I am the first to get on my closest friends and family members for not asking for help. In many cases, I feel some type of way that they don’t ask me for help, especially when I am willing and able to do so. However...I do the same thing when it comes to asking for help from others.
Pride, ego and fear can hinder a person (including myself) ability to ask for help. Additionally, the problem someone needs help with can keep them from speaking up.
- Can you help me move this couch? … Cool
- Can you help me with my homework? … Cool
- Can I borrow a dollar to get a snack? … Cool
- Can I catch a ride to the store? … Cool
Depending on your personality type, sometimes even the smallest things, like the questions listed above are difficult to ask.
As a man, one of the hardest things to do is ask for help; especially when it involves things we may mentally struggle with internally.
- Can you help me sort through my emotions?
- Can you help me figure out why that made me so angry?
- Can you help me understand the feelings I’ve had since I broke up with my girlfriend?
I have a strong support system, but can the members of my support system handle the things that are going on in my head? Guys don’t typically ask for help with things like this, so will I be taken seriously and supported? Or ridiculed and considered ‘soft’?
I’m not even comfortable talking about my emotions -- I can’t imagine asking someone for help with them.
Without the statements coming directly from my lips, other forms of verbal communication, along with nonverbal communication and changes in behavior patterns did scream, “HELP ME!” (This is not an inclusive list of someone needing help, but are personal examples from my past)
Verbally: When I say "I'm cool" in response to someone asking “How are you?”, something is troubling me. Sometimes this means I don’t want to talk about my feelings, and that I’m trying to sort through how I truly feel, OR I am not comfortable with asking for help at that particular time. I'm Cool = “HELP ME!”
Behavior: As I have mentioned in previous posts, my excessive use of alcohol is one sign that I am not mentally well. I enjoy having drinks when I go out and I’m and hanging with friends, but if you call me on a weekday and I’m on my second or third shot of Cognac during in the middle of the day, for no apparent reason… “HELP ME!”
Nonverbal: My leg twitches when I sit. Most of the time this is a secondary action that I do while I focus on something that is causing me stress. This doesn’t always mean that I am to the point of breaking down, but looking at how fast my leg is twitching is an indicator that I’m screaming, “HELP ME!” internally.
With many people, and in many situations, asking for help can be extremely difficult, especially when it comes to a person’s mental health. Although we may not verbally say it, small signs may serve as hidden S.O.S messages. We must learn how to pick up on these signs, especially with people we are close to. A genuine question of “are you okay?”, or “can I help you with something?” can go a long way.
In the upcoming post, I will discuss How to Help and How to Accept Help in situations pertaining to Mental Wellness.
In the meantime...
What are some things that you are reluctant to ask for help with? What are your hidden S.O.S. Techniques?