Ask for Help

In November, like so many others here in Fernie and around our province my little neighbourhood of Cokato went through unprecedented weather and we saw the devastating impact of an atmospheric river. I do not think I fully understood the power of water until those two weeks of storms. There was one point in the beginning of the storm where I knew some neighbours and animals had been rescued by boat. Shortly after we were told that the road to either side of us was completely washed out and if we wanted to leave it would be via helicopter. I learned that day that sometimes in life you only have what you have immediately available to you. Luckily what we had was a team of amazing humans, two tractors, a back-up supply of diesel, and a variety of shovels. It was one of those incredible experiences where no one had to implicitly ask for help. We all just knew what needed to be done, how to work together to save two homes, calm our fears, and provide each other the comfort and support needed as we battled the storm. In times like these people show up, we all received countless messages of people checking in and offering help, and it was much appreciated. But, what about other times of need that we experience on a more day-to-day basis?

This is the time of year where we usually kickstart our lives. The go-to is exercise, nutrition, or daily habits. This year I also encourage you to think about asking for help. The past two years have been incredibly challenging on so many levels and it still seems like so many people are navigating it alone without asking for help when it is needed. I feel like we are taught to be strong and independent. To learn to take care of ourselves and manage on our own. While these are good skills to have, we also need to balance it out with the ability to know when we need assistance. Asking for help in difficult times, or any really, is not weak and the benefits are pretty great. 

Think about the last time you reached out to someone and they provided you support. Often in the anticipation we think things like, “I don’t want to bother them,” or “It really isn’t that big of a deal.” In reality we matter, you matter. And then when we do talk it out there is often such a relief and we provide the opportunity for someone else to share that they are feeling something similar and we inevitably create space for community, common humanity, and people sharing their stories in efforts to feel connected to someone else. 

Thinking back on the flood, yes it was scary, and yes, my heart was breaking for so many people in our town and this province. And also, I saw community. I saw love. I saw people donating whatever they could to people who needed it. And in my little world I watched people come together to do whatever was needed for the people they care about. We laughed, we allowed fear to exist, we dug trenches and relied on each other’s expertise at every step of the way. We also stood united at the top of a newly formed Cokato abyss and screamed at the top of our lungs… and man did it feel good! It felt good because we allowed each other to see our vulnerabilities and to show up and this strengthened who we are as individuals and as a community.

The content provided in this article is for information purposes only. It is not meant as a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you find yourself in distress, please reach out to your local physician who can provide mental health resources in your community.