Back in 1989 when I first asked for professional help to deal with my suppressed grief, I had no idea how significant that decision would be. In fact, I now know that one choice has shaped my entire life for the last three decades.
Being an insecure child, and one who liked to do things her way, I certainly didn't grow up knowing how to ask for help. As I got older, this only worsened, and although I managed to turn the stubborn label I'd been given into a positive (instead naming it as determination), I struggled to know which way to turn or what to do in many situations.
Are you ready to ask for help?
When my biggest ever 'a ha' moment came, I knew what I had to deal with was far too big for me to do alone. Firstly, I didn't have the skills, and secondly, I was terrified beyond of facing the inevitable. My mother had died when I was 12 and I was terrified to face the feelings I'd squashed down inside of myself for more than 12 years. I was afraid that if I cried I would never ever stop, and I was afraid that if I got angry, I would harm myself or someone else. Neither of those things happened, but they were where my thinking was at at that time. There are many places you can seek help, but I'd like to share some words of warning about what to look out for.
Seeking Professional Help. Looking back, one of the most important things about getting professional help is finding someone you resonate with. However, equally as important, is being brave enough to terminate your therapeutic relationship if it's not right. This is of course a difficult one when you're in a vulnerable and emotional state because it's often at these times that we are unsure of what we should do next. What I can say though is this, get quiet and ask yourself: Is this right for me? Then listen for the answer. You know what is right for you.
Getting Support From Your Spouse. I've been very fortunate to have had amazing support at home, but I know not everyone does. It may be that you need to help your partner understand what you're going through and why you need help, and this could take time. You might also find it difficult to articulate yourself and if this is the case, writing a letter can be useful.
Asking Friends for Support. Think carefully about your friends and choose the ones who you are closest to. Make sure they are positive and supportive, and have your best interests at heart. If you've got someone you can confide in who will be open and honest with you, this is gold. Listen to them, even when you find yourself not wanting to; this resistance could indeed be because deep down you know you have a lesson here.
When Family Want to Help. Often family think they are being helpful when in fact they are just not. Within families there are so many unconscious dynamics going on and each person has their own agenda. If you're not comfortable sharing with your family, the answer is simple, don't do it. You will get a far more balance view by seeking professional help.
The process of asking for help is not easy, but it is without a doubt, the best thing I have ever done. Since making that very first decision, I have had numerous Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Coaches at different times for different reasons. There is no shame in asking for help. If you've been sitting on fence for a while, take the leap. Make contact with an expert now, I promise you won't look back. With love,