When we have depression, there are times when we need more help. Sometimes we already have some support. Sometimes we don’t have any support at all. But whatever the starting point; the more supported we feel, the more manageable depression feels.
Signs That Our Depression Is Creeping Back
Sometimes we have a brilliant run of things, we feel back on track and our mental health feels good. Then (sometimes out of seemingly nowhere) it can begin to creep back. We don’t always notice it because it can creep back in so slowly and gradually.
The signs that our mental health is declining will be different for different people. Some of our early warning signs could be a change in our sleep habits (either too little, too much or interrupted sleep), a change in our appetite, crying for no obvious reason. We might feel snappy, irritable or short-tempered and find ourselves withdrawing from others.
It can be helpful to write down some of our early depression warning signs and share them with people we trust. Then they can help us to keep an eye out for them. Having a good support network isn’t always about us reaching out (because that’s actually much harder than it sounds), it’s also about those around us ‘reaching in’.
Signs That We Need More Help Than We’re Getting
There are times when we do have a support system, but it’s not quite enough. We might not be seeing a professional often enough, or could feel socially isolated. We could be reaching a stage where our symptoms are beginning to get on top of us. We feel a bit like we’re drowning. Or we feel like we can’t quite catch our breath. If we feel like this, then we might need to ask for some more help.
If we are beginning to feel like we can’t cope, and that we’re not able to stay on top of work, home, or school, or perhaps we feel unsafe, then we absolutely need some more help.
We will often be able to tell when we need a bit more assistance with things, which doesn’t make it any easier to ask for it or always accept it, mind. We might tell ourselves that we can hang on just one more day or week. We tell ourselves that we ‘should be fine’ because we ‘have lots of support’. We tell ourselves that other people need support more than we do. Or perhaps, we’re worried that the support we need might not be there. This vicious circle of thoughts is often a conflict between what we need but what we feel we deserve. We all deserve help.
Is There Help Available?
Sometimes, we know that we need more help, but we have no idea where to get help from. We don’t know where to turn and that’s a scary and overwhelming place to be. We might have heard about funding cuts, limited resources, and long waiting lists, and feel as though it’s not worth reaching out; we don’t want to burden resources, we’re put off by the waiting and we worry we’re taking the help from someone else. These thoughts we have about whether we’re deserving of help, magnify the way mental ill health feels; that we’re unworthy, not enough, a burden.
It’s true that there have been funding cuts and that sometimes we have to wait far longer than is acceptable for help. But it’s not true that we’re a burden for needing help or reaching out for help. The earlier we do so, the better chances we have of getting the help and support we need to prevent us falling deeper into ill health.
And there are lots of places we can get more help from; the more supported we are, the better. Don’t be afraid to seek support from more than one place. We’re complex creatures, us humans, our needs vary and evolve, as does the support we might need.
We often think that people will mind if we ask them for help – that we’ll be ‘putting them out’. But friends and family often really want to help us, they’re not always so sure on the ‘how’. Mental health is a topic rife with stigma and misconception, and so they might feel a little confused as to how to be supportive and helpful. Don’t be afraid to point them in the direction of Blurt’s Guide to Supporting Someone Who Has Depression and welcome their questions to help aid understanding. Quite often, mental health is the ‘elephant in the room’ which means we’re all losing out; on support, but also on the opportunity to learn.
How To Ask For More Help
Asking for help can be really hard. Sometimes we don’t like to admit to ourselves, or anyone else, that we’re struggling as doing so makes us feel vulnerable and vulnerability is uncomfortable. We might find it difficult to express what’s going on for us and we might feel ashamed.
Our GP can often be a good place to start. If we’re under a mental health team, we could contact them, and tell them that we’re struggling. If we feel like we need to, we could contact the crisis team, or go down to A&E. We could also use helplines such as the Samaritans. There are lots of different treatment options for depression.
There are times when we feel like we’re communicating, but people aren’t responding. We might say something like ‘yesterday didn’t go so well’. To us, that means ‘I am really struggling at the moment and yesterday was utterly horrific’. To the person we’re speaking to, it could mean ‘they had a bad day yesterday’. We might say ‘I’m fine’ when we’re anything but.
Letting people in can be hard. Sometimes our boundaries are there to protect us but they can also stop the good stuff, like help, from getting in. People don’t tend to read between the lines, they take what we say at face value and accept what we say as fact. We can be mindful of our automated responses, of the words we use, of how open we are in communicating with others. We could start with ‘I’m really struggling at the moment and I think I need some more help’. Sometimes the awkwardness lies in saying those words aloud, we could opt instead, to text, to write them down.
Needing More Help Is Nothing To Be Ashamed Of
There is absolutely nothing at all to be ashamed of when it comes to asking for help. We all need help to navigate the tricky patches of life.
Asking for more help is hard. It’s a brave thing to do. We shouldn’t feel at all embarrassed or ashamed. Instead, we should be proud that we recognise we need support, and that we’ve been able to ask for it.
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