Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Learning to Ask for Help

Humble.  That's how my counselor described me at my first session yesterday. We discussed many of the same things that I mentioned in a previous entry.

We talked about the losses of my great-aunt and great-grandma.  How I'm used to being the rock, the stronghold for friends and family.  How there is no one single "right" way of coping.  There are stages of grief and coping, but not everyone follows them.  He also discussed various methods of coping.

Another topic of discussion was how I feel as though I'm often the go-to CA.  If something needs done and it isn't being done, I take responsibility to get whatever that thing may be done.  Even my residence hall director has acknowledged this fact.  I told him how I do these things, more often than not, without being recognized for it.  The thing is, I don't like the attention that comes with things of that nature.  Just a simple 'thanks' is often all.  I don't like being put in the forefront or the spotlight.  It makes me uncomfortable to receive praise and thanks sometimes.  I think that some recognition is important though.  It shows people that you do care what they're doing.

My counselor also asked if I ask for help.  I thought this was an interesting question.  I wasn't quite sure how to answer it at first.  Then I realized something:  I hardly ask for help with anything.  I'm the person who people usually turn to, not the other way around (maybe that's why it took me a while to actually go to the counseling center in the first place).  I told him that if the need arises and I can't handle a situation alone, that's usually when I would ask for help, if at all.  Maybe it's the fear of being mocked, others thinking that I'm incapable of doing something alone, or something else altogether.  I'm not quite sure what it is.  I can be fiercely independent in some situations, and rely on others in various situations (which is often why I despise group work).  It's very situationally dependent.

We also discussed my family and friends.  I'm incredibly lucky to have a supportive family.  My parents have provided so much for me and my younger brother.  I'm very fortunate.  In terms of friends, it often feels like I have 2 different sets of friends:  I have those who I trust completely and am very open with, and those who I am not as close with.  Those closer friends are the ones I tell just about everything and trust them enough to not judge me and give me sound advice if I ask for it.  They're also the same people for whom my phone is always on and will answer any time of the day or night.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the friendship I have with the other people, but I am not as close to them as I am the others.

Although it seemed like the conversation jumped around a lot, I did express some things I hadn't before and it helped to discuss those issues.  Probably since I hadn't done so with another person, or if I had, it wasn't as in depth.  The last thing we discussed also connected to working as a CA and in student affairs.  He asked about my grad school interview in a few weeks and how I was feeling about that:  nervous.  Excited.  Scared.  Amazed.

We set another appointment for a few weeks from now (mostly because spring break is next week and he and I both have busy schedules).  And it'll be a few days after I have my interview.  He doesn't think I'm crazy, just that I'm beginning to realize that asking for help isn't a bad thing.  In fact, it's quite the opposite.  (He also told me that as a counselor, he has to remain partial and impartial.  But apparently that was difficult from the start because he, just like almost everyone else I've written something for, is amazed by my neat handwriting.  I can't tell you how many times I've been told it looks type-written.)

Interestingly enough, we also discovered that one of my dad's best friends from high school is my counselor's brother.  It really is a small world, with connections everywhere... You just have to learn to look for them.


  1. Glad that it's going well so far!

  2. Cary,

    You and I sound very similar. It's funny that our lives are running parallel with these counseling visits. I think it's wonderful we are both learning that, hey, it's okay to ask for help when we both need it. Hell, after being the 'rock' for basically everyone we've ever known, I think we deserve it. It's good karma.

    I hope you continue to blog about this experience, and I look forward to hanging out with you and Vic again after Spring Break!


    1. Shane, it is that. Asking for help is one thing that I've never been used to, but I think that making this change (though a slow process of being okay with asking for help and learning to) is going to be a good thing. And I agree - we definitely do deserve the help. I'm finally learning it's a good thing.

      I'll definitely be blogging about it more. Enjoy the rest of your break, and see you in a few days!