One Truth About Asking For Help

Welcome to all the new Orange Rhinos! I am so happy that you have found this Community! Before you read this post, you might want to read the following posts (hyper-linked by the way): {Sometimes} Marriage Makes Me Want to Yell, Oh Motherhood, Sometimes You Break My Heart, I Got Knocked Down, and Happy Days! While they are not necessary to get the point of this post, they might provide some key background info!

Dear Orange Rhinos,

As you all know, I have had no problem telling you all lots of my big “truths.”
There is the obvious first truth I shared about my yelling problem.
Then there were the truths about my struggles with my boys’ individual challenges.
Then there was the truth about the boulder in my marriage.
And of course along the way, I have shared indirectly about some of my challenges.

I have written about how I struggle with finding patience. I have written about how I struggle to keep my expectations of my boys, and myself, in check. I have written about how I struggle to let things go. I have written about how I struggle with my self-image, both from a weight perspective and an “am I a good enough” mom, wife, friend, person perspective.

I have always felt better after I wrote about my personal struggles, and then felt better yet after I found the courage to post them. Ironically, while writing hides my face and my voice, it has never once hidden my true emotions. Writing somehow always forces me to open up, to dig deeper, to figure out what is going on in my head, good or bad. Writing takes my “insanity” and makes it “clarity” to steal from a current song. Writing keeps me honest. Writing keeps me real. I can’t hide from myself when I write. The truth begs to be released from my mind and into my fingers once I sit down to the computer.

So what do I do when I sit down to write and am filled with fear because I don’t want to admit to the truth? (A) Write about my writing silence and that I am struggling but not be totally upfront. (B) Write that I am trying to get back up and write again. (C) Write that I am no longer knocked down, so to speak.

Answer? A, B, and C. I wrote about all of the above in two posts, Am I Good Enough? and Happy Days. I have to say, I have struggled with writing ever since the Happy Days post. I wrote that post to try and feel better. I wrote that post because I didn’t want anyone to think that I was still down. I wrote that post because I didn’t want to believe that I was still down. I wrote that post in hopes that it would make my insanity, clarity.

While that post was true, it also felt like a lie. Because I left so much out. Which I know is okay, but still, because my writing is my place where I am real, I felt like I was lying to me and well even to you. And I don’t like lying. It doesn’t feel good. And I especially don’t like lying to myself; that is perhaps even harder and more uncomfortable than telling the truth because the lie just festers and doesn’t stand a chance to be resolved.

I have learned many things during my journey to not yell; a big one has been that the more honest I am with myself about any personal struggles, the easier it is for me to take charge of them, instead of them taking charge of me and pushing me to yell.

But lately, the honesty hasn’t been so pretty and it has been taking charge of me.

I have been hiding from my struggles by not writing. I have been making sure that just about no one knew how I was really doing, myself included! All this hiding and not being totally honest with myself is simply creating a sense of stress that is unbearable; a sense of stress that makes it hard to be the mom, the person I want to be; a sense of stress that makes it so much more tempting to yell! When I have done the 30-days to yelling less challenge, I have asked people to own up, like really own up to the hard personal stuff so that it can be addressed and improved and not act as a catalyst for yelling. Perhaps I should take my own advice?

Um, yes, most definitely.

So tonight I will do just that. I promise that the next paragraphs will be hard, uncomfortable, embarrassing and risky. I guarantee that I will hit “post” and worry that I have again written a post that turns people off because I came across too negative and too down, but I need to share my truths because I can no longer sit with the personal lie. I need to embrace the truths that I am struggling with so that I can struggle less with staying calm with my beautiful boys.

The truth is, I have been having panic attacks for a few weeks now. This is new to me. I have never felt them before. A few times I have thought I was having a heart attack. One was so bad that I actually had my husband note what time it started. I didn’t realize what it was at the time; I thought I was just out of shape. I was wrong. I don’t like having panic attacks; I don’t like that my stress is so that I am having them either.

The truth is, I am constantly feeling overwhelmed and under pressure. Some of it is self-afflicted; some of it is the reality of my life right now. I am working on embracing the latter half, accepting that it is okay and normal to feel a wee bit overwhelmed as a mom at times and that it is normal to feel overwhelmed by the current big stressors in my life. I am also working on not being so hard on myself for feeling overwhelmed!

