Depression: Why We Find It Hard to Ask for Help

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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What Does an Anxiety Disorder Feel Like? Here Are 4 Signs You May Have a Problem released this story on some ways to recognize if you may struggle with Anxiety. Note: Be aware that if you have some of these symptoms you may have anxiety. It is always best to go see your doctor to receive an official diagnosis.

If 2.6 billion people were suffering from an illness, you’d think we’d all be more familiar with it. That figure represents 33.7% of the population of the world, after all. It also represents the share of that population that will at some point experience an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health.

For those billions, the experience of clinical anxiety can range from a persistent fretfulness, distractedness and a sort of whole-body clenching, to the paralytic crisis of a full-blown panic attack. All of it feels lousy; all of it is a state you race to escape — which typically only makes it worse. But all of it, happily, is diagnosable, controllable and ultimately treatable. The key is recognizing if your anxiety rises to the level of a clinical condition, and if it does, what to do about it.

Anxiety may, by definition, feel bad, but that doesn’t mean it therefore is bad. It’s a menacing world out there, and your brain needs a way to grab your attention when you’re stumbling into danger. The job of doing that is actually handled by two brain regions: the amygdala, situated deep in the brain’s basement, and the higher, more complex cerebral cortex.

As befits its humble location, the amygdala processes very basic emotions — fear, anger, guilt, envy — and handles them quickly and unthinkingly. The fear you experience from a menacing stranger and the fear you experience from a scary movie set off the same amygdala alarms, and do it within 20 milliseconds — a very good thing if the danger is real. The job of determining whether it is or not goes to the cerebral cortex, which sorts things through more coolly and either responds to the threat or shuts down the siren the amygdala has set off.

Sometimes, however, the alarm gets stuck. The cerebral cortex can get flummoxed trying to sort real risks from exaggerated ones: Doorknobs do carry germs, so how do you know the one you touched didn’t have something deadly? People do suffer social humiliation at parties or while giving speeches; how do you know you won’t be one of them?

The most common recognized anxiety disorders include general anxiety disorder, agoraphobia (or fear of being in public situations you can’t escape), social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), specific phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and separation anxiety disorder. There is no blood test or brain scan that can conclusively diagnose any of them, but here are four signs that may point to trouble.

You have a high level of distress
Anxiety is a question of degree. It’s one thing to be jittery before an important test or presentation or to worry about your health when an epidemic is in the news. And if you have a particular sensitivity — flying, dentists, working the room at a crowded party — you’re going to be tense as one of those situations approaches. If the tension consumes your day, however, if it crowds out other thoughts or if the psychic pain goes from troubling to severe, that’s another matter.

“Anxiety will prevent people from sleeping; they’ll find themselves crying over it,” says psychologist Golda Ginsburg, professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and a specialist in child and adolescent mental health. “There are students who will vomit in the days leading up to a test.”

In some cases, the emotions become so severe they lead to a panic attack, a sort of weaponized anxiety that hits fast and hard and includes such symptoms as dizziness, rapid heart rate, depersonalization or out-of-body experience and a fear of losing control or dying. “If you suddenly have to slam on your brakes and swerve to avoid a collision, that pounding heart and rapid breath you feel for a few minutes after is a form of panic attack,” says psychologist Anne Marie Albano, director of Columbia University’s Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. “In the context of a disorder, however, you might start to feel the same thing the moment you walk into the office or a party.”

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The Toughest Call of My Life

Utah State University Basketball player bravely shares his story with The Players Tribune.

I was three days away from my NBA dream, and I walked away.

It was last August, a few weeks after summer league. I had my contract with the Bucks, a guaranteed two-way deal. Had my flight booked to Milwaukee. Was in the best basketball shape of my life.

I was three days away. And I never got any closer than that.

Three days before I was supposed to leave Utah, I made the hardest phone call of my life. I called up the Bucks. I told them I wouldn’t be showing up and I explained why. Now I’m ready to tell you why, too.

