How many people suffer in silence because they have learned (incorrectly) that asking for help is a sign of weakness?
Dealing with illnesses of the mind, including mental illness and addiction, are tricky. When someone is sitting in a wheel chair, asking for help opening a door seems obvious. What if your “wheelchair” is invisible? What if your problems are dealing with life’s problems and not opening physical doors?
I used to turn a lot of my problems internal and start a barrage of negative self talk. I still see myself sitting there muttering under my breath, “you are such an idiot.”
I used to get angry at myself when I was extremely overweight and didn’t fit in seats on airplanes. Was that anger productive? Gratitude helped change my entire perspective on life. I started to realize that I didn’t have to wait to be grateful when my goals were accomplished (or weight lost).
I was able to celebrate the little wins everyday which helped me truly achieve my goal. I started to focus on when I ate properly or slept well.
Asking for help also put me in a position to succeed. I used to be shy about telling people what my needs were. I left them up to chance hoping they would be met. I would travel for business and leave my meals to the team. I would also order drinks at happy hour just to fit in.
Did I get to eat the proper food with my chance meals? Rarely…the voice in my head took over and I ate to excess. I also found myself sitting at bars or restaurants exhausting myself when the reality was I needed to sleep!
I didn’t have to come out and tell my clients that i had a diagnosis or addiction issues (though in my case, I did). I did have to set boundaries around my needs and then prepare myself for positive discussion.
Answering questions about why you aren’t eating a specific food or why you have to go to sleep early are easy when you are prepared! Don’t prepare to help explain yourself to others! Prepare to remind yourself daily so when the voice in your head starts challenging you, you are equally prepared. The voice in your head will be far more relentless than your friends, colleagues or family! The voice in your head never leaves you!
Originally published at medium.com