Why can’t I ask for help? Sometimes, I can’t see how talking would help me – so I blog & talk to myself. It feels pointless. Sometimes I feel low and sad and I can’t see how having a chat would fix that. I have tried medications and therapies in the past and not found any of them to be very helpful – still, to this day I am medicated but I’m having a blip.
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 I try won’t work. It can take a bit of trial and error to get things right. I have been hoping/waiting for seventeen years.
AS A DEPRESSING DEPRESSION SUFFERER I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY
It can be hard to know what to say when asking for help. It’s as if it’s the first time I’ve ever asked for help, I often struggle to find the words I need to describe how I’m feeling. When I’ve had help before, or having ongoing help like now (in a limited way), I struggle to explain how I’m currently feeling. It could be different to how I’ve been feeling in the past and it can be hard to get that across. It can feel as though I am repeating the same words time after time. It can be hard to explain any changes in my 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. The real pit of your stomach, sick of the site of your eyes self loathing low or something that is quite bad.
Yes, there are resources out there to help me find the words I need to ask for help. If I’m struggling to talk, I could write it down, draw it, or find quotes or song lyrics that explain what we can’t. I don’t need to have the right words, we just need to start a conversation. Like I am doing here.
I WORRY ABOUT HOW PEOPLE WILL REACT
If I had never spoken to someone about how I’m feeling before, I would worry about how they would react. I worry about them being angry, upset, or lost for words. I worry that they will feel unable to cope. I worry about the consequences of speaking to someone. I worry about whether they will tell anyone else. All except my Brother who just tells me how many poos he has done that day (good diet).
I can’t know exactly how a person will react until I tell them. I don’t have to tell them everything in one go? I could start with the things I find a little easier to talk about and go from there. Whoever I speak to is likely to be someone I trust – either a friend or family member I know well, or a professional. They will want what’s best for me. So whatever they say, or do, it will be because they care for me and want me to get the help that I need. However, each admission of this weakness is a leap in to the unknown.
I FEEL GUILTY
I 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’. I feel guilty and undeserving of their time and attention.
I should feel as deserving of time, care, and attention, as anyone else. In writing this, I am trying to convince myself that depression is lying when it tells that me I am less worthy, or less deserving than others. Depression is an illness which nobody deserves to have. People suffering from depression deserve help and support. There is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about except the guilt itself – but that is crushing.
AM I A BURDEN???
I struggle to tell people how I am feeling because I don’t want to burden them. I don’t want them to worry about me. I don’t want them to feel as though they have to do anything to help me. I don’t want them to go out of their way for me. I don’t want them to have to spend time listening to me with my silly, whispering, high pitched voice. I don’t want my mental health to weigh them down.
By and large though my loved ones say they would much prefer I let in them in, rather than struggle on alone. If I don’t feel able to open up to the people I’m close to. However, I can speak to a doctor, nurse or a counsellor – but then I am just a drain on the NHS. No! sharing my worries with professionals will not burden them. They are here to help. They have support systems in place. They would never see me as a burden.
I FEEL LIKE A FAILURE
Asking for help can sometimes feel like a failure. A weakness. I feel as though I should be able to cope with everything alone. I feel as though I am weak for needing help that other people might not need. Now I have been receiving help for a while (seventeen years), it can feel as though I am not recovering ‘fast enough’. Sometimes, I 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. F*ck – I’ve been in services my entire adult life. 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 I can do is to keep reaching out. I don’t need to suffer in silence.
HAVE I USED UP MY SYMPATHY QUOTA???
When I’ve been unwell for a while, it can feel like I’ve had enough time and support from people to last me a lifetime. I feel as though I’ve used up enough of their time, and enough of their sympathy, and that we should be better by now. I feel as though people will be getting sick of me and fed up with me.
There isn’t a set limit to the amount of support we need and deserve. It’s not capped at a certain number of hours. There isn’t a sympathy quota. It might feel like friends or family are fed up with me at times, but it’s much more likely that they’re fed up with my illness than with us – robbing them of a fun-time brother/son/husband/drinking-buddy. Everyone’s recovery will look different, and will take different lengths of time.
I THINK I SHOULD BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT ALONE
Sometimes I don’t ask for help because I feel like depression is something I should be able to deal with alone. I may see my problems as silly or inconsequential. I think I should be able to ‘pull myself together’ and ‘snap out of it’. My illness tells me I deserve to suffer alone (quite vocally – I am psychotic too).
But that’s simply not the case. Every single one of us is worthy of help, and even the strongest people need support. If I had a physical illness I wouldn’t hesitate in getting help from other people. Depression is no different. We can’t heal ourselves by denying its existence. I don’t need to handle it alone.
I’M REALLY TIRED
I’m so tired of fighting. All of my energy is going into just surviving. I don’t have any energy left to explain everything to someone. It’s hard enough just managing minute by minute, without having to try and find the words needed to explain what’s going on inside our heads. Sleep can feel like a more appealing option. That or a big, permanent sleep.
Trying to find the words can feel like a lot of hard work. But sometimes it can be the first step towards getting the help I need to become less tired of everything. Unfortunately, it can sometimes become harder before it becomes easier. But, dammit, I deserve the help and support I need to get me back to my usual self.
I WORRY ABOUT BEING LET DOWN
I worry that if I speak to people, they might offer to do something and then not follow through with it. We are often aware that there can be long waiting lists for certain types of support through the NHS. We would rather have no help at all than inconsistent help or promised help that doesn’t materialise.
I can’t be sure that we will never be let down. That is beyond the remit of the powers invested in me. Waiting times can be frustrating. Having to repeat our story to different people can be difficult and anxiety-provoking.
The fear around being let down is horrible. But until I ask for help, I won’t even get a chance of getting the support that I need. So, in the morning, if I ever sleep, I will be moving my appointment forward with the GP and requesting to see a Psychiatric Hit-Squad (Community Mental Health Team – CMHT).
Reaching out for help – by getting professional support, or by talking to loved ones – is a vital step in escaping the isolation of my illness. As the saying goes, “A problem shared is a problem halved.”
Now then, this is the first time I have written at length about how my illness affects me – I am unsure how it will be received; apologies if I have stepped on any toes with this blog article. That was not my intention. I only use this blog to vent frustration and at the best of times there are only three visitors a day who all try to offer SEO services in the comments section.
I admit I have trawled websites and self help literature to find the words to flesh out what I am trying to say – I figure that if I posted a post that only contained the colour black it would not convey the same sentiment expressed herein.
If you are feeling of a similar ilk – please do not give up. When you find yourself in Hell keep going – it can only get better. Even though it seems there is no way out.