A Lesson Learned: “Asking for Help Doesn’t Make Me Weak”
Melissa Aguilar, People & Culture Transversal Project Lead, shares her inspirational story of mental health so that others can get the help they need too!
A few months ago, I was feeling very overwhelmed and began to feel anxious at times even though everything was going well on paper. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what I was feeling and didn’t feel I could discuss it with friends or family because I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling, or why I was feeling it. I didn’t want to bother them and ask for their help if I couldn’t share how I needed their help.
I recalled that Sanofi had an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) where I could leverage free sessions with a counselor and thought that it was something worth exploring; especially considering the “free” aspect. I felt that I could potentially get a lot out of it with very little risk, so I went on to our well-being website and looked up the EAP. It instructed me to log into a website where I was able to find counselors’ profiles, select a counselor, and then make an appointment.
My first session went so well that my therapist and I began meeting bi-weekly until my allotted session were over. Through our conversations and the questions she asked, she helped me to identify the sources of my anxiety and why I was feeling overwhelmed. In the spirit of vulnerability, and with hopes to help others, I will share that my feelings were caused by my inability to set, communicate and respect my own boundaries with others, both personally and professionally. She provided me with clear and practical steps to take action, which included helpful reminders and affirmations on the importance of boundary-setting. She also provided me with actual talking points to use with others. I saw such a huge difference after speaking with a professional that I decided to continue sessions with her monthly, and still see her today.
I think of myself as a mentally strong person. Before doing this, I thought I could figure this all out on my own. But what I realized throughout this process is that I don’t have to do it alone, and asking for help doesn’t make me weak. In fact, it made me stronger.
There is still a stigma about seeing a therapist, but I believe that there are certain things you should go to a professional for rather than your cousin Vinny. Professionals have the background and tools to identify the issue and provide you with proven solutions to help you get better.
Sanofi provides many great benefits for their employees, and I am so thankful they’ve provided me this opportunity through the EAP. I continue to share my experience with family and friends, whoever will listen, so that they can get the help they need as well!
Click here to learn more about Sanofi’s robust benefits program that is helping our people take care of their physical, emotional, and financial well-being needs – and caring for their families.