So I identified the problem and I clearly thought about what I wanted to happen.
I remember going to the gym and asking this guy I would say hi to every once in a while if he would be my workout partner and he agreed. He learned about my situation little by little and I was vulnerable enough to admit to a stranger that I might need some help. He explained he was going through a similar situation and was always there if I needed someone to talk to. I would have never known this had I not been brave enough to open up to someone. Through this, I created a channel outside of myself that would potentially assist me in my journey to find answers and feel better.
Eventually through conversation here and there he mentioned he was seeing a therapist and offered to connect me with her if I ever needed to. It wasn’t free and I didn’t want to waste money so I had to make sure I was going to invest in myself wisely. I tried even harder to feel better and in 30 days and after not seeing much change I reached out to the therapist.
This was a life-changing event for me it helped me discover more about myself than I could have ever done without outside influence. I started to feel something. It wasn’t good or bad but it was intense after every meeting I left with something (I called them tools, and I had a bag filled with them). I learned how to think clearly again and my mind was becoming more organized. Once I understood the changes that were happening I started to feel good, it was an empowering experience for me because I was able to learn in a way that made so much sense to me. It showed me who I really was and led me to search even more to see what I could become more of if I wanted to.
There was good and bad to the entire experience; what was good was that I was feeling better and getting stronger emotionally and mentally. I processed this growth as an exercise of the mind and the strengthening of mental and emotional discipline. I started to recognize what I wanted to change in myself through watching my response to the same thing I saw in others. In order to work on this I had to be compassionate, aware, and present with others this also helped with the relationship I had with my parents. The bad part was that every time I learned something new, there was another thing to learn. This required me to face uncomfortable parts of myself and show those parts compassion, through discipline, presence, and awareness.
I began to dig deeper and I asked about things that may not have been cohesive with what we talked about during our sessions but were still relevant to me and my way of thinking. I asked for more tools to help me manage all my feelings better, I didn’t know how to explain what it was that I needed without sounding unorganized (because that’s what I felt like, confused and unorganized) I did my best to ask questions I thought would help me and the therapist worked her magic. She showed me how to protect myself when I asked her about protection from entities and spirits. Looking back this wouldn’t seem traditional to ask a therapist but, it came to my head and I blurted it out. This process strengthened my emotional and spiritual self. The questions became more specific when I was more comfortable being vulnerable.
As I’m reading this over I feel it is important to mention that not every therapist is going to be as helpful as you may like. Anyone seeking therapy for guidance may want to consider what they really need from someone beforehand. If you consider yourself religious or spiritual; more than likely you may want to look for someone who is able to address the specific needs of your own spirituality. If you are a strong independent individual who doesn’t like giving up power. Find someone who may mirror this quality of yours so that it’s easier to address things with your own perspective in mind.
I realized I was embarrassed to admit that my divorce was causing so much pain, hurt, sadness, and discomfort in my regular life. Being able to admit this was difficult, but if I was going to grow with more insight I had to see what other people saw in my situation. There was information there and I had to face it. This was eye-opening and I began to see things from a new light.
After some point in my journey, my therapist mentioned to me that she still didn’t know why I was there and although I thought I was getting better at expressing what I needed and what I thought could help me. I sensed she didn’t know if she was helping me and this made me consider that I actually may be ready to help myself at this point. My regular visits grew further apart in between and I occasionally reached out when I could use her knowledge on something I was experiencing. I developed more confidence in my ability to challenge myself and solve my own problems.
After therapy, I understood the importance of seeking out help when you feel as if you are stuck but, I also understood the value of learning when to help yourself. Taking ownership over how you feel and how you want to feel plays an important role in maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. This is one of the many lessons I’ve learned when seeking out ways to improve my overall mental and emotional health. I’m sure there are more lessons I will confidently face as I continue to move forward in life, but the value of being vulnerable was a big stepping stone for me on my journey.