Reaching out is a sign of strength - how to ask for help when you’re struggling

Life can be hard and wanting to work through everything on your own can take its toll. Reaching out for support is a sign of strength – sometimes the best way to help yourself is to let someone else in. 

It signifies that you put value in your own worth and it can be the best thing you do for yourself. Approaching those you are seeking support from requires both an emotional and mental openness. While it can be challenging to overcome the initial resistance of voicing your needs out loud in an honest way, it can be a step in the right direction for getting the proper support that you need.

Here are a few tips to help make it easier to reach out for support: 

Prepare what you want to say beforehand.

If you’re already feeling nervous or resistant about reaching out, having a list of things you want to express may calm those nerves and help you open up. And if you prefer writing over speaking, especially when it comes to difficult topics, there’s no harm in sending a written message to ask for support. Writing allows you to carefully consider what you want to say and make sure it comes across the way in which you intend.

Talk to someone you trust.

Writing isn’t the answer for everyone. Some people are more comfortable speaking about their struggles and voicing why they need help, especially when they are talking face-to-face with someone who knows them well and loves them. More often than not, your loved one will likely be relieved you have reached out for help and they’ll be willing to do what they can to assist you. It can be hard to have a conversation in which you feel vulnerable and are admitting that something has grown beyond your control. But there is also a freeing aspect to sharing this with another person and realizing you are not alone. Also, consciously providing support and checking in with the people to see how they are doing can do wonders in breaking the negative patterns in your own life.

In the case you open up to someone who is less than supportive or understanding about your situation, remember that it’s a reflection on them and their inability to be supportive at that moment in time. Times of struggle can sometimes bring clarity to friendships and relationships. Sometimes people change and grow apart and that’s okay as it makes room for new growth and new connections.

Discuss your struggle with someone outside of your social circle.

Sometimes this is easier than talking directly to someone you know and love. Sometimes we don’t want our loved ones to see certain sides of us, so we avoid talking to them and asking them for help, even when they’d be willing to help. It’s easier to show those parts of ourselves to a person who doesn’t have a history with us. This could be a counselor, co-worker, mentor, coach, or anyone else you trust to open up to. Chances are good that if you willingly ask for help, they will do what they can to assist you.

Reach out to a therapist or coach.

The benefits or counseling, or “talk therapy” have been widely researched. Some studies have shown that talk therapy can be just as effective as medication when dealing with depression and anxiety, with the best outcomes coming from a combination of both. 

“Some studies have shown that talk therapy can be just as effective as medication when dealing with depression and anxiety, with the best outcomes coming from a combination of both.”

The wide availability of virtual health options means that counseling is now more accessible than ever. You no longer need to find a local counselor and go to an in-person office – you can meet with a counselor from any device. In the past it used to be common to find any counselor that happened to be taking clients. But with virtual treatment options – such as ALAViDA, for anyone struggling with substance use – people have more options when it comes to finding the right kind of professional. 

Tap into online resources.

You can find online resources and support groups for almost any topic – depression, anxiety, addiction, grief, pain management, healthy living, dealing with separation and divorce, and more. 

Sometimes taking the step to simply educate yourself and talk to people who have sought out treatment can make the whole process seem less frightening and more manageable. Once you begin searching for resources online, you will be shocked at the amount of information and support that is available. 

Support groups can take many shapes. Some common ones include expert-led group coaching sessions, Facebook or What’sApp discussion groups, online forums, and online peer-to-peer hangouts.

If you’re not sure where to look or what to trust, ALAViDA offers curated resources that can be accessed by signing into the TRAiL.

Call a helpline.

If you’re really struggling in the moment and not sure where to start, there are numerous helplines you can call to speak with someone who has knowledge in the field of addiction and mental health. Sometimes this is a less intimidating place to start because the conversation is not face-to-face and is not with someone you know personally. People who work at helplines are trained to be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to seeking help. Those on the other end of the phone are there because they want to help, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Some Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s) also have helplines for immediate counsel or to point you in the right direction of support. 

In the end, there is no right or wrong way to ask for help. Everyone is different, as is everyone’s situation. Do what feels right for you, but more importantly, do what you think will most likely get you the help you need and want.

Struggling with substance use? ALAViDA can help.

If you’d like to change your relationship with substances, ALAViDA provides a wide range of support options. Connect with our care team for a personalized program proven to reduce substance use or use our self-guided approach to go at your own pace. Support is accessed through our TRAiL platform and includes a wide range of resources to help you reach your goals, including iCBT modules (internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), notifications and tracking tools, optional group coaching, and more.

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL.