Why it's absolutely okay to ask for help
I wrote this post for my newsletter subscribers but as it’s Blue Monday today, I wanted to share it on the blog too.
This is a little story about me…
About 18 months ago, when we were packing up the house to move to Laos, I was pretty stressed out. I was trying to find a way to move my business, my home, my family and myself to a little country in Asia that I’d never been to before. I wasn’t sleeping, I was cranky all the time, and I could feel those telltale signs of depression creeping into my mind.
So I went to see my GP.
I should back up here and tell you that I was a bit of an anxious child. I was very close to my mum (still am!) and I was always worried that something would happen to her. I hated school, I struggled to fit in and I spent years with my nose in a book. I knew that the path of life dictated that you went off to university, got a job and had a family but I couldn’t imagine that I would ever get there. It was a surprise when I finally popped out on the other side of school, relatively unscathed.
Fast forward a decade or so and I became a mum for the first time. And all those bloody anxieties came roaring back into my life, along with sleep deprivation, guilt, uncertainty, self-criticism and exhaustion. I suffered (undiagnosed) post natal depression and have struggled with the ups and downs of anxiety since.
Throw in a new freelance business and few global relocations and my sanity teetered.
My GP said I was doing the most sane thing of all - asking for help when I needed it.
I felt so much better hearing her say that - the voice of a trusted, definitely sane person telling me I wasn’t crazy. That it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. That’s it’s okay to not have to do everything on your own. That’s it’s okay to give yourself a break.
I follow several business bloggers and entrepreneurs online. They’re all successful young women, all about 10 years younger than me, and none of them have kids. So, in a way it feels like they’re well ahead of me in terms of business success. But then I read one of their blog posts recently about trying to work while feeling “depressed for months”. Months. The same months that I was reading her weekly newsletters and never imagining that this person ever flagged in motivation.
My point is that depression and anxiety and stress happens to us all. It’s not about a bad attitude or something you need to “get over”. There’s lots of things you can do to reduce stress - take a day off, slow down, read a book instead of emails, say no to extra activities, have a lazy weekend, take a nap, go on holiday.
And you can always just ask for help if you need it.
I’m right here with you.