Kathleen Majorsky is a writer and editor. She has found help and healing through her own writing and helping people edit their work so their voices shine. She believes everyone has a story to share. The more diverse stories we hear the better the world will be. When she’s not writing and editing, she’s out adventuring and finding the best tacos in southwest Florida. Follow Kathleen’s work on IG and on her website!
I am 37 years old, and I still find it challenging to ask for help. No one taught me how when I was growing up. No one told me it was okay to ask. No one told me I didn’t have to go it alone. I’m here to tell you that it is okay to ask for help when you know deep down you need it. It is not weak. It is vulnerable. There is strength in vulnerability. Asking for help is empowering.
Independence and Ego
In my late teens and twenties, I was proud of my independence and self-reliance. My ego was larger than life. I believed I didn’t need anyone. Not my parents, not my friends, not my boyfriend. No one. But things got hard: Enter a traumatic experience I didn’t know how to deal with and process in a healthy way. Because I was so apt to resist care and love when things got difficult to deal with I found myself alone. A lot. Or at least it felt that way. I didn’t have the words to ask for help.
Drowning in Fine
I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t handle these things on my own. But my self-isolation only made things worse. I kept tripping myself up every time I tried to move forward. I kept drowning in my anxiety and self-sabotaging negative talk. I managed to trick myself into thinking I was okay when I was so clearly not.
I became a master at pretending things were fine. Fine can be a dangerous word that speaks volumes. But fine lies often. I had different groups of friends, and I made it appear I was always busy with someone when I spent most of my time alone. I was fine. Fine was all smoke and mirrors. Fine was a passive-aggressive cry for help.
I wanted people to know that I wasn’t fine without me telling them. I was stuck in my own victim story. That wasn’t the best way to show up. It took me years to learn to advocate for myself and to learn to communicate my needs and to understand that what I was feeling, my response to trauma, my anxiety, was valid. I was also drowning in comparisons. I was comparing my pain to everyone else’s. That was so so harmful. Because pain should never be compared. What is traumatic to you might not be traumatic to me and vice versa. Compassion became my humble teacher. Compassion for others, but most importantly compassion for myself. I’m still learning.
Life is Tough. But you are Tougher.
Life can come at you hard. Some days it feels impossible, and you feel like no one would ever understand. Emotions and feelings that you’ve never experienced before can overwhelm you. That’s okay. Let them run their course. Feel your feels. But on the other side, there is always going to be a way to get the help you need. That’s never impossible. There are always people with their hands outstretched waiting to hold yours while you are processing. There is no shame in asking for help. Ever.
Look for the Helpers.
With so many resources at your fingertips, there is no shortage of helpers out there. Help can come in many forms and look different for everyone. There are so many modalities and resources that will lead you down a path to your own healing. Helpers can come in the form of coaches, therapists, accountability partners, writing groups, parents or teachers, etc. There is no one right way, path or person. (Check out Courtney’s guide to building a support system to name the folks you can turn to for help!)
The trick is to learn to love yourself enough to keep trying to find the help that works for YOU. Take solace in that. Loosen the grip on your pride and ego and accept the safety of those outstretched hands. Someday, because of your journey, you just might find yourself in a position to help someone else. That is a beautiful thing.
On paper, people look at my accomplishments and the things I’ve done with my life so far and they say, “Wow, you are so brave.” I have two master’s degrees. I’ve lived in six different states in the last 15 years. I’ve hobnobbed with powerful people. I’ve pushed myself into situations that have made me uncomfortable in the name of growth. While I am certainly proud of the things I’ve done, I don’t agree with other people’s definition of “brave.” The bravest thing I have ever done is to say, “I need help. What is the next step?”
Give yourself permission to be brave. Find the help you need that meets you where you are. And be gentle with yourself. You are worth it.
Your story is important. Your voice needs to be heard. Maybe it’s time for you to be the helper by sharing your story. If there is a story inside of you that needs to come out through writing, I would love to chat about it.