The amount of love that surrounded me yesterday was breathtaking. Everyone who reached out, or even just read my post, you are the reason the world will continue to become a better place. There are so many who struggle or at least identify with a darkness or an unexplainable pain, and reaching out can help them feel they are not outside of love or compassion.
So on that note, I’d like to share a few tips on how to tell someone you are depressed/sad/anxious. It’s harder than one would think. How do you turn to your ever enthusiastic friends and tell them you cry for no reason at all? How do you explain a pain you yourself don’t understand?
Before I jump into the list, I want to illustrate the way depression/sadness/anxiety works. (at least for me)
This is what mental illness looks like. Kinda like a booger.
And he talks to you. Every mental monster says different things. This is how mine talks to me.
Here’s what most mental monster’s feed on.
Seclusion Type A.
No friends. Just netflix and frosted mini wheats.
Seclusion Type B.
Spending time with people, going out, maybe drinking, but keeping conversation surface level. Feels just as lonely as version A, but you’re wearing pants.
Low blood sugar/lack of sleep/not taking care of your body:
And all these things make your monster fat, happy, and full of terrible advice.
But The Monster’s worst enemy is love and compassion. It’s community and friendship. So he will do everything he can to keep you alone.
So here’s some advice on asking for help. And kicking The Monster’s butt
- Find someone compassionate. A friend, a co-worker. Someone that will do the following.
- Keep your conversation private
- Not try to “fix” you
- Not make you feel weird if you start crying
- Test the waters. Before you dive in, bring up the idea of whatever illness you’re struggling with, maybe talk about a celebrity struggling. See how your chosen person responds. If you sense understanding, it’s time for step 3.
- Communicate. There are few ways to pass along your thoughts in a safe comfortable way.
- Write a letter. Reread it. Edit it. But make sure you stay honest.
- Ask your friend to meet you for coffee to talk about something important
- Get drunk. LOL no please don’t do this. I’ve tried. I ended up crying and scaring the crap out of my best friend.
- Phone a friend. Call a hotline and ask for help.
- Choose familiar language. Don’t try to sound all educated and formal. You can just be like, “hey sometimes I’m really sad and I don’t know if that’s normal.” Or “hey friend, I really trust you, can I tell you something private?”
- Decide how to respond. Your friend may respond kindly and offer help. They also might say things that make you feel worse. IF they say things that make you feel worse, DO NOT ACCEPT THEIR HELP. You don’t need to feel guilty for feeling the way you do. And your friend sounds dumb. Get rid of that friend.
- Create a help plan. Let your friend know how they can help if they offer. Create a secret code word you can use when you need help. It can be “I haven’t eaten today and I need help with that,” or “Can you just listen for a little while?” I use “I have ants in my pants.” I wish I could explain where that came from. But my friends know it means “stop what you’re doing and ask Sarah how she is feeling.
I hope this helps. If you are struggling with sharing your feels, shoot me an email at SJoCrawford@gmail.com and I’ll help you put together a plan.