Help. For a lot of people this is something easy to say. If you’re struggling with something you should ask for assistance. Most people don’t mind an honest ask for help when you’re having trouble with something. But when it comes to mental illness this is one of the hardest words to say. It’s often the last thing that is said. Help from others becomes the last resort.
For me personally, asking for help was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Was it pride?
Fear of judgment?
Honestly, it was a little of all those things. Many people don’t want to admit they need help, I can attest to that. I’d much rather try and figure something out myself than have a crutch or someone else holding my hand along the way. But there comes a point when even you can’t help yourself in your life. Eventually you start drowning too fast and can’t tread the water anymore. So when the water started filling into my lungs, did I ask for help then?
Because that’s when all the other fears from asking for help came in.
In regards to my depression (or any other mental illness) it’s very likely that you’ve had at least one occasion where someone you thought was your friend or who loved you didn’t understand what you were going through. Maybe it was a subtle “You have no reason to be sad” or “It’s all in your head, I get depressed too” “There’s so many people who have it worse than you, cheer up”. Or maybe it was a straight up rejection of your feelings. With people telling you that you’re making up everything you’re saying. “you want attention” “you’re so dramatic”. All of these things I’ve heard so many times that I started to think I was the one in the wrong. All these people keep telling me it’s in my head and I’m fine. So what is wrong with me? I must be broken. I’m at fault.
And once I reached that moment where I truly felt alone I felt no one would understand. These problems would be mine and no one else’s, because I’m all alone in this. So there I sat quietly suffering for a long time. Trying to heal everything myself while also being my own worst enemy didn’t work to well. And eventually I reached that point where the water hadn’t just filled my lungs, it had occupied my entire body. I broke.
And it was the best thing to ever happen to me. When I hit that breaking point, when all the pressure built up, when heaven itself descended upon my shoulders, I asked for help. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. And not everyone understood. A lot didn’t care. A lot brushed me aside. But there were people who understood. People who would do anything for me to get me through the day. People who would call me at 4 A.M to make sure I’m okay. People who loved me.
The truth was I wasn’t alone. I was so terrified of people judging me or thinking I was broken that I never spoke up. It took me actually breaking to admit I needed help, but I never should of waited that long. I never should of waited at all. While it’s true that education on mental illness is severely lacking and a stigma still exists, there are people out there who will listen. There are people out there who will care. You are not alone and you are loved. If you open up to someone who is a friend and they reject what you’re saying, as much as you may not want to hear it, they aren’t a friend at all. The world is full of people fighting the fight, and you’d be surprised at how many are suffering in silence just like you. Speak up, make your voice heard.
And never be afraid to ask for help.
You are loved.
Comment below with your experiences, the triumphs and failures, with asking for help. You may find you’re not alone at all.
Want to submit to this site and share your story, art, or article related to mental health or mental illness? Email firstname.lastname@example.org