Depression – How to Ask for Help

A woman with blonde hair holds her forehead as if worried. - 9/28/2021

Finding it hard to function from day-to-day for longer than two weeks, may be a sign of depression. Major depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States. More than 25 million Americans are finding it hard to get out of bed each day.  

A few common symptoms:

  • Irritable
  • Loss of interest in almost all activities
  • Change in body weight (increase or decrease)
  • Tiredness, Fatigue or low energy
  • Sense of worthlessness
  • Impaired ability to think, make decision, or concentrate
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (fear of death, suicidal ideation or suicide attempts)

Determining if You Are Depressed

If you aren’t sure if you are experiencing clinical depression, start by ruling out other causes or related conditions. Assess your life for any medications that may mimic the symptoms of depression. Ask your doctor if a medication has side effects, and if so, can you take something different that achieves the same goal. 

Be honest with yourself when considering the amount of alcohol you drink. Are you taking an illicit drug or another substance that seems to “make it all go away” when you consume it? Consider how often you take it and if you actually rely on it to feel emotion. Another question to ask yourself is do you yearn for “a pill” that will make it all go away?

How to Ask for Help

Asking for help can be scary. It might make you feel vulnerable or threatened. For instance, you might wonder: “Will I lose my job if they know?” “Will she think I’ve gone crazy?” “Will they lock me up and throw away the key?” “Will I lose my family?” 

Start by reflecting on the relationships in your life. Is there a trusted person you can reach out to such as a family member, friend, co-worker, counselor or clergy? If you can think of someone, consider a few approaches to open the conversation: 

  • “I haven’t felt right lately. Can I talk to you about it?
  • “I’m having a really hard time lately. Will you go with me to see someone?”
  • “I’m worried about stuff that’s going on right now. Do you have time to talk?”

Trust is a big part of asking for help. 

How Can You Help Yourself

Self-care is critical in staving off depression and maintaining a good emotional, physical and spiritual quality of life. You’ve probably heard it many times, but it rings true. Here goes. We’ll say it again! Focus on the three key ingredients of self-care:

  1. Sleep
  2. Diet
  3. Exercise

Another action you can take is to share your story. Join a group in which you feel comfortable at a college, church, or community organization. Tell others about your struggle and ask about theirs. In helping each other understand the struggle of depression, each person is helping someone else. That feels good.

Depressive disorders are difficult to work through, and there is no “one size fits all.” Landing on an effective treatment is possible. What’s important is to thoroughly evaluate your life, be honest, and work with a professional to develop a treatment plan that specifically targets your life situation. 

According to NAMI, one in five Americans experiences a mental health condition, so you are not alone. That doesn’t mean you don’t matter. It means you are among other people who understand depression and are willing to help you get better. So please, ask for help. 

If you need help and are not in a crisis, call:

  • Lakeview Center Central Registration 850.469.3500 (Northwest Florida)

Experiencing a crisis? Call:

  • 911 if at risk for suicide or harm to others
  • Mobile Response Team 866.517.7766 (Northwest Florida)