It is never easy to ask for help. That is to say, it has never been easy for me.
So when I called my mother during my first weeks at Ball State and told her I wanted to seek professional help, it felt like a major step. She sat on the other end of the phone, undoubtedly worried, and said, “if that’s what you need, then I’ll find someone.”
She never did. And each time I brought it up, she gave the same response that produced the same result: nothing.
I would never get the help that I needed. It took so much for me to ask someone I trusted for help, and I couldn’t imagine reaching out to a stranger. It wounded my pride. I felt weak.
At the time, I wanted to blame my mother. But it wasn’t her fault. She didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. She didn’t know how I felt. She didn’t see the bottle of pills I planned on taking.
Despite never knowing, she was the reason I never went through with it. I couldn’t let the woman who had done so much for me be the one to find me. Plus, I just moved in with a random roommate and it didn’t seem like a fair way for him start his semester.
As perverse as it may be, these were the thoughts going through my head. A tinge of conscience pushed me away from the proverbial ledge. Though I couldn’t see how I was benefiting the lives of those around me, I didn’t want to make it worse for them.
I decided it was time for a change. I was still too prideful to seek help, so just helped myself. I joined as many organizations as I could, and threw myself into them as much as possible.
I took any position available in my fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega. I started producing content for Connections Live, a television show on campus. I became the video editor for Ball Bearings. I joined Mortar Board. These are just some of things I did.
I kept busy.
It seemed to work for a while. I made friends, and for a while I was happy. Well, the closest thing to happy that I could comprehend. But I had never solved the underlying problem: I felt broken.
There were too many hours in the day where I would go home and feel alone, so I tried to throw myself into these groups even more.
Working became my medicine, and I was starting to overmedicate. I became overworked and apathetic. I didn’t care about the work I was doing, and I didn’t feel respected by the people I worked with.
I was alone again. At least, that’s how I felt.
The burden had become too much, but it was because of how I handled everything. I had approached my problems the only way I knew how, by handling it on my own.
I wish I could say there was a singular moment when I realized what I had been doing wasn’t healthy, just like I wish there was a singular thing I could to fix everything.
Life isn’t that simple. I slowly I began to realize it was too complicated for me to fight alone.
I started talking to my friends more, got less involved—this is my last piece of work for Ball Bearings—and I’m currently looking into the counseling center for healthier ways to deal with stress.
I’m not going to lie to you and say everything is better now. But I can say that things are headed in the right direction.
There are people reading this right now who are saying, “This guy has some serious issues.” They wouldn’t exactly be wrong, but this isn’t for them.
I’m writing this for the people who feel alone and scared. I’m writing this to tell you that it’s OK to ask for help, and that you’re never really alone.