Why asking for help is so hard

Photo: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline / tylerc.com

The loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain has been weighing on me today. In this quick take, my thoughts on struggling with life, feeling like a burden, and finding ways to up our emotional intelligence and look out for each other.

Quick take

I’ve never really talked that much about the things I’ve struggled with. I’ve always felt as though it was signaled to me that it doesn’t matter, or that it doesn’t compare to what a lot of other people have to go through, or that other factors in my life are OK so I don’t have the right to complain. I think it’s pretty common to feel like a burden. And it’s at least factually true that you can always find people doing much, much worse than you.

But if there’s anything the heartbreaking loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain can teach us, along with all the others before them, it’s that your life can look great on paper and it means absolutely nothing in your head.

We always tell people to reach out when they’re struggling, and thankfully many do, but I think about how I hesitate to ask for any help with anything, no matter how small. If I didn’t want to live anymore, how could I ever find the strength to tell people? The way we act around each other sometimes, with a pretense that we don’t really care about anything, is so emotionally immature and almost sociopathic. We need to reach out more in the other direction to those who might not be able to tell us. I don’t really know how, but we need to figure it out—and here’s a good start. We’ve already lost too many.

If you’re having thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255, even if you’re hesitant to ask for help like me. If you work for a crisis center, I’m thinking of you today, too.

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