Re-evaluating Coping Strategies; How to Ask for Help and Support Others Redux

Male High School Student Comforting Unhappy Friend

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Sometimes life can get tough and when things reach a specific limit, it can be difficult to address
particular problems or situations. We all have our coping mechanisms but it’s important to
re-evaluate if they’re working and if trusted friends, families, or partners understand what you’re
struggling with to assist us better. The bulk of the pandemic led me to isolate but by working
through my insecurities I can incorporate others to help me best. And I can assist and help them
as well.
As someone who is staunchly independent, I usually don’t vocalize certain problems because I
always believe that I can eventually figure out the problem and reach a pragmatic
problem-solving solution. Reaching that conclusion and resolution requires a lot of mental energy,
contemplation, and time. For important people in my life, if they don’t hear from me during a
certain time they become concerned. It’s not that they want or need to understand every facet of
my life but if I’m going through a hardship, simply giving them a heads up if I’ll be unavailable is
all the notification that they need. Then when I’m ready, I’m able to pick up where we left off.
On the other end of updating others, if you are someone that can be a rock for someone during
their time of need, it’s important to touch base with them to build rapport or to showcase that you
are available. I have a family member that from time to time needs support but I’m a terrible
texter, and that’s how they usually communicate. As a result of my bad texting habit, they
assumed that I was unavailable to talk, and I wasn’t. One thing that I do now, is if I have certain
people I’d like to support, I block out a small window of time to text them. Simply asking about
their day, what they watched recently or food that they ate, keeps that rapport strong and
identifies to them that I am available.
Mindreading is when you assume another party can assess or understand a problem or concern
without you saying anything. The pitfall of such a mindset is that others aren’t in your head and
maybe be very unaware of what is going on in your life without telling them and giving them a
more detailed picture. It’s important to disclose important details to trusted people in your life if
you want them as support because assuming that they know what you’re going through can
make both parties unaware of the truth of the matter and unable to address a pressing issue.
It’s important to understand that no one is perfect and regardless of how well we’ve handled
things in the past sometimes it’s important to update our coping strategies or have key
conversations with loved ones to get each other on the same page. Our lives are complex and
sometimes we forget things or may not be ready to talk about things. But it’s important to
remember that there is always a way forward. Don’t be too hard on yourself, learn from past
events, and continue to do what you can for yourself and others. Small efforts can lead to great
Take care out there!


Ziggy is a Certified Peer Specialist in PA and currently resides in Pittsburgh. He is a member of the Let’s Act committee, a group of peers devoted to raising awareness about mental health care. In his downtime, he enjoys reading novels and watching nature documentaries.

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