The story I want to tell you starts 30,000 feet in the air somewhere over the Rockies. Our airplane — full of the entire Utah State basketball team — was going down. I was sure of it.

It was a year ago, my senior year. The team was cramped into a propeller plane headed to San Jose for a game. Like 30 minutes after we took off, I got an uneasy feeling. The turbulence started and it never let up. I was sure we were goners.

Now look, I’ve never liked flying. I’ve never told anyone, but it was just something I tried to avoid unless I couldn’t. I guess it was always just sort of a safety thing for me. I know all the statistics — how flying is safer than driving and all that. But it’s just that — losing all that control always made me a little nervous.

Anyway, up to that night, that flight, it was just this tiny thing that bothered me. I’d just put on my headphones, keep my head down, and get through it. I’d think about how much I enjoyed seeing new places, and of course I knew that I needed to fly to play basketball.

But man, that flight to San Jose was different.

It started with the thumping. Our carry-on luggage was bouncing around in the overhead compartment. My stomach was rising and falling as the plane went up and down. A flight attendant made an announcement: “Keep your tray table up and don’t leave your seat.” We were going down, man, no doubt about it. The thumping was getting louder. I turned the music up on my headphones. Now my heart was thumping just as loud as the turbulence, like it was gonna punch its way out of my chest.

I was sweating, so I had the A/C knob pointed right at my face on full blast. I kept both of my legs braced tight against the seat in front of me, and my hands were locked onto each armrest. I started to talk to myself, to try to calm myself down.

The plane was going down. My body was telling me, loud and clear: This is the end.

And I was sure everybody else on the plane felt that way, too. But they didn’t. The only part of my body I felt was safe to move was my neck, so I’d occasionally peek up to the front seats to check on my dad, who was flying with us that night and to look out of the airplane windows. Each time I looked up at my dad, he was reading his book … like nothing was the matter. How could you be reading at a time like this? All the noise, all the turbulence … and yet most of my teammates seemed calm — some were sleeping, some were talking, some had headphones on. Why wasn’t everyone else freaking out?

About an hour into the flight, they said we were landing in Reno to fuel up. On the ground in Reno, I was genuinely just happy to be alive, like we had just averted a disaster. I went up to our coach and was like, “That was the craziest flight ever, right?” And I remember he said, “Yeah I guess so, wasn’t too bad.” And he shrugged.

I didn’t want to go back up in the air that same night, but we had to. And to be honest, I don’t really remember that second flight. I had my music on again, but I wasn’t hearing any of the words. We got into our hotel in San Jose at maybe three in the morning. I think we’d left campus at seven o’clock the evening before.

It was supposed to be a two-hour flight.

Lying in my hotel bed I remember not even getting close to falling asleep. I was exhausted, like I’d just taken a four-hour test, but wide awake. I was on my back with my eyes open and my whole body hurting, staring up at the ceiling and thinking the same thought, over and over and over again, “What the hell is wrong with you?”.

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The addition of anxiety

You may have noticed that I have not been as active posting over the past year. The reason is that after 22 years of fighting with depression, I have also been diagnosed with panic disorder (AKA Anxiety).

I have always been open about my depression and dealing with it because I felt it helped myself and others, but my anxiety was something I was really ashamed of and felt should be kept hidden. Besides my mother I didn’t really tell anyone about the anxiety. Towards the end of the year I tried to change that feeling of shame and started opening up to my friends and family.

I remember one morning following a panic attack and waking up the physical symptoms of the attack still present and see the emotional ones in both myself and those I love most. It has taken me a long time to recognize that I am strong … much stronger than I give myself credit for. I am grateful for my inner strength and how it helps me to keep going when at times I feel like quitting.

I have been trying to focus on myself and trying to learn more about anxiety and how it plays a part of my life. I have worked hard to figure out what is the underlining cause of my panic attacks and anxiety and for me it is a fear of abandonment. As I have worked with my doctor and taken the time to focus on what is going on in my mind I have been able to gain more control over my life.

