Asking for Help

A friend of mine shared a poll on social media earlier this week. It was a simple yes-or-no question.

“Do you find it difficult to ask for help?”

My initial response was to vote “no.” I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and make my thoughts, feelings and opinions known. I’m not one to keep my needs and dissatisfactions to myself.

But the question kept floating to the surface of my thoughts all week. I got less and less confident in my answer. Has my mental health improved or deteriorated during the pandemic? Definitely the latter. Have I taken additional steps to address that deterioration? Not particularly. Managing mental illness has been part of my life since a decade before anyone had heard of COVID-19, but can that routine really be relied on when daily life is anything but routine?

This week’s issue of The Uniter helped alleviate some of my angst around the poll question. Even if many people find it difficult to ask for help, one silver lining of this difficult moment is that people and organizations are making it easier to find help when you’re ready to ask.

Staff photographer Callie Lugosi’s catalogue of local 2SLGBTQIA+ resources is a great starting point for people from some of Winnipeg’s most marginalized communities to reach out. Local initiatives like free plant giveaways or pushes for the creation of a Seniors Advocate in Manitoba are also created with the express intent of making life less fraught.

Will a free plant or an inclusive sports league save anyone’s life? Probably not. But they are, in their way, a form of help.

Published in Volume 75, Number 04 of The Uniter (October 1, 2020)

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