The truth is, I am exhausted. I am not just exhausted from my literal insomnia, but exhausted from working so hard in all three major pillars of my life at the same time: parenthood, marriage, and me-hood. I know many people will think, “well shoot, life isn’t supposed to be so hard, you are doing something wrong.” And I know many people will say, “well shoot, of course life can be hard, that is when the good stuff happens, you are doing something right.” And I am guessing that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. And I am also guessing that the answer will come in due time, that I just need to be patient.

The truth is, there are only so many days in a row that I feel comfortable saying, “Mommy is having a really hard day,” or “Mommy is really tired that’s why she is grumpy” or “Mommy is sorry that she is so cranky today.” I don’t want my boys growing up telling tales of a yelling mommy…and I also don’t want them growing up telling tales of a mommy who had a hard day, every day. 

The truth is, I love my boys.

I love my four little orange rhinos in the making…

The truth is, I love my boys so much that…I asked for help. Which really was NOT an easy thing for me to do. In fact, it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do short of going through what I am right now. I like to believe, no wanted to believe, that I could handle all this stress on my own. I wanted to believe that if I did everything I have learned about keeping myself calm over the last 450+ days that I could get out of this funk. But it wasn’t working; NOT because what I learned was wrong, but because sometimes, I need to ask for help.

Two weeks ago I went to see a doctor to help with my newfound anxiety and insomnia. I am pleased to report that I am happily sleeping again and am starting to feel better.

Which I guess brings me to three other really important lessons I learned in my journey to yell less: I can’t do everything on my own, trying to do so will just stress me out and push me to yell, and most importantly, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. 


*If you liked this post, you might also like…Truth or Dare 

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44 thoughts on “One Truth About Asking For Help

  1. Thanks for sharing so many of us feel like we need to be perfect or hide how we feel. I yelled and raged and wondered what was wrong with me. I knew when it would happen about 10 to 12 days before my period. I was horrible to my other half and yelled at my children. Little things would set me off. I went to the dr finally he diagnosised me with pmdd not very many people understand it. He put me on medication and I can say I do not yell anymore I play with them and I never want to see that frightened look in their face again for screaming at them. I hope in a few months I can wean off the medicine but if I can’t I am okay with that!!

  2. I was unsure about sharing with you or not, i don’t want you or me to feel like i’m advertising my blog. it’s more just a place for me to practise writing. but when i read this today, it made me think of this post, and how hard it was for me then to ask for help. It’s still hard, and now with #3 on the way i’m worried i’ll wait too long again to ask for help. thank you for your openess, and here is some of my own openess so you know you aren’t alone in not wanting to ask for help. I’m glad you’re doing better!

  3. I hope you know what an incredible blessing your honesty is to other moms! I too believe if we were more authentic with each other about our struggles we could all help one another. Your site is really making an impact on other moms! Thank you so much for having the courage to admit your struggles and to help us all see that we are not alone. That is the first step in healing – knowing we are not alone. Thank you so much – I feel encouraged and feel like ” I can do this – I can stop the yelling and enjoy my children”!

  4. I am just so relieved I am not the only mom who feels this way… Thank you for being so open so that us other mamas have support.

  5. I am so glad you posted this, and even more glad that you got help when you needed it. Panic attacks are not normal, but you can reach a point where they are. I was in college when I finally learned that it wasn’t normal to have 3-5 incidents a day, ranging from being cut off in traffic to thinking I might be late for work, that left me feeling like I’d had a heart attack. Turned out I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder and had to be medicated. Then I went to therapy to learn how to change my thinking and take control of the thought process I’d gotten so used to that brought on the panic attacks. It’s a slow process, changing your thinking, but that’s the rut in your brain, the route the sparks in your brain are used to taking and you can redirect them. Also, getting help now help prevent what ultimately happened to me — the anxiety lessened, but it had gone on so long that I had done a really number on how I thought about myself and evened up being pulled out of school to treat severe depression.
    Treat the anxiety, and look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy — it’s not talk therapy forever, it has an end point and a goal: to teach you to analyze your thoughts and feelings, to challenge the assumptions that make you panic or beat yourself up, and to “correct” them. Eventually you learn how to stop the panic or rage in its tracks by learning to recognize it as it comes. Even more, you learn to recognize situations that set you off and talk yourself through them. Then, once you can do it on your own, you leave therapy.
    It’s an exercise you will go through every day for the rest of your life, and learning to do it in the beginning is exhausting — but once you get it, you can keep working at it on your own and it will get easier and easier to change your instinctual reaction from panic to “slow down. Yelling won’t do anything but make me feel like crap. What are my options: let the kids be wild animals for a few minutes so I can do X, redirect them, etc”. You will never be perfect, but the best thing you can learn is afterwards, what happened, where did it go crazy and make you feel crazy, what might you do in the future. Eventually you learn how to do this on the front end and not after the blowup.

