Hey there @eagertuna0,
Thank you so much for posting here. I know it can be very challenging to ask for help, especially when you are more used to give it instead. I wanted to say at first that none of what you share, none of what you are going through or struggle with will ever change the way we see you here. You are and will always be this incredibly loving, caring, generous human being. Being vulnerable today is a gift to those who are willing to do life with you, to walk alongside you, no matter what the obstacles in front of us are.
Reading your post and title, I feel like you already know some of the answers to your questions, indeed. It can be frustrating to be told things we already know, so please know I’m really not trying to “teach” anything – whatever is said in this response comes only from a place of care, which goes along with respecting your own agency. You’ve had a lot of thoughts already regarding all of this, without any doubt. Sometimes though we need this extra step of asking and receiving some external validation in order to initiate a process of acceptance. We need to hear that things are going to be okay. And it will, friend.
You’ve mentioned in your title that you are struggling to understand if you need help, but I believe you’ve actually written the real question in your point 2:
I can’t bring myself to believe that I deserve of any kind of help.
Here it’s less about needing than deserving, and this very idea of deserving help or not can be very difficult to wrap our mind around. What I hear in your first point is that your mind is throwing some excuses at you to not accept that you are deserving of help just like anyone else. The comparison game, the temptation of self-deprecating yourself for using unwanted coping mechanisms as well. If you’ve been self-reliant for the most part throughout your life, if you’re more used to give than to receive, then it makes absolutely sense to wonder if you should just “get better” at dealing with the urges, and overall with the times when life gets difficult. You want to rely on your own strength as you’ve been used to, which is a very noble goal to pursue. But maybe part of healing for you would actually be to learn to welcome some more help in your life too?
An indicator to find your answers could be to ask yourself how you feel when you ask for help. For example just like with this post: are you tempted to get over it quickly? To reassure people who respond to you that things are not too bad and you can handle it? Do you feel like, when you’re having a rough time and think “I need help”, you bounce back quickly afterwards thinking that it wasn’t that terrible and you can do it all by yourself? This in particular has been my own relation with therapy over the years. Hitting rock bottom, falling back into some unhealthy coping mechanism, but having enough of a break down to feel like being able to start writing on a blank page again the days after. And my conclusion when I feel a little better is that I don’t need help, actually, or at least not to that level. But man this has made me lose so much time.
You may need to have a look at these cycles from a long-term perspective and not based on immediate thoughts or emotions. Has it been part of your life for a long time? Do you feel like you tend to go through the same cycles (the: “tomorrow I’ll do better!” type of thinking)? But even more: do you feel like these habits are keeping you behind in life? That it is preventing you to fully be the person you aspire to be? To quote your post again:
so I guess the core of the question is about if I just need to individually get better at suppressing these urges, or if some kind of help can actually make a difference here
I believe the core of the question is: do you want to keep trying by yourself? Also: have you ever added some more help into your life? I imagine you already have in mind which type of help you’re referring to, assuming it’s professional help, the question is: what would you lose for trying something new? For actually implementing something in your life that you may have not accepted before.
Maybe you were not ready before, and that is absolutely okay. It sounds though that, right now, there is this strong intuition within that you’d like to listen to. It’s just scary, and honestly I get it. You explain it so very well in your point 3. Although it would be a profound injustice to prevent yourself to get some extra help because of fear. You deserve help, just like every other person that you encourage.
You don’t need to be at an extreme, low point, in order to seek help. You don’t need to hit complete rock bottom in order for your struggles to be valid. Heck I’ll see a new therapist tomorrow after hesitating for months, and even though I know/feel like I need help, I have no freaking idea what I’m going to say when she’ll ask “why are you here?”! But it’s okay. It’s actually better to prevent than cure, especially when it’s about our mental health. I’ve personally always lived out of fears and it has made me lose so many opportunities in my life, including in terms of healing. As a recovering self-reliant person, I can only encourage you to seek help whenever you start questioning this possibility just because it doesn’t hurt and there are so many barriers that we put before it that don’t need to be. The very fact that you do consider it is already saying something about your needs. Everything that follows is about feeling ready for it and challenging your fears with enough grace for yourself at the same time.
The perspective of December becoming a life-changing event that could be very positive in your life is also something to be careful with. Not saying it won’t be an important transition in your life of course, but it’s important to try not to put all of our hopes into one life change like this. Coping mechanisms and addictions especially are about habits that are not necessarily circumstantial, but the result of how we’ve learned to cope with specific emotions. The way this current situation with your position is affecting you is obviously massive. However, you will keep facing adverse times in the future, just because that’s how life is. We are meant to face unexpected events, unexpected stressors, and learning to cope with it is less about the nature of the events than the way we deal with it. And truth be told, sometimes we actually learn that over and over because the circumstances feel very new, very unique to us.
All of this to say… I’d encourage you to be careful with the thought that one massive change could heal everything. I personally fell into this trap over and over again (last one to this date: thought having a job again would be THE remedy, turns out it doesn’t of course). While being in a healthy environment is essential for your healing, there may still be underlying habits, associations of emotions=>actions that need to be unlearned, little by little, and replaced by other ways to cope. It requires most of the time some deeper work. Using a house analogy, if you are in a place with mold and humidity, you can change the decoration all around, paint the walls and move the furniture to feel a sense of rebirth, of renew. But if the foundations are not properly repaired and the walls isolated then the mold is just going to appear progressively again.
You deserve to be helped, 1000%, especially if the thought keeps crossing your mind and eventually being more present. Reading your topic, I feel like you’re in this process of accepting this possibility more and more. But the closer we get to this decision, the scariest it gets. Suddenly it becomes more real, more visible, and our mind rushes with this flow of doubts, fears, “what if?” and all kinds of disguised invalidation. You are deserving of help and if you consider talking to your GP, the worst that could happen is that they wouldn’t be receptive or understand your needs, but YOU would have proven to yourself that you are capable of asking for help in this more formal setup. It would give you even more strength and the knowledge that there is, indeed, no shame or hurt to ask for help to a professional who would be in front of you. It would be awkward! Uncomfortable for sure. But once you’re okay with trying to ride this wave of discomfort, you can be sure that some really positive outcomes could appear over time. You deserve to give yourself the chance to try, just because it could make some difference in your life, even if you don’t know yet how it could be.