How To Ask For Help With Depression
Depression is an isolating and lonely illness, but getting some support from other people can help to keep sufferers going. The numbers of sufferers are increasing year on year. In Los Angeles County alone, reports of depression have gone up since 1999 by 50%.
Yet, it’s often difficult to know when to get help, and also, how to ask for that help. Here, we take a look at how to know when the time has come to reach out to others for support, and how to go about asking.
Should I Reach Out For Support?
You should seek help as quickly as possible if you believe you’re suffering from depression. There are several symptoms to be aware of linked to depression. If you’re feeling sad, low and tearful, are suffering from guilt or poor self-esteem, lack motivation, have difficulties sleeping or even feel suicidal for more than two or three weeks, you should seek medical advice.
The stigma that surrounds depression is slowly reducing. It’s now recognized that people from all walks of like can suffer from this all-too-common condition. Men and women, old and young, people of all ethnicities and all sexual orientations are equally likely to be affected. Therefore, there’s no shame in admitting that you need some help.
Despite this, though, it can be hard to take the plunge and speak to another person to ask for support and assistance.
Who Can I Talk To?
The first step in asking for help for depression is to choose the right person to approach. There are many people you could speak to if you’re feeling depressed. If you’re close to friends or family members, you could approach them. If you’re part of a religious community, you could choose to speak to your religious leader or pastoral lead. If you’re in education, you could approach a trusted teacher, nurse or counselor at your institution.
You could even reach out to a charity that could help with your situation. There are also self-help sessions and support groups that run in most local areas that you could join to get the support you need. Many of these run in the Southern California and Los Angeles area.
The key is to choose the person or people who you feel you can trust and who you believe can offer you the additional support and understanding that you need.
How Can I Communicate?
Everyone has their own preference in terms of communication. While some of us prefer talking, others find it hard to open up in this way. If you struggle to communicate through words, writing your thoughts down could help you to process them.
If you’re unable to find words of your own, using quotes you relate to may prove helpful, or you may even prefer to draw, paint, make collages, or use images created by other people to convey the way you feel.
How you talk about depression with others can vary. You may want to meet up and go for a walk or a coffee to tell them in person about your feelings. You may prefer to tell another person on the telephone. There’s no need to do things in a different or special way when you decide to talk about the way you’re feeling. You can simply talk to people around us just as you would usually do.
You may not feel able to tell somebody face-to-face, but you may feel able to tell a family member or friend in an email or a text. You may even want to leave a note for a teacher or a religious leader, or complete a form at a local charity or mental health team.
There are plenty of ways of communicating, and it’s fine to communicate in any way that feels right to you.
Where Do I Begin?
It’s often challenging to find the right words to tell another person you’re feeling depressed. One of the best ways to begin to do this is to draw up a list of things that are making you think you could be suffering from depression. If you can write your symptoms down, you won’t forget anything that could prove to be important later on, and you’ll also have something to show the person you need to speak to if your words fail you at the last moment.
It’s only natural to have anxiety about telling other people you have depression. After all, it isn’t something we generally talk about on a daily basis. Yet, you shouldn’t feel any shame about what you’re feeling. You’re still yourself, whether or not you’re suffering from depression. However, depression is an illness that has an impact on the way you feel and the way in which you’re experiencing the world.
Some people find it helpful to have web links that they can show their friends, family members or other people that they choose to open up to. These links can answer any questions they have and help them to understand what you’re going through.
Learn To Say You Aren’t OK
You may not feel ready to go into detail about the way that you’re feeling at the moment. You may be unable to describe precisely how you feel, or put your finger on the reasons why you feel so bad. Rest assured that you don’t actually have to. What you do need to do, though, is admit to others that you’re not ok.
How often have other people asked you if you’re ok and you’ve mindlessly said yes because you think it’s what you’re expected to say and what they want to hear? We all do this from time to time, but people suffering from depression tend to do it routinely, even though they’re finding it extremely difficult to cope with everyday life.
Being able to tell other people that you’re not actually alright and that you don’t feel well is a great first step towards getting the help that you need for your problem. By simply saying that you aren’t ok out loud, you can start to reverse the isolation that is keeping you trapped in the depression you’re experiencing.