I want to take this time to reach out to those of you that also struggle with this illness. Do NOT quit. Do NOT feel like you have to hide. Do NOT feel like something is wrong with you. YOU can do this.

Am I a Bad Person for How Depression Made Me Act?

I came across this article today from The Mighty sharing what many of us that deal with Mental Illness feel … a must read article!

Over the past few months, I’ve had a really hard time feeling like I am a good person. I had been convinced by a few individuals (who very clearly do not understand depression) that I am self-absorbed, needy, a bad person/friend and overall just messed up. I used to be able to distinguish a clear sense of who I was versus what the depression was. I saw myself as a kind, caring, sensitive, capable, smart and an overall good person who struggled with depression.

After opening up to a few of the “wrong” individuals, I began to feel as though I was all of the negative things I previously mentioned. For months, I felt guilty and as though I was a terrible human being. This really took a toll on me. I was told I rely on my friends too much and that I should instead call hotlines instead. When I was feeling suicidal and in the middle of a breakdown, I was told the world doesn’t revolve around me and I think I’m the only one with issues. I was told I was being rude and to “figure my shit out,” and I was ignored when I reached out in the future.

What I first had to realize was these reactions to my depressive episodes were not OK. I was at my absolute worst, the most vulnerable I could be, and they chose to answer to me in the most inconsiderate ways. These people clearly had no understanding whatsoever of how depression actually affects a person. I was acting the way I was acting because of my depression not because it was who I am. I knew this before I met these individuals, but because of my experiences with them, my perspective of myself
completely shifted. With my depression, it was way to easy for me to become hyper-fixated on the negative. I no longer viewed myself as a good person who struggled with depression. I now felt as though I was a terrible person and that all of depression’s symptoms were actually proof of my character. This was not fair. To make this completely clear — depression is a disorder, not a personality trait.

Depression is debilitating. It can cause extreme lack of self-worth and motivation, complete unworthiness, irritability, exhaustion, anxiety, isolation, suicidal thoughts and feelings, anger and so much more. This is depression. This is not the person.

I’ve finally gotten to a good place again. Everywhere else in my life, I have always been told how kind and smart and caring I am so it only made sense that I listen to these people instead. Some of these people have also seen me on the brink of a depression breakdown, yet they still think all of these positive things about me. These people actually realize the symptoms of depression do not define an individual, but are exactly what they are called — symptoms of depression. These people are my real friends. These are the people I needed to listen to. And these are the people I finally am listening to.

I am working to avoid depression

Johnny Manziel was diagnosed a year ago with Bipolar Disorder. I love his statement of how he has started to make his mental health a priority. May we all take time to do this for ourselves.

Former quarterback Johnny Manziel tells ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he has stopped drinking and is focused on his mental health as he hopes for a return to the NFL.

Manziel says he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about a year ago and that his mental health has become a priority in his life.

“I am taking medication for bipolar, and I am working to try to make sure I don’t fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me,” he told T.J. Holmes in an exclusive interview for “GMA.”

“At the end of the day, I can’t help that my wires are a little bit differently crossed than yours,” he said. “I can’t help my mental makeup or the way that I was created.”

He asked if the change in him is sustainable and added: “At the end of the day it’s to be seen. I am still moving forward.”

Manziel was playing for Texas A&M when he become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. With the fame and attention of being “Johnny Football” came times that he said made him miserable.

“I was self-medicating with alcohol. That’s what I thought would make me happy and get out of that depression,” Manziel said. “When I would wake up the next day after a night like that, going on a trip like that, and you wake up the next day and that is all gone, that liquid courage, or that liquid … sense of euphoria that is over you, is all gone.”

He acknowledged turmoil in his life and the pain he has caused those closest to him.

“I am coming back from a huge downfall,” he told Holmes of “GMA.” “I don’t know what kind of comeback it will be, but I know I want to get back on a football field and do what brought me so much joy in my life.”

