Asking for Help

chemistry%20labThough I took all Honors/AP classes in high school and did really well at nearly all of them, I found out the hard way I simply wasn’t cut out for Honors Chemistry … and probably should have cut my losses instead of pushing myself through the class.

But, being stubborn and not being one to easily accept that I’m not good at something … I finished the class.

Our teacher, Mrs. Gantz, used to tell us (her “Chem Wizards”) that we were “sucking wind” when we didn’t get something but thought we did/pretended to, to avoid embarassment … and then flunked a quiz or exam.

This happened a lot with me; I’d study like mad, I’d think I knew the material … and then suddenly would find myself battering test anxiety, discovering I couldn’t balance chemical reactions and was just kidding myself. I was always more interested in reading/writing/history than science, and it showed.Mrs. Gantz was a tough cookie, and though a lot of us struggled in her class (and we were the “smart kids”!), we all loved her infectious personality, which made class and lab interesting to say the least. I definitely didn’t want to drop it.

Still, there was “no way”  (yes: I was all-or-nothing back then, too) I’d accept doing poorly in school, and, fun as it was most of the time (the non-quiz/test time), this class was my Achilles’ heel junior year of high school. 

Sensing a lot of us were having trouble with the material, early in the year she created an after-school extra-help session twice a week. Since many of us were athletes or involved in other activities, she (smartly) planned it for after school but before sports/theater/band practices so it wouldn’t conflict.

I admit, I was a little embarassed to admit I needed the extra help … but I knew it was necessary.

So I put away my pride and joined the rest of us “smart kids” who just didn’t get it the first time around and needed a little nurturing .

With the extra help, I earned a respectable B in her class. 

I learned that sometimes, it does take a village.

And I learned that asking for help can be challenging, but it is necessary at times.

Sometimes we’re better off taking a step back and not “trying” so hard (i.e., in terms of finding love, strengthening friendships/relationships, maybe even you could argue that goes for weight loss, too) … but other times we really need to step up to the plate and actively seek help.

For me, that chem class I had a love/hate relationship with was the first time I actively sought academic help.  And it wasn’t the end of the world. I ended up getting a good grade, and, more importantly, had a good grasp on the material (not that I’d ever use it again!) by the time the school year ended.

Many years later, when I wanted to lose weight at age 24, I sought help with Weight Watchers Online. Using the program’s guidelines and my own dedication, I ended up losing 35 lbs.

And when it came to my DE recovery, I reached outside my comfort zone and sought professional help last year (in the form of talk therapy).  Therapy ended in March. While I haven’t concluded this chapter quite yet and can’t say if  it was a definitive “success,” I know that although the decision to start therapy wasn’t an easy one, it was the right one. It taught me so much about myself and my anxious nature, and helped me understand that I use food/exercise to cope with emotions/anxiety.

And now, in 2009, I’m at the final frontier of sorts, seeking help in other ways to overcome emotional/mindless eating, via reading about intuitive eating and trying to get a handle on things, since I feel like I’ve been sucking wind lately, to quote Mrs. Gantz.

Recovery comes at a cost, and I’m aware of that. I’ve said before, these extra pounds are worth getting over some unhealthy, ugly behaviors.

But though I haven’t chewed/spit since March, I’m not out of the woods yet, in that I’m still not 100% there when it comes to my relationship with food, as I noted last night. And so I’m willing to seek out whatever help I need to in order to get there, even if it’s in baby steps.

Because truly, there’s no shame in it.

How about you? Have you asked for help lately? Does asking for help (in any area of your life) scare you?


10 thoughts on “Asking for Help

  1. WIth life in general, I normally have no issues with asking for help. But with eating issues, it has sort of been a different story. I’m really cautious about who I confide in, and what I discuss, and how that reflects on me. I think it’s such a sensitive subject that asking for help takes on a whole new dimision.
    Great post, though. It’s a nice reminder that it’s ok to ask 🙂

  2. I can definitely relate. I also experience perfectionist tendencies (in some areas, not all…eg. I am rigid with schoolwork but not so much in the cleaning department hehe) and I definitely have anxiety ….sometimes even panic and irrational fears. I also relate to not wanting to ask for help sometimes. To me, it shows “weakness” and for some reason, I feel like I have “something” to prove–that I’m strong and can handle anything. While this notion is unrealistic, it’s a feeling I’ve been harboring all my life. Perhaps due to being overweight, I feel like I have to compensate in other areas? Well anyway, thanks for the good post…’s helpful to know I’m not the only one going through this. On another note, you definitely mask your anxious personality very well in your writing on here because you come off as a calm, collected, and totally rational woman!

    1. Lorrie, I am that way, too — rigid about some things, but not others. and thank you … believe me, in real life, I think it’s obvious I’m an anxious person, but if I can mask it well here — that rocks 🙂 I think because I talk through my thoughts (via blog) it helps me sound more rational than I actually am, if that makes any sense at all 🙂

  3. I DEFINITELY have a hard time asking for help. I would love for people to think I’m truly very independent and can solve/do everything on my own, but obviously it’s not true – especially since I bought my house! 🙂

    I think it’s more that I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. But, I am learning that if you DON’T ask for help, it can leave you in trouble and you have to ask for even MORE help! So it’s getting easier for me.

  4. Congrats on that awesome level of self-sufficiency, Holly!! Seriously, that’s awesome! A house is a huge burden/labor of love …needing help with it is as expected as paying the mortgage 😉

    Exactly — it’s better to just do it up front.

  5. this came at a perfect time for me. through no fault but my own i got myself into a financial jam. i’m absolutely broke. i tried to live on own without saving money (crazy decision)…and without having a full-time job (dumb decision).

    this whole summer i had friends around me but keep quiet about my struggles. i ended up having to move back with my parents and due to embarassment i didn’t tell my friends. i was so lonely and still struggling to find a job back home.

    once i reached out to my friends (a few days ago) they all showed me so much love. one (my mentor) has offered me a VISTA position and a place to stay.

    so yeah i def need to practice asking for help. my friends are there for me and i should be there for my friends.

  6. After the biggest failure of my life, and being in a tight knit community, I saw how asking for help validates something sacred in others as well. First, I LOVE to help people, and it is a bonding thing. So I don’t mind asking for help now. I call people when in a funk, I ask to borrow things, or ask for validation or support.
    But that doesn’t mean I am any less perfectionistic….with the rules I’ve established for myself.

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