Are you finding it difficult to ask for help?

7 Oct, 2020

If you’re finding things hard right now, you’re not alone. The coronavirus pandemic is affecting every area of our lives.  You might be feeling frustrated, low, worried, anxious or concerned for yours or your loved one’s health.  Whilst these are all common reactions, we each respond differently to such events and it’s important now, more than ever, that you to take care of yourself and ask for help if you need it.

At times it can be difficult to know how, or who, to ask for help. We often try to avoid it because it makes us feel vulnerable.  We worry about looking weak, being rejected, criticised or can feel like we’re a burden.  In order to ask for help, we have to drop our guard and admit we’re not superhuman and we can’t do it all.  But that’s ok, none of us are.  Here we overcome some of the most common myths around asking for help…

Asking for help makes me look weak
False. Asking for help makes you strong and it takes courage to put yourself in that vulnerable position.  It can often feel safer to ‘just get on with things’ but by doing so, you can easily fall in to a ‘burnout’ where you feel exhausted, empty and unable to cope with the demands of everyday life.

Remember, none of us are perfect and we all have room for growth.  By asking for help, you are showing you are just like everyone else and others will relate to you.

I’m a burden
It’s easy to focus on the cost to others: their time, effort and inconvenience but what about the benefits it can bring them? Helping someone can actually improve our mood and contribute to improved wellbeing which is why it’s one of the Five Steps to Mental Wellbeing.

In addition, it can also strengthen our relationships which is also important for mental wellbeing, so you’ll be helping them as much as they are helping you.

I shouldn’t need to ask for help, it’s not a big deal
We can drown in 2 feet of water and we can drown in 20 feet of water.  We all react differently to events and can even react differently ourselves each time they occur.  What matters is the present and how you’re feeling now.  Your problems are just as important as everyone else’s and shouldn’t be compared.  We are all worthy of help, love, belonging and support.

If I ask for help, I’ll be rejected
All of us have experienced ‘no’ in our lives but we often underestimate how many people will help and, in many instances, how far they’ll go in supporting us.  If you feel that you don’t have a support network or are unable to ask those around you for help, there are lots of charities who will.  You won’t be rejected.

If I was ________, I wouldn’t need to ask for help!
What’s the blank here for you… smart? Successful? Good enough? Strong?

Negative self-talk limits our ability to believe in ourselves and to reach our full potential.  It stops us from making positive changes in life or having the confidence in ourselves to do so, like asking for help.

We all have times when we lack confidence and have low self-esteem.  Identify the negative beliefs you have about yourself and challenge them.  We can grow and develop new ways of seeing ourselves at any age.

How to ask for help…

  1. Decide who is the best person to talk to. This could be family, friends, a professional, support group or helpline.
  2. Pick your time and place. This should be somewhere you feel comfortable and at a time you can talk uninterrupted.
  3. Decide on the outcome you want. Do you just want to be listened to or do you want practical or emotional support? If you don’t know yet, that’s ok.
  4. It’s easy to forget things when you’re in the moment so write down what you want to include in the conversation.
  5. Try to explain how you feel and what support you would like. This gives the other person a better idea of how to try and help you.


Charities and Support Groups who can help…
For a list of charities and support groups who can help, visit the NHS website here.

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