This article will guide and empower individuals struggling with depression on how to take the crucial first step in seeking help and embarking on their healing journey.
Depression is the most common mental health disorder around the world. Internationally over 50% of people struggle with depression. Across the United States over 30% of adults struggle with depression. It is important that if you are feeling depressed, you know how to ask for help and start yourself along your healing journey.
Signs it’s time to get help
Signs and red flags that it’s time to get help can look different from one person to the next. You might recognize signs early on that you are experiencing behavioral changes, maybe you no longer hang out with your friends and family, you keep yourself socially isolated, you feel hopeless all the time, and you don’t really see the point in living. Maybe you are struggling with symptoms of insomnia and changes in appetite and weight. Instead, you might be struggling with thoughts of self-harm.
Without addressing depression and seeking help, symptoms can get worse. They can lead to secondary mental health disorders, and they can have physical health ramifications as well as mental health ramifications.
Challenges of asking for help
Asking for help with depression isn’t easy. Many people are still afraid of societal stigma or personal fears.
- Mothers struggling with postpartum depression, for example, might feel like they have failed as a parent or they are unsuited to be a mother.
- Men who are struggling with depression later in life might feel like they aren’t masculine enough or that other men will judge them for needing help.
If you find yourself struggling with signs of depression, don’t let internal concerns or the judgment of external sources stop you from getting the help you need. Have enough self-awareness to accept that it might be time to rely on someone else for help and identify safe spaces and people to whom you can turn and ask for that help.
Practical steps on how to ask for help with depression
– Tips on how to initiate the conversation
If you want to know how to ask for help when depressed, it can be hard to figure out the right words when the time comes. You might go through your speech in your head but then when you are sitting across from someone asking for help with depression, the words don’t come to you.
In these cases, you can use things like phrases or scripts that you write down. You can even ask the individual to close their eyes or look away from you so that you don’t feel additional pressure while trying to get out what you need to say.
– In-person vs. written communication
For a lot of people, asking for help when depressed is terrifying. Depression makes it such that the only thing you want in the world is for someone to notice that you need help and to offer it without you having to ask but at the same time you are absolutely terrified that anyone will notice that you need help.
To deal with this, don’t be afraid to use written communication if in-person communication is too burdensome for you. Sometimes individuals don’t ask for help when people are around because they don’t end up depressed until they are home or they are alone again.
No matter how you feel or when you feel it, you can use things like letters, emails, or even text messages to ask for help. Today there are several forms of teletherapy and helpline services that make it easy to ask for help when depressed without having to pick up the phone and call someone or go somewhere. Sometimes all you can manage is to write an email or send a message and a text and that’s perfectly fine; there are professionals here to help you.
– Finding the right support
Knowing how to ask for help with depression means facing the hard truth that people might not respond the way you want or expect them to. Not everyone responds the same way.
Some people offer platitudes because they don’t know what else to say. Others might write it off as just being “sad” and telling you to “choose” not to be.
If you aren’t getting the right support from the friends and family to whom you reach out, please seek professional help. Personal connections don’t always provide the support you need, but you should never let that stop you from reaching out again.
What comes after asking for help
Once you ask for help with depression, you need to know what comes next.
– Healing is not linear
Firstly, you need to understand that healing is not linear. The process can ebb and flow. you might make great strides and then find yourself with the same symptoms you had before you got help or with worse symptoms depending on the circumstances. You might find yourself making only small gains and then struggling with severe symptoms all over again.
No matter the steps you take, it’s important to recognize that you are healing even if the process is not linear.
– Celebrate small victories and milestones
On that note it’s imperative that you celebrate small victories and milestones. A big part of depression treatment will likely involve help from professionals like a cognitive behavioral therapist or depression therapist and this will incorporate things like homework or personal goals.
After you complete your tasks or achieve those goals, take time to celebrate those small victories no matter how inconsequential they might seem at the moment.
– Cultivate relationships that nurture mental well-being
Once you learn how to ask for help with depression you’ll need to learn how to cultivate relationships that nurture your mental well-being. It might be a hard truth that some of the people in your life right now do not offer the support you need to improve your mental well-being.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut people out of your life but it does mean that you should take time to cultivate those relationships which offer the highest level of support and maybe even find new relationships in which to invest time and effort.
– Maintain an open dialogue about mental health
Be sure to maintain an open dialogue about your mental health with those around you including family, friends, and any mental health treatment professionals with whom you work. You should always be open and honest about your well-being, your needs, your successes, and your failures, and you should always feel comfortable asking for help with depression.
If you are struggling, don’t wait to learn how to ask for help with depression. Reach out to those around you or to professional mental health services using things like written communication, telehealth services, or any other form of communication with which you’re most comfortable. take the first step today to begin your healing journey.