Blog / Therapist Speaks - The Dilemma of Seeking Help
Therapist Speaks - The Dilemma of Seeking Help17.11.2023 | Radha Kesavaram
‘Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;’
The above couplet from the poem Solitude, by poet and author Ella Wheeler Wilcox mirrors the plight that most of us find ourselves in when going through Life’s lows.
As a Therapist I see myself as a fellow traveller in my Client’s lives, as our paths often cross during the course of their solitude journeys.
I constantly bear witness to mental health challenges forcing many of us to take to a lonesome path, as we tend to keep the demons at bay, alongside struggling to keep the home fires burning.
Experiences, within and without, making us feel alone and lonely, even when surrounded by a sea of humanity.
In this article I strive to look at factors that can make reaching out to support systems and seeking help challenging, while being in the throes of difficulties and challenges and the ensuing emotional upheaval, that render going forward almost impossible.
The Storm before the Calm
The crushing heaviness of hopelessness and fear that often accompany hurt and pain can make darkness and isolation seem like the only way to cope. The only way of being that feels safe and possible. The enveloping comfort of a blanket. Numbing yourself out to a state where you can no longer feel the pain. Dissociation; often a safe sanctuary for those of us going through unbearable pain and sorrow. Or the familiar acts of self-sabotaging that we typically resort to for comfort and relief.
Emotions that often come up in the face of a calamity or challenge – Despair. Fear. Anxiety. And the host of other changes that you become aware, as the body gears up to face the threat, can feel quite overwhelming to deal with. While an optimal level of anxiety and stress can help us prepare better to face what confronts us, the same emotions can become too overwhelming to handle as they escalate to a point where failure and ruin seemingly feel certain.
It can be helpful to recognize that such an emotional state can also lead to a gripping focus on the negatives, while we engage in our attempts at conflict resolution or damage control, inadvertently leaving us blindsided to the possibility of help and support from others
Am I worthy of seeking Help?
Feelings of remorse or shame over choices made in the past may compel us to question our self-worth, perhaps making alienation the only convincing refuge for some of us. Also, it can be hard to ascribe blame to others and external circumstances when such a course of action only can seem to worsen our plight. In addition to this, many of us who live in abusive and hostile environments may often be gaslighted to believe that we solely are responsible for the turn of events, leading to an inordinate burden of guilt rendering us powerless and helpless in the face of circumstances.
It can be helpful to recognize that sharing concerns with those whose counsel we can trust can help us broaden our focus, open up new perspectives, help us reaffirm our sense of self-worth and reconnect with our own sense of agency – including our ability to lean on support systems when the going gets tougher
Are my concerns valid enough to seek help?
Are they too trivial in comparison? Can they even be resolved? Is it realistic to expect a solution or remedy to problems that so convincingly seem insurmountable? Harsh judgments and criticisms internalized from others may lead to feelings of self-doubt and even self-blame and guilt causing us to question the genuineness of our concerns. Also, the long-standing nature of these concerns and our repeated futile attempts at coping may have led us to believe that giving up is the only choice.
Recognizing this can help us absolve ourselves of unnecessary guilt, shame, and worry and be more accepting and validating of our feelings and concerns. This in turn can help us open ourselves up to those we can trust and feel safe around, with the conviction that our concerns are valid enough and deserve attention
Is there anyone I can trust?
Traumatic experiences in the past when your previous attempts at seeking help have not only been futile but have also caused you to witness a deep violation of your trust can understandably make you skeptical of venturing out again. The fact that seeking help for mental health concerns may still be frowned upon and that resources that are truly trustworthy and reliable are few and scanty could have made the process seem impractical and unimaginable.
It can be helpful to recognize that with the concerted, diligent efforts of individuals and organizations committed to the cause, change in the Mental health scene is on the horizon. Mental health care is getting its due recognition worldwide and, in our nation, too. Services and professionals you can bank upon are accessible and available in your vicinity too, in case you need a helping hand.
I would like to conclude with the following…
Yes, the past has been bleak and perhaps the present too
And things you are struggling with may look menacingly scary
Compelling you to believe that perhaps silence is the best refuge
And that hoping for help and remedy may not be realistic after all.
I would like you to know that the storm shall abate and the way forward
Will soon become clear
All you need to do -
Is take that first step.
To reach out to that helpline. The Support that is right within your reach.
And it is our pledge that We will not let You down.
If you or somebody you struggles to seek help, consider reaching our ‘Support’ and ‘Engage’ verticals for affordable and inclusive help!
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