The Great Barriers (and breaking them down)
There is a stigma about therapy and counseling: If you go to therapy, you're obviously really messed up and a nut; You're unstable and crazy; You're weak. The issue with all of these ideas is that they are completely wrong. People are ashamed to admit they are getting help and seeing a therapist because of shame and embarrassment they may receive from family and friends. It's time to break down that wall. Getting help is never something to be ashamed of.
Going to therapy and seeing a counselor doesn't mean you're crazy or that you're weak. In fact, it means the opposite. It means that you are in tune with yourself to know you need, or want, professional help to get through a tough time. Maybe you have bad anxiety, maybe you just got divorced, maybe you just had a baby, maybe you experienced the loss of a loved one. Big, life-changing events can trigger emotions differently in everyone, and dealing with those emotions can be hard. Trying to handle a life-altering event is like navigating uncharted waters. It's damn near impossible to do it alone.
Check Your Pride at the Door
They say it takes a village. It's true. And that village doesn't just mean family and friends. It can mean doctors, therapists, counselors... anyone who helps you get through life without crashing and burning. Getting help doesn't mean you are too weak to handle your problems, it just means you are strong enough to realize you can't do it all. It's unrealistic to assume you can handle every little thing thrown your way. Eventually, you'll need help. You'll need to put your pride aside and ask for help. Showing vulnerability is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a part of being human.
Let's get one thing straight: being prideful is very different than taking pride in something. Taking pride in something you accomplish or something you create is a great. You can be proud of yourself! It's healthy to be proud of things we do and goals we achieve. But being prideful can be detrimental to your health and your relationships. Your ego is much stronger than you may realize, so whereas being arrogant, being haughty, and having "holier-than-thou" attitude may be easier than facing your problems, it's only going to make your problems worse.
I'll admit that it is easy to be arrogant and disdainful when life gets rough - passing the blame, looking down on others to mask the fact that you are miserable. Easier than taking responsibility and facing the facts.
Parenting is no place for an ego. If you just a baby and your life has turned upside down and sideways (no thanks to the lack of sleep and smell of dirty diapers), and being prideful will only damage your relationship with your S/O and baby. Babies sense stress and anxiety and emotion so it is in their best interest to have help and not be ashamed to ask for help. You don't have to do it alone. Take your mom up on her offer to watch the baby one afternoon so you can sleep. Let your friends comes over and bring dinner so you don't have to cook. Enjoy the help. Enjoy the company and adult conversations. Enjoy a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. It's not being selfish. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of a baby.
Use Your Words
Studies have shown that talking through your problems is a natural way to help understand things. “We’re social creatures, fundamentally, so talking to people can be a real source of support and help,” says Dr. Speigel of Stanford University. “But it won’t happen if you don’t give it a try.”
Talking with a professional can be useful for so many reasons, because they are trained to help you work cognitively and interpersonally to sort out issues. Sometimes having someone coach you through a conversation with yourself is all you need to realize the stressors in your life or understand your circumstances. Part of what a therapist does is take your emotions, words, and feelings, and relay them back to you, in a way you can comprehend, and offer insight on how others may see you.
Some people think that talking about your problems is discomforting, and yes, it is often like a trip to the dentist. It is uncomfortable and sometimes it can hurt. But knowing your tooth will get fixed and the pain will end is a satisfying end result. Much like talking through your emotions can hurt and even be embarrassing, getting your feelings out to someone who is comforting and nonjudgemental can help you in the long run.
By talking with a therapist or counselor, you have the ability to work out problems in a way that you never have before. They ask you questions that stem into a deeper conversation with yourself. By looking inward, you may find a strength or goal you never knew you possessed. During sessions, therapists often used CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented treatment that takes a hands-on approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind our difficulties, and so change the way we feel.
Another technique therapists may use is to teach mindfulness. Mindfulness is a way of being that all of us can learn and it can help us learn to let go of stress, worries, and negative thinking. Most importantly, it can give our bodies a break from all the external factors that may be weighing you down. Rooted in Buddhism, mindfulness is simply the act of being in the present moment and learning to do that on purpose.
By giving your pain, your emotions, your issues a voice, a tremendous weight will be lifted off your shoulders.
There is nothing to be ashamed of if you're seeking help or advice or a listening ear. Talk about it. Be willing to open up to someone. And never let anyone make you feel bad about getting the help you deserve.