This is one of the times where I feel compelled to emphasise that I've promised to be completely honest about my experiences, and I'm sticking to that promise. It took me well over a year to ask for help, and what followed wasn't pretty.
Picture this: 14 year old me, sat in my bedroom on Facebook on a Sunday night. I was talking to a friend about my mental health. She knew I'd been struggling with self harm and making attempts on my life. I agreed to ask for help. She agreed to support me.
Monday morning, we went into school. Our second class was art, and to this day our art teacher remains one of the people I respect the most. She was also our head of pastoral care. So the three of us, my teacher, my friend, and I, sat in a room in silence. I was shaking. I kept going to blurt out how I'd been feeling, but just couldn't do it. Eventually it all came out, and the teacher was nothing but supportive.
Now, I'm going to stress one point here: asking for help and being ready to accept help that's being offered are not the same thing. I was sat there, having finally realised that I needed help, but when I was offered counselling, did I accept it? No. I wasn't ready to sit down and talk about the fact that I felt worthless, and that I was incapable of dealing with emotional pain so used self harm to create physical pain instead.
However, do I regret asking for help when I wasn't ready to accept it? No, I definitely do not. Regardless of the fact that, in reality, it was a number of years before I was actually ready to accept help, it did lighten the load. It helped just knowing that it was no longer some big secret that I had to hide at all times. It helped to know that I didn't have to explain why I was regularly pulling my sleeves down a little further. It just helped.
So I'm going to finish off by saying that even if you're not ready to take the step of accepting hep, please do share your feelings with someone that you trust. It truly does make a world of difference!