    I’ll come down off my soap box now, but I’m proud of you for getting help, in whatever form it was, just remember that your fears are real and valid, but there are better ways to confront those fears and still be nice to yourself. Obviously, I’ve been there. And it sucked. I’m 8 years in “remission” and I am constantly amazed that life doesn’t have to be as hard as I was making it. Life is actually fun. Good luck.

  6. Hello, dear Orange Rhino (or as I called you last night while laying in bed thinking how wonderful you are, OR):

    I just love everything you write. I just love this post, and have to admit that I wish I had written it myself. Thank you! I feel encouraged every day to work harder, dig deeper, and not be ashamed or dismayed too terribly by what I find hidden under the rug.

    Wishing you well on this day of our mutual challenge.

    Love, Robin

  7. Well hello soul sister! You reminded me of myself a few years ago. I was having panic attacks daily and finding it hard to get through the day. Anxiety can also make you very irritable. I am so glad you sought help. I, myself, found it very hard to share this when I was going through it. I was so embarrassed. I no longer feel this way and niether should you! The more I have shared my personal struggles with others the more I have found almost everyone has had a bought with anxiety at one time or another-it’s more normal than not normal. I have been on medication for about 8 years now and doing wonderful. I feel like it saved my life! I beat myself up at first but I have finally come to accept myself. This is just who I am. If I had diabetes I would not beat myself up for taking insulin. So I am not going to beat myself up since I need medication to produce more seratonin. So proud of your courage and I am on day 4 of your no yelling challenge. So glad I found your blog. It has made the no yelling thing be on the top of my mind-making it easier to catch myself when I want to yell. Hope you feel better soon and that my words helped you know that you are not alone with your anxiety issues either 🙂

  8. I was wondering if you are taking enough magnesium (around 600 mg a day)? Was reading a book about it and it mentioned that it helped people get rid of their panic attacks. Going through very stressful times depletes our storage of magnesium, and so taking more supplements or eating more magnesium-rich foods is needed. Just my two cents worth…

  9. Thank you so much for your post! I really feel like God directed me to read this tonight, but I have been yelling so much that I am still on DAY 1 after 2 weeks! I, too, suffer from panic attacks and I know how scary they can be. Thank you so much for your healing honesty!

  10. Just to say thank you for your post and for the whole Orange Rhino site. Telling the truth is vital to our own health and to the health of the people hearing us — it helps them tell the truth too. Big virtual hugs to you — tough times DO end.

  11. Great post! I have a 2 year old and haven’t really had the yelling happen yet, but I can’t wait to try this challenge as he grows. I just wanted to tell you how brave you are for sharing about your panic attacks! I, too, have them. I started having them right out of college and they were managed very well with medicine. Once we wanted to start trying for kid #2 my OB suggested I stop taking my meds {which I was on throughout pregnancy #1}. I was feeling good and slowly weened myself off only to have my whole world come crashing down in November…grandfather’s death, moving, Christmas, and an 18 month old sent my back into panic attacks. It was hard to ask for help, but my psych and therapist are awesome and finally 6 months later of trial and error of meds I am feeling better. It is hard…motherhood is hard…both are harder! Keep up the good work:) and know you are SO not alone!

  12. I am new to your blog, and have spent the last 2 hours reading. We are strangers, but you inspire me and are close in my heart. Thank you for your raw honesty, I hope you know that you made a difference in my life today and hopefully for days to come. Tonight, I started to get frustrated and raise my voice…I stopped.

