Dear Avery: Asking For Help


Avery Kalter, Editor & Advice Columnist

Dear Avery,

Ever since the school year has started, I have felt more mentally drained than ever before. Over the summer everything was easy, but now my days are filled with stress over assignments and friendships. All I want is help, but I’m too afraid to ask for it. I am almost embarrassed of myself, and I don’t want to face the shame of telling my parents how I feel. I really need assistance right now, but I’m not sure how to ask for it. Do you have any advice?





Dear Anonymous,

I know exactly how you feel. Whether you are in sixth, seventh or eighth, we are all in middle school, and this is the time in our life where things start to become real and more pressure is put on us academically, socially, physically, and mentally. I still struggle to verbalize my problems when I need help, but I’ve also learned the power of my voice and that the solution to my problems can sometimes be seeking help. 


When Covid-19 hit us like a storm, all of our lives were turned upside down. For me specifically, my mental health started to plummet and I didn’t feel like myself anymore. Important bridges were burned and I didn’t take care of myself like I should have. Going back to in-person school in sixth grade was a tough transition for me, and I started to pick up unhealthy habits in order to deal with the stress I was facing. I don’t want to get too specific, but I wasn’t going down a good path and I wasn’t living a healthy lifestyle; however, I was very silent about my problems, and it worked. No one ever seemed to notice that I was not in a good place, but the more silent I was the more intense the problems became. I bottled in my emotions and that caused me to channel them in my relationships with others. I didn’t trust anyone but myself, and that was not a good way to live my life. Eventually, I couldn’t handle the stress anymore, so I asked for help, and it saved me. By having people to lean on I took so much weight off my shoulders, but also learned important lessons about vulnerability and trust. It was hard, but by verbalizing my problems I was able to find a solution, which leads me to my advice:


Sometimes, we think that independence is the key to being a strong individual. We believe that facing things on our own makes a better version of ourselves, but that mindset usually comes from fear of being perceived as needy. While independence is an important aspect of growing up, part of growing up also means becoming comfortable with showing vulnerability. When a baby is sad, it cries. When a baby needs its diaper changed or wants food, it cries. When it doesn’t want to sleep and needs its mother to comfort it, it cries. I don’t want to sound completely insane, but sometimes we need to be a baby. Babies don’t think twice about expressing how they feel, and they don’t fear annoying the people around them when they scream their eyes out. Being a baby is the time in your life when you grow and develop the most, and maybe learning to express emotions plays a role in that. 

Asking for help gives us inner strength. Accepting that it’s okay to seek support helps us build strong relationships built from trust and reliability. Pain is a burden that prevents us from living our life to its fullest. It drains our mental health and gets in the way of completing everyday tasks; however, when we have nothing holding us back, we are able to strive. When we don’t have the stress of all the bottled emotions rising inside of us, we feel lighter and at ease. So, my advice is not that we should believe asking for help isn’t hard. In fact, my advice is to believe it, because courage isn’t the absence of fear, and by believing something is hard and doing it anyways, that is what makes us strong. Ask for help when you need it, and become comfortable with being vulnerable. But, most importantly, be a baby. 


Love, ‘