This story has been copied and pasted. Please visit The Mighty for more stories from contributors like me who speak out about mental health and submit your own story!
How I Ask for Help When My Depression Takes Control
It seems like it’s one thing after another and it can get pretty discouraging. Just when you think you got your head above water, you are pulled under with another problem, right?
Well, it happens and there are ways to stay strong.
This week, I have talked to friends, my husband and used lots of coping skills. I used self-care such as meditation, prayer and aromatherapy. I also cuddled my cats and watched funny movies. These all seem like simple, commonsense things to do, but when you are struggling with anxiety and depression, these actions can take a lot of energy.
If you struggling and all you can do is play a game on your phone, chat with a friend or even take a nap, then that is amazing! Do what you can do. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting other things done.
It’s important to know your limits and what you can handle while you are struggling. You can get all the other stuff done later.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you need help with housework, ask a trusted source in your life. If you need help with encouragement, ask someone. If you just need help venting, go journal or ask a friend.
Sometimes, it’s hard to talk to others about our struggles. We are afraid of being misunderstood, but it can be easier than you may think. You can say to a trusted friend or loved one:
“Hi, I know you may not understand what I am going through, but I could really use someone to talk to. Can you just listen and not give any advice?”
“Hey, I need a vent! Can I tell you what’s been going on? I don’t need any advice, just an open ear.”
So why would these strategies work? Well, our loved ones want to help us and even sometimes fix the problems so that we don’t struggle. When we vent to them and they try to advise us, sometimes it ends in an argument and then we avoid talking to them again because we feel misunderstood and they feel confused.
When you tell them that you don’t need advice or even a solution to your struggles, it takes pressure off you both.
Always ask for help when you need a solution, but if you just need to vent, consider starting your conversations like the ones above.
My mom and I have always had trouble understanding one another and she struggles with me. She’s a mom, she wants to help me and make me better, but I don’t always need that. When I need to vent, I just tell her, “Mom, I just need to talk, but I don’t need advice. Can you just listen?” OK, maybe not in those exact words (shy people may laugh at this), but this is something she understands without feeling hurt if she isn’t able to fix the problem. It helps us both have a calm conversation and it helps me feel like I am understood and that my feelings are valid.
Anxiety and depression are hard. It’s a lifelong struggle for a lot of us, and we sometimes have a tendency to bottle things up and then explode later, making things worse.
For those in our life who don’t struggle with this, it’s not only confusing for them, but frustrating.
Think of someone you love having a problem that you can’t fix. It’s a frustrating thought not being to help someone you love so much, right?
Another thing you can do is a write a letter. Write it out, read it back to yourself over and over again. Sometimes you don’t even need to send it, you just need to get it out!
And last, but not least: know when to apologize. (I have learned this the hard way).
When we deal with anxiety, panic, depression and other issues, it’s hard to see our own actions and how they affect others. Sometimes it feels like the world is against us and since we are ultra-sensitive in those times, something someone says that they mean to be helpful may feel critical to us.
If you realize you may have hurt someone close to you or maybe you said something you shouldn’t have, make sure to express that to them and apologize.
“Hey, I am really sorry I hurt you. I’m going through a tough time. I really appreciate your support.”
Just leave it at that. The ball is in their court now and you can put that regret away and move on. Don’t beat yourself up. You are doing the best you can!