Asking for Help is Hard.
Updated: Mar 23
Written by: Madison Horne, MA, LMHP-R
“How do I know when I need to seek therapy?” “How do I go about it?” “What even is therapy?” “Am I ready for therapy?” Many people find themselves asking these questions, but an answer is never truly given. It isn’t like we were ever told as children that if we begin to sweat, get headaches, and have a racing heart rate that we could be experiencing an anxiety attack and should seek counseling… We were never taught in school or by the majority of our parents that seeking counseling is “okay.” This left us as adults confused as to how to go about seeking help, or how to address mental health issues with our children – continuing that cycle of not having “helping behaviors.”
Help-Seeking Behaviors are not to get confused with Treatment-Seeking behaviors. Help-seeking behaviors are searching for or requesting help from others via formal or informal mechanisms… (APA Dictionary, 2020). Keywords here are formal or informal, formal consisting of seeking mental health services, while informal varying. Misplaced aggression, toxic coping skills, substance use/abuse, and low/heightened self-esteem are all components of help-seeking behaviors informally. With self-esteem being affected, causing depression-like symptoms or anxiety symptoms one can begin to demonstrate those informal help-seeking behaviors we were talking about before, due to the lack of healthy coping skills.
If a child is acting out in school or at home through fighting or challenging authority, this is simply misplaced aggression. Children sometimes have a difficult time saying exactly what is wrong and putting words to their emotions. This is why they behave in such a manner when triggered. This is where those toxic coping skills are formed. Whether that is self-harm, harm to others, or emotional suppression, it has the potential to carry on into adulthood. When help is not sought after at a young age, we continue those negative, harmful behaviors. Substance use/substance abuse can occur to help to “numb” those feelings or make it “easier to manage.” But believe me, those feelings and thoughts do not simply disappear, they can become heightened, causing more stress and anxiety than before, which continues the cycle of using said substance more and more.
Asking for help can be difficult, but I am here to reassure you that you are not alone. Just take a look at the statistics:
(Meridian Daily, 2020)
The main point is: all of this is normal, okay, acceptable, conquerable, etc…
If no one has told you yet, let me be the first to tell you that GOING THERAPY IS OKAY!! Ever heard of the term safe space? If not, it’s a place where you can be you… no judgment, no bias, or pressure. Counseling can be a place where you can explore past traumas, current traumas, relationships, and yourself. You can explore those behaviors you may be demonstrating and learn to become a better you. Because I mean who doesn’t want to grow and improve their life?
With all this being said, it must be known that counseling isn’t the “fix-all.” You will have to push yourself, test yourself, and explore areas that may be difficult to address, all-while learning new behaviors that will take time and practice to conquer. But a counselor is there to push you, encourage you along the way, and help you to dissect each and every topic.
So, what can we do to increase help-seeking behaviors?
Normalize therapy, ditch the stigma around mental health, and the negative perceptions! Let’s start those conversations with the youth, our friends, co-workers, and family. A simple conversation can help to motivate or encourage formal help-seeking behaviors. More positives, than negatives, will occur – don’t be afraid!
So, let me help you with your help-seeking behavior !!
Here’s your therapist!
Tele-mental health sessions and individual sessions are available!
#Mentalhealth #Mentalhealthawareness #helpseekingbehaviors #selflove #selfimprovement #takethatstep #motivation #encouragement #telementalhealth #therapy #losethestigma #drnortontherapy #chooseyourchoices