Depressed…Need Help? The Magic of Asking

“It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.” -Lena Horne

I am on a mission. A mission to get better, yet its more than that. It’s a passion, a passion for all that is good, whole and beloved to me. As many of you know, I was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2011, however, according to my doctors, I have been chronically depressed almost all my life. The difference now is I am now taking concrete steps to adjust to it.

I say adjust, because I don’t know if there will ever be a cure, or if I will go in remission.. What I know for sure is, today, even though I am “agoraphobically” stuck in this apartment, I am using all the tools under my belt to ride it out.

One of those tools is asking for help! This is a biggy for me, because every single time I ask for help, I get this twinge in my stomach that I am doing something wrong. That maybe, it’s a stupid idea, and that I should try to do it myself.

A single mom of two teenagers, I cannot do it all myself. It is hard to admit, but I can’t. I cannot take out the air conditioner and put the window back in (I’ll break it). I cannot bring in all the bacon… I am just one person. I cannot (at this time) walk to the grocery store by myself… I need a ride. I do not drive, I am not a certified appliance fixer-upper, not a gourmet, nor a dentist.. I can’t sew very well and there are days when getting out the door takes more energy than running a marathon.

So whats left? Community!

One of the most important things when suffering from any illness, whether it is physical or mental, is to have a community around you. However, don’t think the community is going to come to you.. unless you are very lucky, and have good friends, a husband or a wife already, there are a few steps you must take.

In the late 90’s I was in a single parenting group. We were a group of 5 to 6 moms of very young children who met to talk about our achievements and our struggles. To this day, thank God for Facebook, many of us are still in contact. One of those meetings we had a workshop. I remember that day like it was yesterday, well not the day per se, but what the workshop leader said: “In case of emergency and to feel secure, you must have at all times, 5 people in your community who you know you can count on”

5 people? Where am I going to find 5 people?? I don’t even have 5 really good friends (in my neighborhood). I have acquaintances but they are not BFF’s. At that time, I took it upon myself to ask those women to be my “in case of emergency pals” and they did the same. I also had my good friend Caroline and my dad, my mom, and my bro.

Today, I am further away from my family.  Although I live close to my best friend, the challenges which stem from my depression, make me feel  more isolated than I have ever felt (not always but sometimes).  So when those feelings arise, the question is:

Who would be there for when there is an emergency?

Today, I have a list of people I can count on, they offered many times, but my EGO never let me bank on those offers. I am pleased to announce that I am banking on these offers more than ever. I telling my Ego to “go fluff up a gum tree” and asking, asking, asking. What I have learned, is:

PEOPLE LOVE TO HELP!!

Duh?? That hit me like a ball on bolo bat! Did you know that? I knew it, but my shadow didn’t want me to believe it. I mean, I love to help out when I can, and it makes me feel wonderful. Why did I underestimate all those offers for help?

Maybe it’s because I didn’t want to feel like a burden? Do you feel that way sometimes?

The list of offers is quite cool. Here are a few I have received since I started opening up about my illness:

“Just call, if you want a ride to the store, and I am available I will be happy take you.” (this from 3 people)

“Anytime you want to talk, come right on over. We are always here.” (The 4Korners Community Center)

“Just give me a shout, if I’m free we can have a glass of wine together.” (a neighbor)

“If you need food, just call Mr. XX, he will help you.” (The 4Korners Community Center)

These are the things I have received, now that I am taking these offers to heart:

  • Trips to the grocery store;
  • Trips to the department stores;
  • Meals, delivered to my home;
  • Money, donations and gift cards;
  • An ear to listen;
  • A hand to hold;
  • Tons of hugs, smiles and laughter;
  • A new washer, dryer and fridge (from the community);
  • A therapist with help from the local community center;
  • Cheerleaders, people to encourage me.;
  • Astro readings, card readings, distance Reiki and light work.;
  • And.. much much more.

Living with Depression, Anxiety/panic, and agoraphobia can be an isolating experience, even with all this goodness surrounding, however, this goodness reminds me that I am loved, cherished and people want me to do well, not the other way around like I used to think.  Remember you are not alone not matter how alone you feel sometimes.  Somewhere, someone wants to help, and it may take up all your energy you have left for the day to ask, but ASK.

Never take no for an answer, however, if you are in dire need of help call 911 or The National Hotline here  for US residents and here for Canadian Residents. If you are from another Country just Google:  Depression Hotline, you will find many.

I am learning to trust again. I am allowing the help to come, and I am open more than ever to receive this help.