    Thank you

  13. I struggle daily with the urg to yell and assert my control.
    To date the only two things that help are :
    Repeating the phrase “let it go” and B vitamins.

    The hard part is that life gets crazy busy and we fall back into our old habits and then out pops the mean face.

    I like the idea of forgiving our shortcomings cuz sometimes I think that I have failed somehow when I respond with yelling – this makes me feel weak and out of control which in turn makes me feel like yelling more.

    This week : let go; b vitamins ; be easy on yourself.

  14. I just came across your beautifully honest blog! Your authentic expression of the events and emotions of your life is absolutely refreshing! It shows your integrity of character that you were willing to ask for help and intuitively knew that it was what you needed!

    I struggled with insomnia and anxiety for years and finally have it under control. I can’t even imagine how I survived when my beautiful boys were young! My symptoms worsened as I moved into my mid-forties and thankfully my doctor was able to identify my hormonal challenges and help me without hormone-replacement therapy (but if anyone out there can’t survive without it, I completely understand)!

    You create a space where you are honest and your fortunate readers can be honest in return!

    WIth immense gratitude, Cate Pane

  15. Thank you for inspiring me and letting me know I am not the only mom struggling with this. Day three no yelling, I have completely surrendered myself to not yell at my children and love them more. It has already changed my relationship with my family, my husband included. You actually changed my brain, I even think I heard it click. Thank you so, so much. I wish I could give you the biggest hug. If you ever need anything you will always have a friend in me.

  16. Obvioulsy, Thank you for your honesty. While there are moms who don’t struggle with yelling and being stressed by everyday events like spilled milk there are those who do. I unfortunately do strive for perfection and kill myself to keep my house clean, organized and my children so presentable etc, etc etc…. If my need to maintain so much control is the reason for so much of my anger/frustration I would love to let go of it all! I truly can’t do it by myself.. It would be so beneficial to describe who you sought for help? Family physician, psychiatrist or a specific counselor?

  17. I just wanted to thank you. I just discovered your page today. I needed it, desperately. Thank you. I began my journey today, and made it through day 1 without yelling. I started an anonymous blog to track my thoughts and feelings.
    Its nothing special, more like a public diary than anything else. But its from my heart.

  18. I have wondered some of these same things and applaud you for sharing the gritty details that so many of us experience.

  19. I’m glad that you’re getting the help you need. There is NO SHAME in that.

    A REALLY great book that can help you with anxiety has the dorkiest name but is so worth the time and effort. “The Feeling Good Handbook” by David Burns. Great to do alone or with a therapist. As helpful if not MORE helpful than medication. Helps with LOTS of stuff.

    I struggle with yelling, with feeling awful about not connecting with my kids enough, with being so damn tired all the time because I work three jobs and have a house to maintain along with two VERY active boys. And then I cut myself a break, because I am a good person and I am doing the best I can do. And I look for small ways to enjoy life more, little steps to take care of me like running a 5k once a year and having a glass of wine some nights, and delving into some deliciously good, thought provoking blogs like yours 🙂

  20. I just found your site and I must say that your post mirrors exactly what I am going through at this moment. I reached out for help two weeks ago. Know you aren’t alone. If more of us would be open, maybe we wouldn’t feel that pressure to be so strong. I’m looking forward to following your journey.

  21. Wow…you hit home with this post. I’m thinking of seeking professional help coz this ryear has been really tough! Trying to be perfect and succeeding in nothing….i’m really ashamed to say that yesterday my lo couldn’t nap and i slammed his pushchair so hard while trying to rock him to sleep that he couldn’t stop crying:-( needless so say i felt like s*** and still feel bad about it. Not having much of metal support is getting to me and with exams, work, husband and most importantly my little man,i’m feeling like i’m losing it!

    • There is support. Reach out (easier said than done, I know). Trust that your struggles with be heard and validated. It can get better!

