Rrrg. Asking or help is almost impossible. It can be embarrassing, scary, hopeful – overwhelmingly emotional. I don’t know about you, but I spend most of my time during depressive episodes trying not to be emotionally overwhelmed.
To make matters worse – in my experience you have to ask over and over again. I think this is mostly due to stigma and well-intentioned bafflement. Your friends and family don’t want to embarrass you (stigma) and they also have no idea what would help (bafflement).
Only one solid thing came out of my weird, awkward Asking for Help Event, and that was a shared google calendar. Five or so people signed up for a day each week. On that day, they were supposed to call me, text me, somehow check in. That’s it.
The result was extremely helpful, and a little disappointing.
Knowing that there was someone who expected to hear from me, or who was going to reach out, almost every day of the week was incredibly helpful. It felt like a safety net. It quieted the worry, the deep conviction that I was alone and that no one would or could help.
I no longer had to do math in my head if I felt a downward spiral coming on. “Should I call A? No. I called him last week. I should call B? No, she wouldn’t understand this one. What time is it? Will C be awake? Oh! she’s got the kids today – I’m already too much of a burden on her…” And on and on in circles until I felt more desperate than when I began the deliberations. The calendar often allowed me to avoid that conversation altogether – which was priceless.
For the rest of the story – check out Asking for Help #3.