Isolation and withdrawal are far too common with mental illness. It is easier to suffer in silence than reach out, speak up and ask for help. Or is it?
Receiving help and support is key to moving onwards and upwards through depression. Implementing this as part of your everyday routine is a gift you not only give to yourself, you also give to others.
Imagine a Loved One Not Asking for Help
Imagine a loved one, someone you deeply care about, in deep pain and darkness. You do not know as each time you see them they seem happy and carefree. What would you say if you found out they were in pain and didn’t let you know? By not reaching out and asking for help you are robbing your loved ones the opportunity to help and support you. You are also robbing them of choice, making an assumption of how they will respond.
There is no shame in asking for help, actually it shows a tremendous amount of courage.
An excerpt from A Quiet Strong Voice:
“So how do I move past these barriers and actually ask people for help?” I ask the instructor, sharing with her that throughout this journey I have done a good job of wearing a mask so that people see me as a happy and healthy person.
She gives me many wonderful tips, but one comment in particular really hits home with me. She looks directly at me and says, “Imagine one of your daughters going through a difficult time. Now, imagine she has no one to support her because she chooses not to ask for help.” I stop dead in my tracks, tears welling up in my eyes as I imagine my eldest daughter alone, in pain and not asking for help. Immediately I understand how important it is to do this, not only for myself, but also as a model for my daughters. The walls of resistance I have built come tumbling down. I think about what it would look like if the girls chose to hide behind masks, too.
How Do I Speak Up and Ask for Help?
The most effective way to speak up and ask for help is to have an emotional support team. A team of friends, family or professionals who are there to help you through the challenging times. Knowing who to reach out to and how takes away the guesswork.
Step 1 – Who is Your Support Team?
Consider people in your life who are honest with you and have your best interests at heart. Make sure you have a mixture of personal and business support. Write down the names of at least three people.
Step 2 – Ask
Phone the people you have listed for your support team and explain to them that you are setting up a plan to support you in challenging times.
- Let them know why you have chosen them (e.g. trust, friendship, role model.)
- What do you need from them (e.g. honesty, friendship, acceptance, a listening ear, accountability.)
- Ensure you have all their contact information (e.g. email, cell phone, work phone, address.) ask them the best way to contact them.
Step 3 – Put Your Emotional Support Team into Action
Some of the most effective plans miss one crucial step – action. You can create a word document, excel spreadsheet, a colorful poster. Now place it in numerous areas that are easily accessible:
- Technology – iPhone wallpaper, laptop
Below is an example of an Emotional Health Plan that you can use as a template.
You are not alone through this journey, there is help and support at hand. You can also locate 24-Hour Crisis Lines near you by visiting Befrienders.org.