How Does One Know When to Ask for Help?
By Alicja Paruch
Volume 2 Issue 6
April 14, 2022
Image provided by Ted Ideas
Thank you for reaching out! Whether one is struggling mentally, has family issues or quarrels with friends, there are levels of intensity to it. Let’s also consider, everyone sees the world differently and perceives situations as normal for them, so this perception can vary. Your brain and body usually try to bring it up and signal to you that you might need help or support. Your mood may swing more, or you may be looking down more. Deep down, if something is not right; a person knows it subconsciously, but consciously blocks it. Mental health issues or toxic relationships may seem easily fixed from an outsider’s perspective, but the change needs to start with the person experiencing problems. Try to evaluate your situation. Does everything feel normal? Maybe something feels slightly off, but you just move on? Ask yourself questions and don’t be afraid to consider trying to see things through different lenses. Also, be honest with yourself: in the end you’re just thinking to yourself, and there is nobody judging you. You can compare your view to others’ as well. Maybe they react to similar situations differently? Try to gauge your input. How much of your situation depends on you? If you can try to change your perspective for one that makes you happier, give it a try. This is much easier said than done, but you’re in control of yourself, so take advantage of that. Also, remember to consider your choices. “Yes” and “No” are powerful words no matter how insignificant they may have become in problematic situations. Try to express your opinion more and say “No” to what you don’t agree with, and don’t be afraid to say “Yes” if you want something. Is this the time to ask? If the situation is not in your hands, if you can’t control the outcomes and you are consistently getting hurt, it is time to ask. If you get overwhelmed by your emotions and can’t deal with them by yourself, ask for help. In these extreme cases, you should ask for help. If you want someone to listen to you, or just feel that someone is there, that is also the right time to ask. If your mental health starts to slip and you experience emotional distress, others continue to hurt you despite your pleas to stop, or situations that make you as a person uncomfortable or fall into a spiral of pain, then you should also be asking for help. “support” versus “help”: I wanted to emphasize that, no matter how big or small your problem may be, asking for help or support is something everyone needs, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it! People you trust will always want to help you because life is not about how much you can accomplish by yourself, but how much you can grow from your experiences. I also asked Ms. Kehoe, one of North’s school psychologists, the same question, so you can get the opinion of a professional as well. She said, "I know the question is when to ask for help, but before I get into that, I want to make sure to start off by saying that there is never a wrong time to ask for it. The kind of help or support you need will depend on what it is that is causing you to wonder if you need the support in the first place. Support can come in all forms, such as friends, family, teachers, coaches, school counselors, school psychologists, social workers, and outside therapists. For example, suppose it’s your academics that you’re overwhelmed with. In that case, it may be a conversation with your teacher that is necessary and assistance with a consistent extra-help schedule. Another example is that, unfortunately, some of our students have had to experience the passing away of a family member or another traumatic family event. In this case, you can let your parent and a trusted staff member know that you are going through a tough time, and they can help get you connected to help, such as check-ins with a mental health professional in the school building, and if needed on a more regular basis, a referral for outside therapy. Sometimes there doesn't need to be a significant event to occur… to feel like you need help. For instance, maybe you notice you have had trouble sleeping, feel unusually lethargic and/or unmotivated, have lost interest in activities that you usually love, and no longer have the desire to hang out with your typical peer group. These examples are just some of many that can tell you it may be time to ask a trusted adult for support or help to access it. No problem, too small or too big, should keep you from asking for support—asking for help is a STRENGTH, not a weakness. It can be as simple as telling your friend or family member, ‘I'm having a tough time right now; I don't know what I need or what would make me feel better. Can you try to help me figure it out?’” I hope this helps!