Seeking help can be one of the hardest parts of recovery but to me it is also one of the most important. If no one else knows that you are struggling, you cannot receive the help and support you deserve. Talking about things you yourself might not even understand can be very challenging, but once you take that chance and get it out there in the open a weight can be lifted off your shoulders.
There can be many reasons for wanting to talk with someone else about what is going on. Maybe you’ve harmed yourself and hope to reach out and try to stop. Maybe you have been struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts and want to find ways to cope and feel better.
Seeking help can be difficult, but there are a lot of ways to start the conversation. First, choose someone you trust, someone that cares for and supports you and with whom you feel comfortable and relaxed. People that you could tell include a teacher, co-worker, counselor, doctor, school nurse, family member, or friend. Although you may feel most comfortable telling a friend, be aware that your friend might have to share your conversation with an adult, because they truly care about you and want to help.
You could sit this person down and say that there has been some stuff that has been bothering you lately and continue on from there. You can choose to set boundaries on the conversation such as the type of questions the person can ask, or whether or not you want the person’s advice. Or you can make it clear that you just need to talk about what is going on. If you can’t find the exact words to describe how you feel, use a journal or diary as a script to get the conversation started. If you do not feel comfortable talking face to face, write a letter. Let the person know you are seeking help.
Most teens that want to reach out for help shy away from the matter because they do not want their parents to know. If you are worried about how a parent might react, let a counselor or other trusted adult know and they can help handle the situation. If you choose to tell a family member or friend, know that their initial reaction may not be what you were hoping for but it will get better with time. Discussing how you feel as well as what is going on can be difficult for many. But there are people who care and want to help you. I encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out. It does get better, I promise.
If you’re feeling hopeless, needing support, or have thoughts of suicide, please call Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “START” to 741-741 to chat with a Crisis Text Line counselor.