This is in response to the dominant narrative around mental health, that is always telling us to ‘ask for help’, because ‘you are not alone’. In a world where mental health is not taken seriously and asking for help is so very hard, I understand the emphasis on this. I get the need to constantly press this message, in case it manages to convince that person who is in need of help but struggling to ask for it.
I know how asking for help can be the hardest thing in the world and how taking that brave step can be life saving. But I also know that sometimes, there is no help. Mental health services are far and few in between and that needs to be recognised too. We place all responsibility on those suffering by telling them to ask but don’t question if there is anything actually in place to meet that demand.
If help is available to you and you need it, please take it. Take it with both hands. Being vulnerable and putting yourself out there, risking rejection when you are already in a bad place, is so so scary but if it saves you, it is worth it. If it makes the tough times that little bit easier, it is worth it.
But if you are one of those people who knows that it is not as simple as asking and you are likely to not get it – that is okay too. You DON’T have to ask for help. If all your instincts are telling you not to, not because of self doubt and societal narratives around mental health, but because you have done it. Because you have asked for it repeatedly and know where you stand, because you know that you are already fragile and can’t take another blow – that is okay. Trust yourself. Trust your instincts. It may not always feel like it but you do know what’s best for you – just be honest with yourself about where those feelings are coming from and trust them.
I have asked for help many times and I have not asked for it many times too. I have received help and I have been turned away. I have been taken care of and I have been left crying on the floor by myself. What I have learnt though is that my pain is mine to live with. And that’s not anyone’s fault. I am alone with it and while that really really sucks sometimes, it is okay. I am okay.
This is for those who can’t get help. For those who go it alone because they don’t have a choice, either because of lack of services or of supportive people in their life. You can do it. You are enough. It is hard and messy and yes it would be great to be taken care of and to let go for once. But if you can’t that’s okay. You are fighting for yourself because you are worth the fight. So keep on keeping on – for you.