It’s Ok To Ask For Help

Asking for HELP
  Reading time 5 minutes

It's OK to Ask For Help

Asking for help can be one of the most difficult tasks that a veteran is faced with. I know, because I very rarely ask for help and when I do, it kills me inside. We can clear a jam in our service rifle in total darkness while under fire without a concern, but asking someone for help, even for the slightest of things can be extremely difficult for us veterans.

We have been trained to rely on ourselves and our team/unit/patrol/platoon members. But most of everything we were trained to do was solely on our individual shoulders.

I hate asking for help. I have always just tried to do things myself. So if you want to help. Just help, because I won't ask. It's a me thing

This is likely why it is so difficult for us to ask for help. I once moved a 250-pound, 6-foot-tall cabinet out of one room and into a run on another floor (using the elevator) and into another room all without asking for help, using a hand truck. And I work around a bunch of career government employees, so for them, seeing me do something like this is very different for them. They would rather have the riggers (movers) come and move it for them. But those of us in the military look at that cabinet and just get it done.

But there are many times that we should have called for help and I’m not talking about moving a cabinet. Many civilians can not relate to veterans and those still in the military. The culture in the military is unique and often transition from the military to being a civilian can be difficult for some. But one thing I learned over the years is don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Me trying to do everything on my own and then having a breakdown

I have been online in Facebook military groups where someone states that they want to kill themselves. At that point that is when the rest of us in the group reached out and tried to help. Usually several are on the phone trying to get the person to answer, others are online, trying to keep the person talking, while others are looking up that person’s profile, looking up family members, or calling the local police department. The end goal is to help that veteran, talk them down, and get them the help that they need. I have been involved in this type of situation several times. Sadly they don’t always end well.

A few years ago, a good Marine veteran friend of mine, jumped onto Facebook, posted, “I’m Done” and then committed suicide. However, a large group of veterans who didn’t know this Marine all tried different ways to get ahold of him and his family. Sadly, I got ahold of his wife, she went to check on him and he was gone. This is one of those times that I wish he would have just asked for help.

'Til Valhalla my brother

I can’t blame him, as I know I’m guilty of that very thing myself, all too often. I once had a co-worker explain it to me, when I was leaving, and on my last day there, he said that I was not a very good friend. I was taken aback, by that comment as I know I had helped him many times at work and in his personal life. When I asked him to explain he stated that yes, I had helped him many times, but I never allowed him as a friend the opportunity for him to help me. He went on to explain that allowing him to help me, is a very important part of a friendship. I had never looked at it that way and I haven’t found too many people that do, Most people look at it as, give me, give me, give me, meaning you can help me, but don’t count on me helping you.

Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness, as we all need help sometimes in our lives. Now if I can only take my own advice. It isn’t always easy to ask, I know and I’m still learning how myself.

It doesn’t matter strong & confident you may appear on the outside. Some days you just need your Pooh Bear.

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