A question I’m frequently asked when presenting is “why I waited 15 years before seeking help?” This is a great question and to the outside observer, it could seems obvious that when dealing with a negative situation, one would seek help, but there are many factors that can lead to this happening, for me, it was the feelings of fear, embarrassment, and isolation.
Fear of telling others for what they might think if the knew my “dark secret.” Would I lose my friends, would my family be supportive or would they not want to deal with my issues.
Embarrassment from thinking that I could die when I understood that there was no real threat present. I believe this was compounded with being male and the gender role that guys are supposed to be strong, tough, and not show their emotions. This led to internal conflict and frustration because I knew I was living a lie, but was covering it up with another.
Isolation because I didn’t know anyone else facing a similar challenge and felt completely alone in the darkness of my thoughts, becoming a prisoner to my own mind. When a challenge is in the mind, it’s difficult because it cannot be escaped. If this was an external source of conflict, like a person or place, I could avoid them or tell them how I feel. When it’s in your mind, you can crowd your mind with thoughts to distract from the situation that’s holding you back, but this only leads to continuing the struggle and mental exhaustion from thoughts running continuously.
These are all secondary reasons, the main reason is that I had not connected with the right amount of pain. I had adapted to living this way and it was my “normal.” I needed the wake up call that would occur when I hit my bottom to drive a desire for change. When that happened, the thought of continuing to live this way pushed the fear of making a change to the background and the process of regaining control started. Hitting the darkness of bottom was difficult, yet brought a clarity of options, as I knew I wanted the pain to stop and was prepared to do whatever it took to achieve.
If you are struggling, ask yourself:
*Am I the only person struggling with this challenge?
*Where can I find information on this subject?
*What steps can I take right now to start the change?