There’s No Shame in Asking for Help

"A Helping Hand". 1881 painting by E...

I have always been very independent.  As a very young (and short) child, I would use household objects as tool in order to reach the light switches so that I would not have to depend upon anyone else.  Overall, I believe that this trait has served me well.  Until I got divorced, that is.  Those first few weeks were hell on my body.  I could not eat, causing my already slim frame to waste away to nothing.  My ribs stood out in relief along my back.  My body was racked with tremors, the anxiety too much for mere flesh and bones to contain.  I did not sleep; my body refused to rest.

Those around me encouraged me to try medication.  I resisted.  I was determined to do this alone, without the aid of a pharmacy.  Eventually, my body made the decision for me as days moved into weeks and I saw no improvement.  I ended up with some substantial medication to help me eat and sleep (300 mg Trazadone, if you’re keeping count…and I could still push through that on many nights).  I found peace with my decision to accept pharmaceutical assistance.  Those pills allowed my body to function for the first 8 months.  I let them go when I was able to go solo again.

There is no shame is asking for help.  We accept the fact that those at the at the end of life and those at the beginning of life require assistance, yet we somehow believe that adults should be able to be independent.  Divorce is the death of one life and the infancy of another.  You will need help.

Here are three sources of help you may find you need:

1) Therapy

Depending upon your situation, your prior coping skills, and your support system, you may be in need of therapy.  That is not a sign of weakness or a sign that you are crazy.  You are going through one of the most stressful events that one can endure and you may not be prepared to handle it on your own.  A therapist can be your guide down the road to healing.  Don’t be afraid to try different approaches and different people until you find what works for you.

2) Medication

I had to face the difficult lesson that sometimes you can’t fix your body through sheer will.  Medication may need to be investigated if you are unable to sleep or eat for a significant period or if sadness or anxiety are completely overwhelming.  I know I was afraid of triggering dependency, as I felt that I was in a very vulnerable place.  I discussed this with my doctor and so medications were chosen that were not considered high risk for abuse.

3) Time

Divorce is exhausting.  Adding to that, you have to adapt to your new responsibilities, navigate the court system, and somehow find time to process the whole mess.  This is a time when taking some leave from work is acceptable; your self-work needs to take priority for a while.  If you are parent, ask someone to watch the kids so that you can have some time alone.

It is far better to temporarily suffer the embarrassment and discomfort of asking for help than to permanently suffer in silence.  Ask for a hand, and let it guide you through.

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6 thoughts on “There’s No Shame in Asking for Help

  1. Hey there Stilllearning2b,
    Therapy, Medication, Time. I agree. But I’d ad to the list: FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Oh yes, there are times when you feel like, and might need to, distance yourself from the people who care most about you… (and their going to find it hard, and worry even more) but in the end it’s a great blessing to have your F&F to fall back onto.

  2. Great post. I learned some things. Great pic at the top too.
    And yes, divorce is exhausting … and devastating in so many ways.

    I am so glad to be 2+ years along from the day it was final. Whew!

    By no coincidence, having spent two years recovering…and rebuilding myself, and making personal changes in myself that contributed to my divorce, I have recently begun a relationship that is progressing well, is balanced, a lot of fun, and with a stable person who has good boundaries, excellent commonalities with me, etc.

    Every post helps me progress. Thank you Lisa!

  3. Wow you ladies are so inspiring! Besides having feelings of worthlessness after a long hard marriage and becoming too self-sufficient, I realized that I also have a lot of Pride that stops me from asking for help. Pride is such a dangerous trait to have and I knew it was a trait that I definitely had to give up. When you look at it from the other side, so many people are pleased to help in so many ways…..why should I take that pleasure away from them. Thank you again for a great post. Tovah

    1. You are so right about pride being a trait that can get in the way of asking for and accepting help. To receive help takes a certain humility and vulnerability that is not always easy.

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