There is such a huge stigma with needing help, especially mental health help. I hear so often that needing help means you are weak. It means you are flawed and a failure. But what if the opposite is what is really true. What if asking for help makes you strong, courageous, and a success? Let’s take a look at this a bit further. There is something going on in your life. This could be anything from grief over the loss of a loved one, dealing with troubled teens, adjusting to new realities in your family (becoming parents, becoming empty nesters, etc), financial concerns, etc. These are stressful and sometime people consider them to be embarrassing. They say that they are fearful that if others find out then what would they say about them. There is a fear that the haters will start to come out. Who wants to deal with them after all? So, it all gets kept a secret. Here are some of my thoughts:
1. Here is what I know about secrets, when kept in the dark they fester and become larger than life. When they are exposed to the light and shared suddenly they do not seem so big or insurmountable.
2. The other thing that happens when you bring that secret out into the light is that you find out that you are not the only one who is dealing with these issues. Common humanity talks about the fact that we share many of the same experiences—pleasant and unpleasant—and that this is what connects us that we have these things in common. When we keep things a secret we can not know that others are going through the same types of things. We end up feeling isolated, depressed, and often hopeless.
3. Consider this…you speak up about what is happening in your life, you get help, and now you are an example for others. This is where your strength, courage, bravery, success become a reality. Others hiding with their secrets see you getting help and then they realize that they too can do it. It’s an interesting place to be. You allow yourself to be vulnerable. You take that risk and the reward is that you find strength and courage as well become a help to others. It’s a scary wonderful place to be.
Until next time….
Change. Discover. Transform.
Carla Carter, Ed.D., LCPC, CMPC, EMDR Certified