For Anyone Who Doesn’t Like Reaching Out for Help When Depressed
Difficulty in asking for and accepting help is a common problem for a lot of people. In wanting to seem self-reliant and capable, and in living in a society that triumphs the “pushing on through” mentality, asking for help can feel like a negative action — a sign of failure. In my experience, it is even harder for those of us who live with depression. On top of the societal pressure to be self-reliant, the low self-esteem and shame that comes alongside depression mean we often overcompensate and try to appear OK when we really are not.
For this reason, I have often found it helpful to remind myself of all the reasons why asking for and receiving help is a valuable skill and a positive action.
1. Asking for help is a strength.
Quite the opposite of being a weakness, asking for help shows a huge amount of inner strength. Being able to admit one’s vulnerability and be honest enough to say you need help takes a great deal of courage.
2. Asking for help is empowering.
Recognizing we need help shows a high level of self-awareness. Being able to recognize and ask for what we need puts the power back in our hands rather than in the hands of our depression.
3. Receiving help increases our self-esteem.
Our inner critic can convince us we are worthless. When we receive the kind help of others, it reminds us we are genuinely cared for and worthwhile.
4. Asking for help makes us realize we are not alone.
Depression can feel isolating. Often, when we share our struggles with others, they, in turn, share theirs with us. This helps us to realize we are not the only ones who feel this way.
5. Receiving help is an act of kindness.
Helping someone feels good, and frequently, in advising someone else, we see our own solutions more easily. Understanding this has been helpful in my own struggle to accept help from others and not feel like I am “putting them out.” Asking for and receiving help, far from being selfish or needy, is, in fact, a two-way transaction where both parties benefit.
I have found it helpful to keep a list of all these reasons, so that when I’m in a period of depression and anxiety, and finding it all too easy to convince myself I’m not worthy of help and shouldn’t ask for it, I can refer to this list and remind myself that quite the opposite is true.