For most of us, asking for help can often be difficult. Yes, asking for advice on planting a garden is easy. But for a serious issue, such as your mental health, you may find that you don't want to admit to the problems you're facing.
It's not hard to understand why you may be reluctant. Admitting that you're struggling or feeling overwhelmed is like admitting you're weak or inadequate. Many of us learned as children that it's important to be independent, strong and self-sufficient. That background makes it difficult to tell someone else that you're really not okay.
The result is that people often decide to just try and do the best they can by themselves. In some cases things might just turn out fine, though there are no guarantees. But going it alone could involve considerable amounts of stress and anxiety, and may even lead to bigger and more serious problems.
Another common option is to turn to family or friends. This can be a good idea if those you trust with your problems and fears are truly understanding and are able to offer meaningful support and help. Sometimes they can, but often times they just can't be objective enough.
If you're facing a difficult time or situation, something that's causing depression, high stress and anxiety, and is making it difficult or impossible for you to enjoy life, it may be time to seek out professional help. Doing so can be a difficult choice, since it means asking for help from a stranger, and usually will involve a fee.
However, realize that a professional counselor is someone who has gone through extensive training and has many tools to help those feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to go on. Despite the way it's often portrayed on TV, counseling is not something just for "crazy" people. Most counseling assists perfectly normal people who are simply facing issues and problems that are negatively affecting their lives. There are no reasons to suffer emotional pain when licensed, professional counselors are available, willing and competent to help.
There are many ways to find a counselor. You can ask a friend, your doctor or dentist, teacher or someone you respect to give you a referral. Many communities have counseling centers. If there is a resource at your job you can ask about the Employee Assistance Program. You can find a counselor by simply Googling "Find a Counselor". There are many referral sites that you can search geographically and by topic, e.g., stress, anxiety, depression, marital conflict, parenting.
Asking for help is never a sign of weakness but rather of the strength to recognize when your problems are real and that you need help to do something about them.
Adapted from American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.