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How to Ask for Help Without Feeling Weird or Embarrassed


min read


Asking for help is challenging for many who struggle with a chronic mental health condition. To ask for help means you must admit something is wrong. For many who struggle with disordered eating or another mental health struggle, this admission or acceptance is something they would rather not discuss or mention. Asking for help means you must communicate your need to others. Depending on your place with your illness, this may feel like having to admit failure or feeling as though you are weak because you must turn to others. Asking for help means you must accept you cannot do (or conquer) something by yourself.

Pride and ego often prevent people from asking for help when we need it the most. We feel embarrassed or weird turning to someone else, especially a stranger, for help solving our problems. Guilt and shame also play a role in our inability to ask for help. There is a chance you have hurt those close to you through behaviors or changes in mood, and the guilt associated with this can stop you from turning to those who may be able to help you most. So how can you ask for help without feeling embarrassed or weird?

First, Remember Asking for Help is OK

Asking for help, as hard as it may be, is a crucial step towards recovery. It is difficult and sometimes impossible to overcome mental health-related challenges without comprehensive treatment and support at a treatment center like Meadowglade. In some cases, healing and recovery require both medical and mental health assistance to ensure your safety as you focus on getting well.  Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness or failure. It is a vital step towards healing. Asking for help is something you need to do to heal in a safe and supported setting.  

It is also vital to remember that reaching out for help from a friend or loved one is not a sign of failure, nor does it make you a burden on those who care about you. The reverse is far more accurate. Asking for help shows you are at a stage where you can admit to others (and yourself) that you can no longer fight addiction or mental health alone. When you reach out for help, you are no longer alone in your struggle. Asking for help from a friend or loved one is the first step towards the support and guidance you need to begin your journey to recovery.

Ways to Ask for Help

It may seem like asking someone for help-seeking or getting into a treatment center like Meadowglade is impossible. For some people, the idea of talking to someone about their “problems” or admitting to a struggle with disordered eating or another mental health condition is unimaginable. In these cases, it may seem more straightforward to press forward as things are than to work on coming to grips with how and when to seek help. If you find this sound familiar and you want (or need) to ask for help but do not know how, below are a few tips you can try.

Look for Someone Who Shares Your Experiences

Someone who has been through a similar struggle may be a wealth of information. This is especially true if they have faced their struggle, completed treatment, and have found lasting recovery. People who are in recovery are often willing and happy to talk to you as they understand how you feel and the struggles you face. They will remember what it was like to be where you are and can help to ease your fears and provide you with guidance as to what you can do next. Ask them what worked for them and try to determine if the same course of action may work for you.

Send A Letter or Email

You may not feel comfortable with a face-to-face conversation, or it may be impossible to speak to someone in person. Sometimes, emails or letters are easier or more comfortable. This can be especially true when asking for help to overcome a struggle you face. In some cases, putting your thoughts on paper allows you to collect your thoughts and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. It may also help you learn more about your current mental and emotional state. Another benefit to letters or emails is that there is no opportunity for “going back.” Once you drop the letter in the mail or hit send on the email, there is little or no opportunity for undoing it. However, once you have put your needs in the open, there is a certain amount of relief associated with realizing you no longer have to struggle to manage your symptoms on your own.

Talk to Someone You Trust

Most people have someone in their lives (not necessarily a family member) they feel they can talk to about anything. If you have someone like this you can turn to, do so. Even if they have no personal experience with your exact situation, they are a source of compassion and companionship. You can use them as a sounding board to bounce ideas and thoughts off from, or you can use them as a shoulder to cry on if you need to vent difficult emotions. They will listen and do their best to help you makes sense of your current needs and what they can do to help. They may also be able to provide you with guidance on what some next steps could be or even help you seek out treatment centers like Meadowglade, where you can begin to focus less on how to get help and more on starting the process of healing.

Talk to a Medical Professional

Mental health conditions and related struggles such as addiction and physical illness are things you can turn to your primary care provider or a member of the treatment team here at Meadowglade to discuss. If you know, you are struggling but are afraid to or do not want to turn to friends and family first, make an appointment with your primary care provider or contact us.  Our caring and compassionate team here at Meadowglade understands how challenging it can be to discuss your struggles with others. Our highly skilled treatment team is here to help you understand your symptoms and how treatment at a specialized treatment center like Meadowglade can help you get well.

Look to Community Supports

Depending on your individual circumstances, community supports may also provide a source of assistance. Many communities have public community mental health programs or support groups where you can feel free to speak openly about your struggles and challenges. The peer relationships you develop in these groups may be a vital stepping stone to helping you seek treatment. Also, your employer may provide mental health assistance in the form of an EAP or employee assistance program. The vital and often free services offer a third-party, non-judgemental outlet for mental health advice. Depending on the nature of the EAP, you may have access to a certain number of therapy sessions with a licensed mental health provider. In addition, the EAP can provide contact information for more intensive treatment options, such as a treatment program here at Meadowglade. Also, you can reach out to your insurance provider. Many insurance companies have online options or hotlines explicitly dedicated to mental health or addiction treatment needs. Through these options, you can receive the support and assistance you need to get started in a comprehensive therapy program.

Asking for help is challenging, and not everyone who struggles with a mental health condition will be able to ask for help immediately upon realizing the presence of symptoms. Even if you recognize you need to, it may take time to find the courage or know-how to start the conversation. Sometimes embarrassment or fear about what someone (including loved ones, family, or friends) will say when they learn you need help can be paralyzing. Worry and fear can become so overpowering that you simply cannot fathom approaching someone for help, but you must. Although the first conversation can be, and often is, challenging, it is a vital step towards recovery and improving your physical, psychological, and spiritual health. This is not to say you cannot get help “on your own,” however, it is often far easier to begin the process of seeking treatment when you know you have the support and guidance of a trusted person behind you.

When you are ready to ask for help, turn to those you can trust the most or to a medical provider with whom you are comfortable sharing your story. These people are likely to want to see you get help and successfully complete treatment so you can begin living a vibrant and healthy life free from struggles related to mental health. If you are not comfortable turning to friends or family, contact us here at Meadowglade. We have helped many people who share the same struggles as you begin their journey to recovery. Asking for help is hard, but facing your mental health symptoms alone can be worse. At our beautiful Los Angeles area treatment center, we specialize in mental health and eating disorder treatment.  Our program includes inpatient, partial hospitalization, and outpatient treatment options depending on your unique needs and goals. Your individually designed treatment program will focus on helping you achieve lasting recovery. Asking for help overcoming mental health challenges may feel challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Contact our caring and compassionate team here at Meadowglade to learn more about our programs and how we can help.

Fight for yourself, not with yourself.

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