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Atra

Overcoming uneasiness with asking for help

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While it has become easier for me to accept help, I still resist initiating, i.e., asking for help. Wondering why, I checked it out with myself. I'd also like to know what gets in your way of asking for help. 

I never had a male figure in my family who modeled asking for help as a sign of strength. The male icons of my youth didn't ask for help, as doing so was usually thought of as weakness (unless it was shrouded in rallying comrades).

Whatever effect that's had on me, I realize I'm placing obstacles in the way of seeking help and then I dress up those obstructions to look like something else.

Let's get real, Atra. Get out of your own way! Here's a snapshot of my internal dialog when I realize I need help and I know that I can turn to others and receive it:

I don't want to be a burden/they're too busy [jumping to conclusions/mind reading].

They'll just tell me something I don't wanna hear, don't wanna do [fortune telling/future tripping].

I should know how to do it myself/I can just google it and help myself [perfectionism/uncomfortable with vulnerability].

People will think less of me/confirm that I'm an idiot [low self-esteem/projecting]

Recently, I've been challenging these thoughts instead of ducking them. I began requesting help with some things I wasn't in desperate need of help with -- lowering the stakes, accruing positive experiences.

What sort of things do you have trouble asking for help with?

Do you have any suggestions how I might practice asking for help? Thanks!

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I'm afraid of asking for help because I'm mentally ill and alone in this world.  I'm afraid if I ask for help too many times people will make sure I have help all the time so to speak and put me away somewhere.  So I routinely do things in life where I'm in way over my head and what I'm doing is well beyond my skillset.  Every time any problem comes up my first thought is I have to learn everything there is to learn about the subject and do it myself and it's forced me to learn new things and get stronger but of course I've also made mistakes.  

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On 6/21/2020 at 5:23 AM, sober4life said:

Every time any problem comes up my first thought is I have to learn everything there is to learn about the subject and do it myself and it's forced me to learn new things and get stronger but of course I've also made mistakes.  

Right - I've watched tons of YouTube videos, read forum posts before taking apart some machine to fix it -- just to feel some semblance of confidence. I don't like feeling incompetent, it sometimes prevents me from trying new things. Yet It sounds like you've turned this into a strength. 

About emotions, moods, relationships I'm careful about who I seek counsel from. I'm wary of being stigmatized by anyone who might pathologize a mood, or wonder if I'm relapsing just because I'm open about my disorders. It's happened and it's effin hurtful. Yet opening up to people who are safe seems to have helped strengthen ny relationships. Vulnerability, among the right people, seems to foster trust. 

But who are the right people? Apart from my therapist? Our people - those who understand mental health conditions. Even then I will sometimes get tense. Like when I would invite feedback on something I shared in support group, I notice I'll get anxious. Somebody will go on and on for minutes and I feel exposed, I can't concentrate and my thoughts fly to the future.

I'm working on hanging with it by assuming good intent: that this person giving me feedback truly wants to help me, if I can just not insist on controlling how that help should be coming towards me. At very least, maybe I can allow myself to feel the compassion that underlies what are sometimes awkward words. 

Outside of peer support groups, if keep hearing You should, You need to, You better language from anyone? I've given myself permission to walk away, I'm done. I didn't approach that person so that they can stand on me like a step stool in order to feel tall. 

Workin' on initiating the act of getting help; It's happening! But it's slow going and awkward and I still watch myself as I stubbornly try to control it. I'm sure I'll have more to write about this as I make more attempts. 

 

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On 6/24/2020 at 4:21 AM, Atra said:

 

Workin' on initiating the act of getting help; It's happening! But it's slow going and awkward and I still watch myself as I stubbornly try to control it. I'm sure I'll have more to write about this as I make more attempts. 

 

Let us know if you succeed - I'll be curious if you find something that works. I don't know if it helps, but I have some experience acting, so sometimes I endeavor to "play a role" when I need something I would ordinarily try to avoid. I shift personalities and make believe I'm somebody else to detach from my own mind. That way, if it fails miserably, it was the character's fault, not mine. I have a couple of accents for this purpose.

 

One time in an effort to psyche myself up to talk to a girl, I even wrote out a characterization sheet like the ones we used for plays, laying out hobbies, motivations, and a list of major life experiences. Of course, it turned out that that part was more satisfying than the concept of humiliating myself in front of the girl, so I ended up just using the character to write a short story instead. 🙄

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