Asking for Help with Your Mental Health
Depression can be something that is incredibly hard to talk about, not least for the person who is experiencing this condition. Often, the person with depression is not fully aware of their symptoms. It may have developed over a number of weeks or months, and it can be difficult at first to recognise that this is not just a bad day or that they are a bit run down. Depression affects mood, thoughts and behaviour, so if feelings of isolation, hopelessness, exhaustion and withdrawing from loved ones and friends are on-going, then it is time to talk to someone.
Some of the symptoms of depression include:
- Continuous low mood or sadness
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling shame or guilt
- Irritability and intolerance
- Loss of interest in activities that have previously been enjoyed
- Lack of motivation or interest
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Having suicidal thoughts or harming yourself
Support can be found from a number of different places, including friends and family, your GP and specialist services. Taking that first step can sometimes feel like the hardest obstacle to overcome.
Below are some tips for seeking help:
Know that depression is not a sign of weakness
Recognise that your feelings and experiences do not mean that you are not strong or that you should feel ashamed. Depression is a result of a mix of environmental and biological factors and can be experienced by anyone at any time regardless of background, experience, age or gender.
Avoid the temptation to isolate yourself
This condition can create feelings of lethargy, irritation and hopelessness. These emotions can make you want to hide away and be alone, but spending time with other people can be a real benefit to you on your road to recovery.
Talk about your feelings
This can be difficult, especially as some of your emotions might be difficult to articulate or to share with others. But having a support network is key and sharing your thoughts and feelings can mean that the people have a greater understanding of how they can help you. They may be able to give practical help with errands or responsibilities, accompany you to medical appointments, or just go for a walk or to the cinema with you. Don’t underestimate the difference that sharing with someone you trust can make – the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is relevant here.
Seek help from a professional
Friends and family can be a great support, but there are also people who specialise in the treatment and support of someone with depression and they can help to personalise a treatment plan for you. This could be through medication, but they may also be able to direct you to talking therapies, activities to boost endorphins or support groups.
Asking for help takes courage and can be a challenge in itself, but it can also be a vital step in helping you gain control and equilibrium. Don’t suffer in silence – take a small step to make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.