In recent decades, awareness about the importance of talking about our problems, instead of keeping them hidden, has increased among the community. In spite of this, many people think that talking about their problems, or asking for help, is a sign of weakness, and that dealing with problems on your own is a sign of strength. It seems that notions of the “strong silent type” endure. Some people even think that if they talk about their problems they’ll be thought of as “whingers” or “downers”. Others believe that sharing a problem might turn it into a “big deal”.
There are a number of reasons why people keep their problems to themselves. In many cases people are looking for excuses not to reach out. Why? Because opening up about our problems can be extremely daunting. Sticking your hand up for help takes an incredible amount of courage and strength. Realising this, we can also appreciate how unnecessary it is to keep your problems hidden and suffer in silence. Strength lies in having the courage to seek help when you need it.
While getting help might make you feel uncomfortable in the short term, it is bound to make things easier in the long term. Keeping things to yourself on the other hand might help you avoid a few uncomfortable conversations for now, but in the long term, it may mean that you will make slower progress or that your problem will get worse. “A problem shared is a problem halved” may be a cliché, but is, more often than not, true.
So if you’re still trying to figure out if you have a gambling problem, or if you know you have one, but are not sure whether you want help dealing with it, have a think about what’s stopping you from reaching out. Perhaps it’s simply fear getting in the way?
You don’t have to be afraid or embarrassed, and you don’t have to deal with your problems on your own. For free and confidential support and treatment 24/7 call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858; or visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au to find a free face-to-face counselling service near you. The Gambling Help website has a range of free resources and self-help tools available to download or order, as well as new community support forums where you can share your experiences and hear from others who are in similar situations. Visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au/forum to join the conversation.