  22. Hi, I have enjoyed your posts and wish I had found the courage/help to stop yelling much sooner than I did. I want to tell you that you are awfully hard on yourself. You are in a place now with 4 small boys that most people would not take on. I have two boys, now 7 and 10, both on the seriously active end of the spectrum. I am here to tell you that this stage passes. You will find time again for yourself, the boys will calm down, they will start doing things to help you. And because you have figured out how to calm yourself down and be more patient, their kindnesses and help will be so sweet. My boys spent all week with me last week while I organized my church yard sale. Even though we were together (near each other, but not really interacting) they missed my company during the day (they homeschool). One evening as I lay sprawled on the couch, they joined me, kibutzing on the computer game I was playing, touching my hair, telling me things. Then they started rubbing my legs and feet. Oh what joy! I resisted anti-depressants for a long time, but when I started on them my yelling was cut by 85%. I have decided that it is totally worth taking the meds if it prevents me from destroying the relationship with the boys. Two years later I added talk therapy and the combination has helped so much. You are on a good path, laying a good foundation. Hang in there, you’re boys are small, some of you will get put to the side, but it will still be there and you’ll be able to awaken it.

  23. OR I think often strong women who inspire others have a hard time admitting they too are not strong all the time. We want to always be the beacon for our friends and readers, we don’t want to let them down, we don’t want to let ourselves down. But the truth is, as you know, asking for help is sometimes a greater show of strength, because it takes bravery, self acceptance, and trust. It also sets a good example to those we try to inspire, because really, if they came to us with the struggles we hide we’d give them the exact advice we sometimes cannot take ourselves. There is zero shame in help. Knowing your weaknesses and seeking assistance is perfectly acceptable in my workplace, I try to remember it is perfectly acceptable in my “life” too. Hugs, and once again I’m so grateful for your words this morning. Rock on OR!

    • I love what you say here about setting a good example for our children when we ask for help ….. if we want them to come to us with their struggles, we need to show them how to ask for help when WE are struggling. It is so very brave to share these truths with the world, but know that you’ve inspired so much good for others, and allowed us to speak our own truths on the road to yelling less and loving more! Thank you!

  24. Amazing post!!! You are human, I am human, we are all human! I had similar panic attacks! One day when I was working from home with my twins (my car was in the shop) I got so overwhelmed I could hardly breath!! I called my co worker and begged her, I mean begged her to come pick up me and my boys so they could go to pre school and I too work! I couldn’t stop crying all of the time and I too seemed help. I still have anxiety though… I still feel like I need to call Supernanny because I feel like I am raising wild animals!!!! Seriously, I cannot take my 4 year old twin boys to a store without them being awful!! I love my boys, but I am whipped out!!

  25. Thank you so much for this post OR! Your strength and courage to write posts like these force us all to look within ourselves. The view isn’t always nice, but it’s real! We all need help from time to time. You’re right! How can we be the best Mommy we can be if the person we are isn’t at our best and healthiest (both physically and mentally)? Wishing you strength as you work through this…

  26. Orange Rhino – IT feels & sounds like we are living parallel lives. I too have A LOT of stress with my marriage. We are doing what we can to fix it. But there are days I think ” THIS – this marriage CAN NOT be fixed it is impossible” Just like on some days I think “tTHIS – this yelling thing CAN NOT be fixed it is impossible”
    And yet I still wake up with that tiny sliver of hope that “TODAY will be different, like a GOOD different.”
    I wrote on my bathroom mirror today in dry erase marker “Yell Less, Love More”. I have a chalkboard in my bed room I wrote in orange colored chalk “Yell Less, Love More.”
    So tonight as I was leaving to come to work. YES – I work at night! ( Thats a real test of patience & not yelling when I am TOTALLY exhausted from work ) #1 noticed that I wrote on the mirror. “Why did you write that mommy?” me- ” Because the Orange Rhino is teaching me to be a better mommy & to (we chanted to together – such a sweet moment btw) Yell Less, Love More”
    #1 – “I like Orange Rhino”
    me – “me too.”

    So I love that you wrote about this – I will be more focused on the “why? I am yelling”. thanks for everything KEEP writing. It is not only healing to you BUT healing for others.

  27. This is so timely today that I had to comment. Today I let go of my pride and blogged honestly about my true situation at home. I had to ask for help from more than just my family and friends. It’s scary to feel like you’ll be judged, but as long as it’s best for you and your family, then asking for help shouldn’t be shameful. Easier said than done, and said by a person who struggles daily to ask for help.

