EVER SINCE I WAS A KID, I HAVE ALWAYS HATED...

...asking for help. Whether I was struggling to solve a math problem at school or trying to reach the highest shelf in the kitchen, I tried to find a solution by myself at least a hundred times (slightly exaggerated but you get the gist) before I asked someone smarter (or taller) than me to help me out. In my mind, asking for help always equaled being weak, and I hated the idea of someone out there thinking I’m weak. So when I started having intense panic attacks and suicidal thoughts in college, reaching out for help was out of the question. I have always thought of myself as a “control freak”, and I couldn’t bear having people think that I have no control over my own thoughts, emotions, and actions. The few desperate times that I did reach out to friends for help, I was usually met with pity, skepticism, and even ridicule. No one seemed to understand why I kept getting sad or angry – it didn’t make sense to them why I couldn’t just try to be happy. And when I did find someone who genuinely cared about me and my mental well-being, they became the target of my anger and jealousy as my emotions began to center around them and their decisions.

I realized that my mental state dictated the state of all my relationships, and as a result I started to isolate myself from everyone around me for fear of having people I care about thinking that I’m broken. Repression became second nature to me as asking for help ceased to be an option. I perfected my public persona – smiling, laughing, listening but never talking – and pretended everything was fine whenever I wasn’t alone. As expected, my behavior only made things worse. After college ended, I decided to take a job out-of-state. Soon after my move, I became prone to random violent outbursts whenever I was alone or with loved ones – even the smallest action against my wishes would trigger an intense emotional reaction. I started having frequent mood swings and even resorted to physical self-harm at times. My mental health rapidly deteriorated along with my relationships as I started lashing out instead of recognizing I had a problem and asking for help.

It took a major life event to occur for me to finally realize that my relentless refusal to accept I wasn’t okay was slowly destroying me and everyone I cared about. I ended up quitting my job, moving back home, and finally talking to my parents about my mental issues. I took a month to recuperate and move on before opening myself up to new work opportunities. Today, I have a job I love and an open and honest relationship with the people I care about. Even though I still deal with anxiety and depression, my acceptance of these issues give me the strength to ask for help whenever I feel myself losing control over my thoughts and emotions. I now realize that having the support of people who care about you only makes you stronger. And so I urge you to not make the same mistakes I made - please ask for help. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or medical professional, please take that first step towards living a healthier life because you deserve better.
 

© 2020 by MannMukti

MannMukti pledges to serve all South Asians, recognizing the power hierarchies in our communities, created and maintained by different identities of caste, language, geography, gender, sexuality, and religion that shape individuals' obstacles while seeking mental liberation.