Men – It’s Okay to Ask for Help

By: Dan McDonald, Resident in Counseling

What’s the clog in your life right now, and what are you doing to fix it? 

Last week, my bathroom sink just wouldn’t drain. Here’s what I did instead of calling a plumber:

  • Used Drano (didn’t work)
  • Researched which drain clearing tools to buy 
  • Used those drain clearing tools (didn’t work)
  • Googled home remedies for clearing drains
  • Used baking soda/vinegar home remedy (didn’t work)  
  • Watched YouTube videos on how to disassemble sink pipes
  • Took sink pipes apart and washed them out (didn’t work)

All told, my do-it-yourself effort yielded hours of lost time, caused a great deal of stress, and prevented my family from using the sink for multiple days. Why didn’t I just call a plumber?

We live in a society that celebrates and defines “real” men as independent problem solvers – ever seen a guy in a car commercial who’s stuck in the mud call for a tow truck? I didn’t think so. And, if for some reason you can’t solve the problem independently, you should:

  • 1. Pretend like you can do it (even though you can’t) 
  • 2. Do something else instead (abandon the first thing or ignore it altogether)
  • 3. Minimize the situation (make fun of it, for example)

Over time, these external messages become our internal monologue, producing low self-esteem, avoidance, and inauthenticity. They make it difficult or even stigmatizing to ask for help when we need it – “if you ask for help,” the monologue says, “you aren’t good enough.” It lays the foundation for our little clogs to become plumbing nightmares.

This is especially an issue now, amidst COVID-19, as the virus has taken away some of our usual strategies (it’s hard to ignore the issue when you can’t get out of the house!). It’s easy to feel trapped or helpless when your tried-and-true tools have been taken away. As strong and capable as we are, this is a good reminder that we are human, after all – and now that escape is not an option, we must address our issues head-on and seek out help when needed.

Thankfully, there are professionals available to help you navigate this unfamiliar territory – “plumbers,” who can address the clog before it builds up and causes all that stress and hardship. At Sunstone, we have multiple male counselors who understand what it’s like to feel less than capable, and feel the pressure from internal and external voices telling us that, as men, we must do it ourselves. We can help you unclog the “drains” of life, whether it’s figuring out how to manage stress and anxiety/depression, have more successful relationships, make career changes, or anything else that is getting in the way of living the healthy and fulfilled life you deserve. 

First, though, you need to ask for help!

Reach out to one of us for an initial consultation:

Charlie Clark, LPC: 703-472-1490 | McLean

George Coyne, LCSW: 703-328-4112 | Old Town

Dan McDonald, MS: 571-565-6622 | Falls Church

Hugh Pinnock, MFT-R: 571-385-2949 | Falls Church & Old Town