The Cleveland Browns cut Manziel in 2016 after drafting him in the first round in 2014. On “GMA,” he took the blame for his run-ins with the law, cited his selfishness for his problems and said he has started training. He has been offered a contract in the CFL.

But he says: “The goal of this comeback is to get back to the NFL, ultimately.”

Manziel said his partying and drinking deeply hurt his mother. He recalled that she confronted him and said: “You don’t understand when people come up to us and say: ‘What the hell is your son doing?’”

Manziel told Holmes: “I saw the trickle-down effects of what I was doing in my life, that were meaningless and pointless and selfish.”

More changes in his life: He is engaged and has launched an apparel line.

“GMA” aired the Manziel interview as NBC’s “Today” shifted to South Korea for the Winter Olympics.


Selena Gomez’s Wild Ride

Selena Gomez has opened up to Harper’s Bazaar’s Katherine Langford for their March issue. She spoke about how she feels she will be dealing with her depression and anxiety for the rest of her life.

KL: Do you think 2018 will be a better year than the one we just had?

SG: I’m going to say yes because I believe that for myself. And anyone who knows me knows I will always start with my health and my well-being. I’ve had a lot of issues with depression and anxiety, and I’ve been very vocal about it, but it’s not something I feel I’ll ever overcome. There won’t be a day when I’m like, “Here I am in a pretty dress—I won!” I think it’s a battle I’m gonna have to face for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that because I know that I’m choosing myself over anything else. I’m starting my year off with that thought. I want to make sure I’m healthy. If that’s good, everything else will fall into place. I don’t really set goals ’cause I don’t want to be disappointed if I don’t reach them, but I do want to work on my music too. My next album has been forever in the making. When people ask me why, I’m honest about it: It’s because I haven’t been ready. I mean, point-blank, I don’t feel confident enough in where my music is yet. If that takes 10 years, then it takes 10 years. I don’t care. Right now I just want to be super intentional with all of the things I’m doing.

If you would like to read the entire interview go to the Harper’s Bazaar site.

Kristen Bell on depression: “There was something intangible dragging me down”

Kristen Bell has always spoken out about her struggle with depression … she has opened up once again and is trying to help others and erase the stigma associated with mental health.

Following her rise to stardom as the iconic teenage detective in the TV series Veronica Mars, Kristen Bell has made a successful leap to the big screen in a number of successful comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Couples Retreat (2009), The Boss (2016) and Bad Moms (2016).

Most of Bell’s characters have cemented the image of her as witty, cheerful and positive. She and her husband Dax Shepard, who have two daughters together, are one of the cutest couples in Hollywood.

In recent years, however the much-adored actress has opened up about the fact that her extremely likeable personality also has a fragile side to it.

Clouded over by anxiety and depression
Fortunately for Bell, who was first hit by a bout of depression while studying at NYU, her mom had sat her down at age 18 and said: “If there ever comes a time where you feel like a dark cloud is following you, you can get help. You can talk to me, talk to a therapist, talk to doctor. I want you to know that there are options.”

Her mother, a nurse, was well-aware that serotonin imbalance which caused a lot of suffering for her own mother, Bell’s grandmother, could have been passed on to her daughter as well.

“I’m so thankful for her openness on this predominantly silent subject because later, when I was in college, that time did come. I felt plagued with a negative attitude and a sense that I was permanently in the shade. I’m normally such a bubbly, positive person, and all of a sudden I stopped feeling like myself,” Bell recalled the first time she experienced the crippling effects of depression.

“There was no logical reason for me to feel this way. I was at New York University, I was paying my bills on time, I had friends and ambition—but for some reason, there was something intangible dragging me down. Luckily, thanks to my mom, I knew that help was out there—and to seek it without shame,” Bell wrote in article published in Time’s Motto.

