You are in the grocery store and the last couple sale items are on the top shelf. No matter how hard you stretch or contort your torso, this commodity is just beyond your reach. You glance up and down the aisle all the while wishing you were taller or had a longer arm span.

Moving day is in a week. The majority of the house is packed minus the essentials you need for the next couple of days. The rental van booked. Packing up a house full of memories was challenging. You have been meaning to call a few friends to help move you to your dream house but the phone calls have yet to be made. Why the delay?

Each of the above scenarios requires the same tasks before they can be accomplished. The first task is the awareness that you have a need and the second task is an acknowledgement of the need. Often the simplest words can be the most challenging: “I need help. Can you help me, please?”

Children are encouraged to raise their hand in class to ask a question, as well as to ask for help. However, as adults this concept of dependency seems to vanish. Why? Asking for help carries an explicit or implicit belief that signifies weakness. In a world that values independence and individualism; admitting the need for others and leaning on another is deemed as loss of control or as a relinquishing one’s power.

Conversely, it requires courage and strength to admit a need. Asking for help requires an awareness of self. An inner understanding of what is needed in that moment or a future moment in time. What would it be like to realize and believe that the grocery attendant is waiting for you to ask? That your friends and family would gladly lend a hand to help you move? Have you ever gathered the courage to ask for help and are met with a positive response of relief from the giver because they wanted to help but didn’t know how?

If asking for help in day to day tasks is challenging; even more daunting can be the need to ask for help from a Psychotherapist. Dealing with mental health challenges can carry a stigma causing many to not want to seek help. In the same way, one will seek help from a medical doctor to address physical concerns; the journey to mental health and wellness is exactly the same. Seeking the help of a professional psychotherapist or counsellor is the first step to emotional and psychological healing. We are physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual beings. What affects the physical affects the other interconnected parts.

Journeying with a Psychotherapist can provide relief from major mental health challenges (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.) as well as more other mental health challenges (anxiety, stress, disordered eating, grief and loss). A Psychotherapist can guide you to discover internal strengths and external resources that will build confidence and the ability to better cope with life’s challenges. In addition to work with a Psychotherapist, mental health and wellness support can also include group therapy which provides unique peer support for those experiencing similar challenges (eg. Healthoholics Holistic Weight Loss Program). Group work is an effective way to make and maintain long-term change.

Recently, I had major surgery, requiring a brief hospital stay and 6 – 8 weeks recovery. I needed to lean on my strong family and friend supports, ask for help and allow them to provide help for my physical and emotional needs. This included anything from drives to doctor appointments, to bringing tasty baked goods and scrumptious meals, to phone calls and texts to check up on me.

Making an appointment or two with my personal Psychotherapist contributed to my mental and emotional well-being by reminding me of my internal strengths. The reminders helped me to cope with chronic pain, recovery setbacks and anxious feelings that came from the loss of control of my life during that time. Working with a Psychotherapist can be extremely beneficial to finding a healthy balance in all areas of life.

Asking for help does not signify weakness but indicates a strong self -awareness and strength of will to allow your vulnerable self to be supported by the safe people in your life. Together equals stronger.

If you’re ready to book a Counselling appointment for yourself — you can request one here.

Grace R.A. Howe

Through therapeutic counselling, Grace endeavours to help guide you through the highs and lows of your life’s journey.