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This Is What to Do When You Are Too Embarrassed to Ask Your Friends for Help


To paraphrase Dunne:

No one is an island entire unto itself. Everyone is a piece of the whole, a part of the earth…

This is a hard saying for people who have been taught to believe in independence as a virtue. You are supposed to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You are supposed to deal with your own problems. When the going gets tough, the tough version of you is supposed to get going. You are supposed to man up, even if you are a woman. Let’s not overthink it. The bottom line is that you are to carry your own burden and not pawn it off on someone else. That’s the American way. Duane wasn’t an American.

We have learned how to be emotional islands. But when our bootstraps are not strong enough to bear the weight of our unease, we become as clods washed away by the sea. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Helping you bear the weight of your challenges is precisely what friends are for. 

Unfortunately, social pressure has conspired to make us too ashamed to approach our friends and family with our burdens. True friends are your first, best resource. But if embarrassment erects and unscalable barrier between you and that resource, here are some things for you to try:

Professional Help

In a case such as substance use disorder, you should be able to go to a close friend and talk about it. If, for some reason, that option is not available to you, make a discrete appointment with a professional to get help with addiction. That is the advice a true friend would give you anyway. 

Substance use disorder is a medical condition that needs to be treated medically. It is not something that goes away with a good pep talk and a strong will. It is also the kind of thing you can observe for yourself when it gets out of hand. Consider some of the signs:

  • Neglecting important personal or professional responsibilities.
  • Isolating from family and friends.
  • New financial difficulties.
  • Lying or stealing from family, friends or other sources.

These are just a few of the signs that are clear enough for anyone to see. If you are too far gone to recognize the signs, your friends will surely point them out. If you don’t want your friends to be involved, call a professional at the first sign of trouble. The call and the treatment is always confidential.

Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

Unless you are a doctor, no one expects you to be able to diagnose yourself. That said, you are the first person to recognize symptoms that point to diagnosable issues. It is just that we often don’t like the implications of those symptoms and would rather ignore them than face them.

A loss of cognitive function is one of the issues we would rather ignore than address. The implications scare us because we think there is nothing that can be done. But the fact is there are many things you can do to improve your cognitive functions. Your inability to remember things that just happened a few minutes ago, forgetting names of people you should remember, and being temporarily disoriented when you are in familiar surroundings all point to issues that could be serious. They can also be treated if caught early. So don’t let embarrassment cause you to ignore symptoms. See a doctor right away.

Leverage the Internet

Babies don’t come with instruction manuals. They do come with a lot of expectations and responsibilities for which you are not prepared. You are always wondering if you are doing the right thing or if your last decision will scar your child for life. Some people put a brave face on it and carry this stress by themselves. This is where you really need to overcome the embarrassment and talk to your friends that have already been through it. You are not facing anything not faced by others. Your second best option is to use the internet and find blogs like this one that provide helpful and proven advice about everything you are going through as a new mother. You don’t have to do this on your own.

Your friends are there for you. But if you cannot open up to them, call a professional. Don’t ignore the symptoms. And leverage the internet for the thing that it is best at doing. 

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