I write about it as though it were a yoga pose, an art form, a gesture of love. I rabbit on about it because it’s always at our disposal and ready to be activated, although, for fear of judgement, we cast it aside. I’m a huge fan of The Asking of the Help. I’d say it was second to my heart, the engine of my existence. I don’t always need it, and I’m not always best placed to give it, but I do know that my near fatal depressive spells have insisted I take advantage of it. Asking for help is something I’m very comfortable with and I consider it a life-long gift gained from despair. The Asking of the Help can be a well-honed skill and when we focus on the ‘positive’ outcomes that grow form our ‘negative’ experiences, this is one I place top-of-the-list, with an encore.
Cast a wide net and you’ll find that Help has many faces – a colleague, philosopher, Facebook friend, loyal pet, aunty, clairvoyant, workshop, life coach or inspiring artist. If you’re looking for wise words of wisdom to overcome a spot of darkness, then its best to get savvy with all things Help. Shrug aside the senseless concern about what people may think of you, as though asking for Help is a sign of weakness, failure or inadequacy – that’s very last century.
In my opinion, the exchange of help is one of the most beautiful acts two or more people can engage in. It brings out the best in everyone – we conquer feats never attempted solo! We become the human in humanity! Helping each other, helping a falling friend, helping someone light their fire while they rummage for a match. Was there ever such an act of pure kindness? When we consider our mental health and lose our grip in the whirlwind of ‘mental illness’, The Asking of the Help can do more for a crises than any other intervention. It’s a fast-track route to safety. I have fumbled, desperate and embarrassed, to the waiting rooms of psychiatric clinics feeling utterly useless in the face of depression yet personally proud that I could summon a: I need help. I haven’t always received what I needed but I always received care, which is liquid gold for illuminating self-sabotaging shadows.
Anything that suggests moving forward, doing your best, reaching out, reaching in, stating the truth, hands-up-in-air, laughing and crying, facing despair AND inviting help into this region of vulnerability, has my tick of approval in the life of hard knocks. Surrounding oneself with a trusty friend or supportive community with whom you can state exactly how you feel, is worth investing in for the future of your wellbeing, regardless of whether you identify with having a ‘mental illness’ or not. The Asking of the Help is no less common than The Brushing of the Teeth.
I’m continually flawed by the ability of my own depressive nature to sink into dark corners of my mind, and within there lies this hotspot – an inner knowing that I’m not coping. That it’s time to activate The Ask for Help, and that I’m entitled to being held. I think that anyone struggling with a ‘mental illness’ or what I prefer to call, psychological, emotional and spiritual challenges can benefit from discovering when it’s time to ask for help. For it’s the least you can do, when the mind is muffled by mayhem, the heart feels numb and distant, anxiety soars and we begin to withdraw. When you no longer need to go it alone or prove something to someone but for the sake of some relief, seek some help.
For a s/hero to oneself is a s/hero to the world. When we ask for help, we are empowering ourselves and it is through self-empowerment that our mental troubles fade away.
Love always, Charlotte Claire, The Babyfacedassassin
Photography: Pauline Langmead