How to Ask for Help When You’re Depressed
Asking for help for depression can be difficult, but it’s the best way to move past your helpless, hopeless mood. Here’s how to reach out and get the help you need.
“Grief comes and goes, but depression is unremitting.” – Kay Redfield Jamison. You may be depressed if your feelings of lethargy, sadness, isolation, and hopelessness don’t go away.
Knowing what depression feels like is an important part of getting help. We all feel sad and bored sometimes – even hopeless! – but depression is unrelenting. It’s like a black cloud constantly hanging over you, not letting up for one minute. Its heavy, and lies on top of you. It stops you from enjoying life, getting out of bed, trying new things, or moving forward in your life.
How to Ask for Help When You’re Depressed
Clinical depression affects millions of North Americans every year; the best and healthiest way to survive feelings of depression is to ask for help for hopeless or sad feelings. These five ways to get support for depression will help you survive (and even thrive!).
Remember that depression isn’t just about sad feelings
Sometimes, depression is like a constant, negative stream of self-criticism and self-loathing. People with depression can feel constantly doomed to hopelessness, disappointment, failure, and hopelessness. Depression is a serious emotional health issue – it’s not “just” feeling sad or having a bad day.
If you feel more depressed in the winter, read Seasonal Depression Disorder – How Light Therapy Helps.
Get information about depression
When asking for help for depression, learn as much as you can about hopeless or sad feelings, anxiety, clinical depression, and dysthymia (mild depression). Learning about mental health – and the causes of depression – can help you overcome sad, hopeless feelings.
Start thinking about who can help you cope with depression
Some workplaces offer psychological help or counseling for employees; explore that type of support if you feel depressed. Put any feelings of embarrassment or fear of social stigma aside; more people than you realize struggle with mental health issues!
If you’re a student, talk to your guidance counselor or a teacher you trust. Call a distress line, depression help hotline, suicide line – there are many different types of support for hopeless feelings.
Be honest and real when asking for help for depressed feelings
Be prepared to discuss the following questions:
- How long have you struggled with depressed, sad, or hopeless feelings?
- Was there a specific event that may have caused the depression?
- What symptoms or signs of depression are you coping with?
- What prescription medications are you taking?
- Have you been diagnosed with clinical depression in the past?
- Have you taken antidepressants in the past?
A counselor or psychologist may have a depression questionnaire for you to fill out. The best way to get help for depression is to be as honest and specific as possible.
Write a list of questions to ask about depression
Before seeking support for hopeless feelings, prepare a list of questions, such as:
- What’s the best treatment for this type of depression?
- What resources can you offer for overcoming depression?
- If I take antidepressants, what are the emotional and physical side effects?
- What are some lifestyle changes I can make to help with sad feelings?
- How do I tell people about my depression – or should I keep it quiet?
Preparing a list of questions about depression is not necessary for getting support, but it can help focus your thoughts.
Search for online help for depression
Though asking for help for depression is best in-person, there are many online support organizations for depression. Visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s Depression Information page. If you’re struggling with thoughts of death or hurting yourself, visit The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Find reputable depression forums or discussions online – but don’t substitute online support when you’re struggling with hopeless feelings. The best treatment for depression is in-person, with a psychologist, counselor, or doctor.
Asking for help for depression is the first step towards feeling better – and returning to a happy, healthy life. Another thing that might help you cope with depressed feelings is to write about it. I encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings below.
If you’re depressed because of a recent break up, read 7 Ways to Deal With Depression After a Breakup.
I welcome your thoughts on depression in the comments section below. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but you may find it helpful to share your experience.
Source: Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping With Symptoms, and More by Ruth C. White and John D. Preston. (New Harbinger Publications, 2009).