Depression’s effects are numerous. It can leave you exhausted, anxious, lonely, and stuck in a mental fog. Handling normal tasks such as housework, errands, and work can seem impossible. Many days, you struggle to get out of bed and cry at the drop of a hat. You feel more irritable with your kids and partner, or you feel detached from them. Your life feels like an endless struggle.
You know you need help. Doing it all alone is not possible. But knowing how to ask for help can feel impossible.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be impossible. These suggestions can help you reach out for support.
One of the first hurdles to asking for help when you are depressed is feeling too embarrassed to ask. Likewise, you may feel you do not want to be an imposition. You don’t want to “bother” people. Maybe you are worried that they will think less of you if you ask for help.
This is a good time to practice the cognitive-behavioral strategy of challenging your thoughts. For example, if you tell yourself, “She’s too busy to help me,” counter that thought with, “It’s still okay to ask. If she cannot, she’ll let me know.”
Identify What You Need Help With
In the fog of depression, you may not even know where to begin asking for help. This is okay. If you need to, you can even reach out to a trusted friend or a therapist to help you identify what you need help with.
Otherwise, begin by making a list of what you are struggling with. Try to pinpoint what others can do to help. For example, do you need emotional support, more time with friends, or help with everyday tasks? Next, brainstorm the names of people you can reach out to.
Depression can make it hard to do even the smallest of everyday tasks. When this happens, it’s helpful to make a list of small, practical ways to ask for support. When you have a specific, practical thing to ask for help with, it can make it easy for people to say yes.
Maybe you need help picking up groceries, helping you find a therapist, running errands, or texting and calling to check in on you a few times a week.
When you reach out to someone, decide what you’ll ask them to help with. Try giving them a few options. Perhaps, “Would you be able to either pick up a few things at the store for me or instead help me plan some easy meals?”
People often say, “Just let me know if you need any help.” When you have a specific way, they can lend a hand, this makes it easier for them to act on this promise.
Sometimes it’s harder to ask for emotional support than it is for practical help. But when you are living with depression, time with others is vital, even if you don’t feel like being around anyone.
Try asking family members if they can take a few minutes each day to check in with you. A quick call or message can help. It can be even better if you are able to ask a friend to visit you, take a walk with you, or even drive you to an appointment. This will give you a chance to talk in the car. Please follow Covid-19 safety guidelines.
It’s okay to need help when you’re depressed. Sometimes, finding a mental health therapist will be the best way to start moving forward. As experienced therapists at The Relationship Centre, we have helped many people find their way through the fog of depression. Please call our office to learn more.