I came across this article and thought it was a great one to share to help people find understanding.
When we have depression, it can be hard to ask for help. Being open and honest about our illness can feel difficult. We don’t know what to say. We don’t know how people will react. We may feel guilty, or ashamed, or worry about being a burden. We might believe depression is something we should be deal with it alone.
Reaching out is difficult for many people with depression. If we’re struggling to ask for help, we’re certainly not alone.
WE DON’T THINK IT WILL HELP
Sometimes, we can’t see how talking would help us. It feels pointless. We feel low and sad and we can’t see how having a chat would fix that. We might have tried medications or therapies in the past and not found any of them to be very helpful. We might have seen others who are close to us try different treatments and not find any of them helpful.
There are a lot of different treatment options available for depression. Everyone is different, so different treatments will work best for different people. If a few things haven’t worked, it doesn’t mean that the next thing we try won’t work. It can take a bit of trial and error to get things right.
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY
It can be hard to know what to say when asking for help. If it’s the first time we’ve ever asked for help, we often struggle to find the words we need to describe how we’re feeling. If we’ve had help before, or have ongoing help, we struggle to explain how we’re currently feeling. It could be different to how we’ve been feeling in the past and it can be hard to get that across. It can feel as though we are repeating the same words time after time. It can be hard to explain any changes in our mood to those around us. We can say ‘I feel low’, but it might feel different to the ‘I feel low’ that we felt that week before.
There are resources out there to help us find the words we need to ask for help. If we’re struggling to talk, we could write it down, draw it, or find quotes or song lyrics that explain what we can’t. We don’t need to have the right words, we just need to start a conversation.
WE WORRY ABOUT HOW PEOPLE WILL REACT
If we have never spoken to someone about how we’re feeling before, we often worry about how they will react. We worry about them being angry, upset, or lost for words. We worry that they will feel unable to cope. We worry about the consequences of speaking to someone. We worry about whether they will tell anyone else.
We can’t know exactly how a person will react until we tell them. We don’t have to tell them everything in one go; we could start with the things we find a little easier to talk about and go from there. Whoever we speak to is likely to be someone we trust – either a friend or family member we know well, or a professional. They will want what’s best for us. So whatever they say, or do, it will be because they care for us and want us to get the help that we need.
WE FEEL GUILTY
We feel guilty for using up people’s time. It could be a friend listening to us on an evening after work who ‘would rather be at home in their PJs’. It could be a family member who ‘could be getting on with their jobs around the house’. It could be a health professional who ‘could be seeing someone else in the time they’re seeing us’. We feel guilty and undeserving of their time and attention.
We are as deserving of time, care, and attention, as anyone else. Depression is lying when it tells that we are less worthy, or less deserving than others. Depression is an illness which we do not deserve to have. We deserve help and support. There is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.
WE FEEL LIKE A BURDEN
We struggle to tell people how we are feeling because we don’t want to burden them. We don’t want them to worry about us. We don’t want them to feel as though they have to do anything to help us. We don’t want them to go out of their way for us. We don’t want them to have to spend time listening to us. We don’t want our mental health to weigh them down.
By and large though our loved ones would much prefer we let in them in, rather than struggle on alone. If we don’t feel able to open up to the people we’re close to, we can also speak to a doctor, nurse or a counsellor. Sharing our worries with professionals will not burden them. They are here to help. They have support systems in place. They would never see us a burden.
WE FEEL LIKE A FAILURE
Asking for help can sometimes feel like a failure. We feel as though we should be able to cope with everything alone. We feel as though we are weak for needing help that other people might not need. If we have been receiving help for a while, it can feel as though we are not recovering ‘fast enough’. Sometimes, we might have been in recovery for a while, and then begin to struggle again. By struggling again, it can feel like we are failing those who have helped us in the past.
Asking for help is not a failure. It is one of the strongest and bravest things any of us can ever do. There is no such thing as recovering ‘fast enough’ or ‘too slowly’. Different things will influence each person’s recovery. Struggling after a period of recovery isn’t a failure, either. Sometimes, life just happens and there’s not a lot we can do to stop it. All we can do is to keep reaching out. We don’t need to suffer in silence.