You Know, I've Been Really Stressed Out...
I have a problem: I cannot admit that I'm stressed, that I'm feeling down or if there is anything truly wrong. If you ask me on any given day how I feel my response will probably be 'GREAT!' Even if I'm on the verge of tears and having a minor breakdown. I've learned that I am not alone feeling this way. As people, we have a hard time telling others that we are feeling vulnerable or that we need a little bit of support when really, telling others those feelings is exactly what you need to get the support or help that you deserve.
From a young age, many of us are taught to 'put on a brave face,' meaning buck up, smile and even if the world is falling around you pretend that you are happy and everything is fine. If you outwardly project you are happy then happiness will come, right? Although there are some instances where this kind of works (for me, it's when I'm sick, I always put on real clothes and don't laze around in PJs all day!) but, it can be a short term solution to a longer-term problem. We are often told to hide our emotions, don't let them see you crack! While this sounds like a decent mantra, it can lead to longer-term depression, burnout and a whole slew of other issues. Most people who I've seen take this tactic don't last too long on it.
There is no shame in being overwhelmed. There is no shame in being burnt out. There is no shame in having feelings. I believe that everyone at some point in their lives will face this in one way or another, and we need to talk about it before the problem gets worse. I recently sat in on a lecture with some early stage founders where the speaker mentioned asking people how they were REALLY doing. Usually, they'd give a canned answer of 'oh things are fine,' when he pushed further, however, he learned that people were stressed out, overwhelmed and in desperate need of a beach vacation. Just a little push and they spilled the beans. I've begun adopting this concept into my every day. Asking people how they are feeling vs. how they are doing, and offering support where need be. Sometimes even just a little note saying 'I'm here for you,' can go a long way.
I understand that asking for help can be difficult. Admitting that you can't do something can be terrifying. On the flip side, however, you don't know what you don't know, and the only way for you to learn is to ask for help, admit your vulnerabilities and tell people how you feel. Chances are most people will respond positively to you saying 'you know, I'm feeling very stressed or unsure about this project...' your friends and coworkers want to help you and are there to help you. If you are still unsure about it, think of it from a team mentality: teams are only as strong as their weakest link (cliche I know!). Therefore, you should want to support the weak spots so everyone can grow. Everyone has their own weak spots and vulnerabilities. Figure out where yours lie and learn how you can use your team and network of support to build upon them and grow.