Revealing her struggle to reach out to others
Living in the image-obsessed world of Hollywood where celebrities are expected to live flawless lives, it took some time before Bell opened up about her battle with anxiety and depression.

“I didn’t speak publicly about my struggles with mental health for the first 15 years of my career. But now I’m at a point where I don’t believe anything should be taboo,” Bell wrote about her decision.

“I’ve been striving to compensate a little bit for this person that I’ve presented because I don’t think it’s fair to people who suffer to pretend that I don’t. I don’t think it’s fair for them to look at me and go: Oh yeah, I would be happy, like she is happy, because she has all this. I think it’s very important to be honest,” she explained on Off Camera.

Indeed, Bell’s story underscores the fact that depression and anxiety can be experiences by anyone, no matter what their life circumstances are.

“I present this very cheery, bubbly person but I also do a lot of work. I do a lot of introspective work and I check in with myself and I need to exercise and got on a prescription when I was really young to help with my anxiety and depression.”

“I’ve never really shared what got me there and why I’m that way or the things that I’ve worked through. And I felt it was sort of a social responsibility I had — to not just appear to be so positive and optimistic,” Bell said in an interview for Today.

“It’s a priority to reach people who might be struggling with similar issues that I’ve struggled with. I just wanted other people to know there are options out there if they feel a sense of depression or anxiety,” she added.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry reflect on the Heads Together Campaign

The Royal family has released this beautiful conversation between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of Heads Together. Please take a moment and watch.

The film, which is part of the #OKtoSay series run by Heads Together, captures a conversation between Their Royal Highnesses that occurred at Kensington Palace as they looked ahead to the London Marathon 2017 and reflected on the growth of the campaign over the last year.

The conversation covers a range of topics including the emotional changes new parents go through, bereavement, the stresses of modern childhood, and dealing with trauma in the workplace.

The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry are incredibly grateful to everyone who has shared their stories in recent weeks. And having asked others to start conversations on mental health with their friends and families, they wanted to show that they are taking part as well. They hope the film shows how positive a conversation on mental health can be.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry began the Heads Together campaign to end stigma around mental health. Heads Together aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing, and is a partnership with inspiring charities with decades of experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges.

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Prince Harry: I sought counselling after 20 years of not thinking about the death of my mother, Diana, and two years of total chaos in my life

Anyone could face depression … even Prince Harry. Harry opened up to the Telegraph about his experiences with depression and coping with the death of his mother Princess Diana.

Prince Harry has disclosed that he sought counselling after enduring two years of “total chaos” while still struggling in his late twenties to come to terms with the death of his mother.

The Prince says in an interview with The Telegraph that he “shut down all his emotions” for almost two decades after losing his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, despite his brother, Prince William, trying to persuade him to seek help.

Disclosing that he has spoken to a professional about his mental health, he describes how he only began to address his grief when he was 28 after feeling “on the verge of punching someone” and facing anxiety during royal engagements.

Describing the “quite serious effect” that losing his mother had on his personal and professional life, he tells how living in the public eye left him feeling he could be “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions”.

The Prince, now 32, turned to counsellors and even took up boxing. He says he is now in “a good place”.

Prince Harry has decided to give an unprecedented insight into his past in the hope it will encourage people to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

He has spoken to Bryony Gordon for the first episode of her podcast, Mad World, in which she will interview high-profile guests about their mental health experiences.

The 30-minute conversation is one of the most candid insights into the innermost thoughts of a modern young member of the Royal family. The Prince, together with his brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have set up Heads Together, a charity which promotes good mental well-being.

Prince Harry, who was 12 when his mother died, says in the podcast that he spent his teenage years and twenties determined not to think about her.

“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” he said.

“I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle.”

Asked whether he had been to see a ‘shrink’ to offload his thoughts, he said: “I’ve done that a couple of times, more than a couple of times, but it’s great.”

The Prince admitted that at times he had struggled with aggression and turned to boxing as an outlet for his frustration.

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