    Good for you for recognizing your needs and getting help sooner rather than later! Panic attacks are scary as all get out.

  28. So very proud to call you my friend. I salute you for offering your truths because in doing so, you allowed someone else to offer theirs. I salute you for asking for help. Why is it so hard for us? I don’t know, but knowing you did helps someone else know they can too. Thank you. Just thank you for being real. For being you.

  29. TOR: Thank you so much for being truthful. Your bravery will be felt and understood by so many. Don’t regret this post, for one second. Take care of yourself.

  30. Thank you for your honesty! I too have struggles where I feel bad for my kids. Motherhood is not at all what I thought it would be. I thought moms were supposed to be happy and joyful all the time. I struggled with infertility and I thought if I get babies then all will be right in my world….um no. I love my kids so much and also want them to remember a happy mommy who loved them and played with them:( Thank u because I have hope when I feel I am not alone. I love my boys and I am a good momma but the truth is that it’s hard sometimes..

  31. Thanks for your post! My mom always says sometimes we need a little extra help and I am just now starting to ask for it. I know how hard it is to ask for help. I feel weak and less than the perfect wife, mom, person I know I am suppose to be. RIGHT!?! However, when I try so hard to be that perfect person Life likes to slap me in the face and give me a wakeup call. Great job for asking for help and getting it! Maybe I should take your lead!?! Sleep well OR!!

  32. I just recently found your blog and started following you on fb. I am a yeller and hate it. I am planning on starting the challenge next week. However I felt compelled to comment on this just to say you are not alone. I too struggle with anxiety and depression. Talking to a doctor about it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do but possibly the best thing I could have done. My panic attacks were so bad I had trouble leaving my house. They ate under control now even though I hate taking a daily medicine. I tried taking myself off my meds a few months ago and my attacks came back worse than before. Big no no there! I am glad you got some help. Hugs!

  33. Thank you for being brave enough to ask. That’s one of the hardest steps of all.

    And how wonderful that the help was there.

    It’s harder when you try to ask one whom you think can help and they throw it back in your face.

    So I’m glad your asking turned out differently from mine.

    I’m also glad that my help was eventually found!

  34. I am a new reader. I too struggle with yelling and rage. My story is like many others. My mom was under a lot of pressure as a “single parent” and let her stress get the better of her and took it our on us by yelling and raging. I am following straight down her path. Yay! And I can already see my girls trailing not far behind me. Even my 5 month old looks at me with eyes that say, “wow, I can tell mommy is NOT having a very good day today.” and my tone and voice is already registering in her tiny little brain to recognize my feelings through said tone/voice. The guilt when I look into eyes like that is THE ULTIMATE WORST!! I am very interested in learning more about Orange Rhino (don’t even know what exactly it means…must do research).

    But I am writing to you to ask this: Do you think that much of your anxiety and stress is a result from all the pressure you have put on yourself NOT to yell? The thought crossed my mind bc man, it’s hard not to give way to the feeling of anger, of rage and heck- you’ve done it for over 365 days, so what do I know? But, maybe cutting yourself some slack would help. Yelling is something that, although not pretty, nor fun, happens. I think it’s so so so so great that you are aware of your struggles. I strive to be this way too. But along with that, maybe balance it a little more with allowing yourself some relief by cutting yourself some slack, even if you do slip up and yell. We aren’t perfect. You aren’t perfect. Striving to be, especially in this internet and information-laden day and age, only makes it super super tough on you when you “fail”.

    I don’t really know what I’m talking about, just an outsider looking in. Maybe I have non-biased eyes…? What’s funny is 15-20 yrs from now, your boys memories may be completely different (and even better) than what you at this point in time think they will remember about you, and their childhood. Take care. You are awesome and are doing a really awesome job. 🙂

    • While I understand what you’re saying, I’ve found not yelling to bring more calm to my life which seems to have an exponential affect on my mood. If I do yell, it puts me in a bad frame of mind and I then feel anger, guilt, sadness, frustration, etc. If I don’t yell, while I may feel I’m suppressing my natural reaction which takes SO much effort, I then feel empowered, proud, relieved, happy, in control. Just my experience.

  35. I am wondering what kind of help your doctor was able to give you. I am currently nursing my 3 month old, & medication is not an option.

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