My view of the world through words & photos
A few weeks ago, I needed to move some furniture in the house. Normally, this isn’t a big deal. Having lived by myself for many years before getting married, I have learned numerous ways to move furniture within a room, as well as between rooms. The problem with this furniture move was that each piece needed to be lifted over and around other large objects. This was more than my daughter and I could handle on our own.
So I did something that I hate doing. I asked for help.
Asking for help shouldn’t be such a big deal, but I was raised to be quite independent. While this has served me well most of the time, this independence can become a hindrance at times. I try to be one of the first ones to respond to requests by others for help, but I rarely ask for help myself.
After sending a message out to a small group of friends, I was overwhelmed with the response I received. Everyone was willing to help. Just name the time and place, they said. One told me she was grateful that I had asked since she had been trying to determine how she and her husband could help me. Ask anytime, another one said.
My daughter, who had encouraged me to reach out, asked why it had been so hard to ask my friends for help. I didn’t have a concrete reason. It’s hard to explain that I felt as if I should be able to take care of myself and my family needs without any help.
I realized that many people feel this way as I listened to a news report on the drive in to work this morning. The radio anchors were sharing a story about veterans since today is Veterans’ Day. The focus of this story was not about heroic acts on the battlefield or parades down Main Street. This story highlighted that while members of the military number one percent of the population of the United States, they account for 20 percent of all suicides in this country.
For many reasons, our veterans and active military are not receiving the help they need to deal with the horrors they experienced while serving our country in war. Many just close a door on that part of their lives and act as though it never happened. Others self medicate with drugs or alcohol. In some cases, they sought help but were either told they needed to get past it or were prescribed serious, mood altering medications. Fortunately, a share of our returning veterans and military personnel sought help and are getting better.
Why is it so hard to ask for help?
Haven’t we evolved enough by 2013 that asking for help isn’t seen as a sign of weakness? Especially when you are talking about someone’s well being?
I am not placing blame on any one group or any type of training or parenting. That would only serve to put the conversation I hope to start here on an entirely different track. And while it might help change things for the next generation, I’m concerned about those in need right now.
Why is there a stigma of weakness when asking for help?
We don’t think someone is weak if they seek treatment for cancer or diabetes or physical injuries. So why don’t we view seeking help for mental illness or psychological trauma the same way?
My prayer today is for all those suffering with mental illness or psychological trauma.
May they find the strength to seek the help they need.
If they don’t get what they need right away, may they continue to find the strength to continue their search until they find it.
May their friends and family find the strength to take the initiative to reach out and ask if they can help.
May their friends and family support those in need and help them in their journey to health.
May we all realize that asking for help allows others to share their gifts and talents with us as God intended.