Ask Somebody Else To Get Help For You
For many people with depression, the primary obstacle holding them back from getting the help that they need is finding the courage and motivation that they need to seek out the help in the first place. If it feels as if it’s too difficult to call a doctor and arrange an appointment to discuss your issues, ask somebody to give you some help with this first step of the treatment process. Ask a loved one or friend to call the doctor and request an appointment on your behalf. If you would be happier with a little more support, you could even ask that they come to the appointment with you. Often, it’s easier to face a doctor to discuss your problems with a supportive friend or family member by your side and they can also help you to remember the key points you need to raise and help by explaining the symptoms that they’ve noticed on your behalf.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get A Diagnosis
It’s surprising how many people with depression actually fear getting a diagnosis. Often, while they suspect they may be suffering from a mental health disorder, when it’s made official they feel stigmatized and feel as if their identity is being threatened. It’s important to recognize that, whether or not you receive an official diagnosis, depression will still weigh heavily on you. Once you have an official diagnosis, you will have the options put in front of you that can help you begin the journey towards recovery. If you never get a diagnosis, then effective treatment will remain unreachable and, over time, your depression will probably get worse.
What If I Didn’t Get The Response I Wanted?
Unfortunately, when you open up to somebody, you don’t always get the response you wanted.
This was something that Laura, a young mom who went to see her doctor about her depression experienced.
“I felt as if my doctor just wasn’t taking me seriously” she said. “I felt like he just wasn’t listening or taking anything I was saying on board”.
After feeling as if she had been fobbed off and told that what she was suffering from was a simple case of the baby blues, she eventually decided to return to her doctor after writing down her symptoms, feelings and emotions.
“I think that being armed with the list really helped me to get through to my doctor”. She said. “It helped me to clarify my thoughts and ensure I hadn’t missed anything out”.
Family and friends also sometimes react in ways that are difficult to cope with.
This was something that Jake, a man in his 30s who decided to talk to his father about the way he was feeling.
“I was really shocked and hurt by my Dad’s reaction”. Jake said. “He seemed to think that it was my fault that I was feeling this way and that I wasn’t trying hard enough to pull myself together and get better”.
After talking later to a therapist, Jake realized that his father’s reaction hadn’t been deliberately unkind, but that it had come from a place of fear – he simply didn’t know how he could help his son and so he fell back on some of his preconceived ideas about what depression should look like.
His therapist advised him to show his Dad some online videos that explained the symptoms he was experiencing so that he could begin to understand the problems he was facing. He also pointed him in the direction of an online support group for families of those with mental health problems where he found advice to help him to help his son.
No Signs Of Weakness
Reaching out to others to ask for help certainly isn’t a sign that you’re weak. It’s natural that we often feel as if we should sort ourselves our or just get on with things when we’re experiencing the symptoms of depression. Often, we don’t wish to burden other people and put a lot of stigma on ourselves that we wouldn’t dream of putting on other people. After all, if your friend was having difficulties, you would surely wish to help them get through their problems. It stands to reason that your friend will want to help you too. There should be no shame in reaching out to others to help you through depression. It could even be the strongest thing you ever do.
Getting Help For Depression Improves Your Life
In the vast majority of cases, depression won’t come all at once. Rather, it grows on you, developing gradually over time. However, it can grow out of all proportion, overwhelming you before you become truly aware of its presence.
Depressive disorders are caused by imbalances inside you and you cannot rebalance them by yourself. This means that the more quickly you’re able to get treatment and help for your condition, the sooner you can into recovery, learning how to live a better quality of life.
Depression is a surprisingly common condition, especially in Los Angeles where around 30% of people are experiencing depression at some level at any one time. Therefore, there is no longer such a severe stigma surrounding suffering from this disorder.
Treatment options also have become more effective and more accessible as demand has grown. Whether you require an inpatient treatment center or outpatient care with family and group therapies, individual therapies, medication or holistic options, you can be confident that seeking help as quickly as possible is the very best way to eventually relieve your symptoms, learn new coping strategies and develop ways of thriving.
While progress is almost always gradual when recovering from depression, once you have the courage to ask for help and accept the support that you receive, you will soon find a way to get back to a more normal way of life. Take the first step by reaching out to The Meadowglade.