Asking for help can be scary. When you’re depressed, or experiencing mood swings, you don’t have the motivation to do much of anything. Some people have trouble getting up in the morning and others have chronic insomnia when they’re depressed. It can be difficult to ask for help when you’re having trouble functioning due to lack of sleep or lethargy. Having a lack of energy can make it hard to push oneself to ask for help because you just don’t see the point. The truth is that you can ask for what you need, even if you don’t feel capable. Here are 6 ways to ask for help when you need it.
- Talk to a Friend - Maybe it’s hard to say the words “I need help.” You don’t actually need to do that. Call a friend or ask to meet them for coffee. If you are having trouble leaving your house, which happens when you suffer from depression, tell your friend what’s happening. It can be as simple as “I’m having a hard time getting out of bed.” This is the first step to asking for the help you need. They don’t have to solve the problem, but they can be there to support you.
- Ask More Than One Person – You’ve heard the expression “don’t put your eggs in more than one basket.” Confide in a friend, talk to an online friend on Facebook or Twitter, call your mom, or speak to a colleague about what’s happening. You never know what will happen if you have the courage to open up. But, the more people you talk to, the better chances you have of finding the one who “gets it."
- Start Small – It might be hard to ask for help when the request seems large. Start with something that doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Let’s say you’re having trouble getting a paper done and it’s overdue. Call a classmate and ask if they might be able to help you brainstorm the topic. You don’t have to write the entire paper this moment. Start with something manageable first.
- Take One Action – It’s hard to take the first step, but it doesn’t have to be a large step. Think about eating an apple. You don’t swallow the entire thing in one bite. You eat little pieces at a time. It can be as simple as checking out an online counseling site. An online therapist is a trained mental health professional who can help you to find ways to help yourself. You don’t have to talk to anyone on the phone, just fill out a simple form. This is a way of asking for help in a clear-cut manner.
- Reward Yourself – One way to motivate yourself to ask for help is to give yourself a reward for reaching out to someone to help. Whether this means watching your favorite show on Netflix or taking yourself out to dinner, you deserve to be celebrated. Asking for help is hard.
- Positive Self-Talk – Before you ask for help, remind yourself that it’s okay to seek it out. We all go through tough times in life and asking for support is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. You have insight into your emotions and you’re taking control of your mental health.
Asking for help isn’t easy, but when you do it you are taking the first step towards feeling better. This is your life and you deserve to live it how you want to.
About the Author
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.
Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.