A few months after my diagnosis I realized that I was desperate for help. I had moved to my home town, a city full of friends and family with whom I had great relationships, but I felt like no one could hear me scream.
Enter: that shitty, mean voice. When I thought about getting help, I couldn’t stop focusing on how it wouldn’t actually fix anything. Even if all my friends and family acted exactly as I wanted them to, I would still be terribly depressed. It wouldn’t fix the traumas I’d suffered in the past, it wouldn’t fix the disillusionment I had good reason to suffer from in the present, and it wouldn’t fix my racing thoughts or terrible nightmares. So why bother? Especially if it’s so hard. Why bother.
Eventually I recognized something in that line of reasoning. It reminded me of that voice that wouldn’t let me enjoy a run years earlier. That, “I’m still in control. Your efforts are useless,” voice.
But the thing is, the voice brought up a good point. Asking for help wouldn’t fix everything. It probably wouldn’t even fix anything. For me, that’s the hardest part. The voice always seems to have some grain of truth to it, twisted around to make me feel helpless.
I went back and forth about this for weeks. Racing thoughts, rumination. Should I ask for help? How? Why can’t they tell I need it? What good would it do? What do I want from them, anyway? I had no idea.
So I did a weird and awkward thing. I invited eight people – my parents and some close friends – and I had a fucking Asking For Help, like, straight up Event. There were chips, there were peanuts, there were two people skyped in from other cities, and there was me, explaining what I now understood to be my history with depression, and saying I didn’t know what I needed from them but that I needed them desperately.
I realize in hindsight that I was putting my foot down against the voice, against the back-and-forth about whether anyone could ever help at all. I was asking for help in such a public and shared way that I wouldn’t be able to go back on it. No one could pretend it hadn’t happened.
It didn’t fix anything.
But it helped.