If you’re carrying more than you can handle today, choose to let some of it go by letting someone else in. You may feel vulnerable asking for help, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all learned to depend on each other?  ~Lori Deschene Tiny buddha

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15 Comments

  1. My Dear Friend Kim,

    Great topic!
    I am twice your age and just learning how to ask for help. I too was a single parent and struggled. Thought I was just a strong, independent woman…didn’t need anyone..nope, not me!
    Yet, I was always the one there for others. Childhood trauma deemed me unworthy of love.
    What a gift you give others by letting them be of assistance…I get it now and am slowly learning, as you are to trust that they will be there.
    All of us are worthy of someone’s time, someone’s love….all of us.
    Namaste

    • Kim

      August 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      Namaste Claire

      Thank you for being there for me and supporting my journey.

      And yes, we are all worthy of love and assitance.. 🙂

  2. Hi Kim, just found your blog very interesting reads. I have been battling depression myself since I can remember. this week I started taking Vit D and Vit B complex which I was told and did research that helps with depression. Thanks for your blog!

    • Kim

      January 31, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Hi Paulette! So happy you found me. I take B Complex, but not D. Maybe I should try it. I hope you tag along the week of February 9th, there will week long guest posts about depression. We are joining the LetsTalk movement again this year.

      • Hi Paulette & Kim,

        After over 10 yrs struggling on a rollercoaster ride to wean myself off prescribed meds I have now been ‘clean’ for nearly 2 yrs. I have been researching natural alternatives to synthetic drugs. I watched a documentary called ‘Food Matters’ and it mentions Vit B3 (niacin) as being very beneficial for depression/anxiety. After much extensive research I put myself on a small dose which has helped in enabling me to leave the house on my own without the intense anxiety that I usually experience. If only I knew about this vitamin earlier!

        • Kim

          January 31, 2013 at 11:12 am

          Oh and how I know about the Anxiety Chris. When I leave the house, it can be crippling! I am on a low dose of Celexa and Ativan (when needed). I need to get myself more vitamins, mine include b3 in the right dosage, but I do not take them regularly.

          I also see a therapist bi-weekly…

          One day at a time right?

  3. btw…if I wasn’t all the way in Oz I’d pop over and give you a hand with the A/C…come over with my trolley to help, although I’m no good with windows 😉

  4. I feel sad when I look back on the times I asked for help since I was clinically diagnosed with depression back in 1996. I reached out to family and close friends at the time. I asked and I got “Get over it”, and other words along the line of you’re a nuisance, you embarrass us and we don’t want to know about it. Those friends have long since disappeared after knowing more about my situation, and I no longer talk to my immediate family. Thus I can understand asking for help from those familiar or with first hand experience but even so those ppl have deserted me when it gets too hard to deal with. That behaviour lends me to think that ppl only want to be around happy individuals who won’t bother you with more in depth emotional problems. It has sadly become habit to keep things to myself and not bother others for fear of the negative reactions I will receive. I was more concerned about their happiness and wellbeing rather than my own back then and it is still a habit I find I cannot break. Thus I put on a happy ‘normal’ face whenever I am in the company of others.

    I also suffer from acute social anxiety and I am a prisoner in my own house or more aptly, in my head!

    The worst thing about all of this is being aware of the situation but not knowing how to deal with it and the frustration and lack of confidence that this feeling of disempowerment brings.

    I do hope that things are looking up for you Kim. It is wonderful that you feel that you can be open and talk about your illness with those around you who are willing to accept and understand your situation.

    *I would’ve posted this on facebook but didn’t want my comments in such a random public environment. So here I am instead.

    *hugs*

    • Kim

      December 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      This is the reason I write about depression so openly. The stigma attached to it can be quite severe. Like you, I’ve received those comments “Get over it” or “shake it off” or “go outside, be strong” Also, like you I suffer from social anxiety/panic and depression. It is quite a challenge for people like us to get out, and it takes all our energy to get to the grocery store at times. So, Chris I hear you!!!

      I also know, the “happy normal” face too well. I know how to wear a mask for those who do not understand. I tend to cling to only those who do now, and those who judge me are quickly shooed out of my life.

      I am fortunate to have a therapist who “gets” me, and I am able to pay her what I can, and barter. Although I do owe her some money, and some of the donations I receive here (when I do) go to pay for therapy. I am on 20mgs of Celexa, and still cope with tears, mood swings, and intense anxiety, so I understand you 100% when you say “I am a prisoner of my own house, because I feel that way OFTEN”

      Asking for help is new to me, and now I know WHO I can ask without feeling like I am a burden. I have people now that offer, and it is quite a relief.
      Things are up and down, I have good moments and challenging ones, what I have learned is to ride out when anxiety surfaces, and to breathe, meditate, take pictures, play a game and do things I love.

      My children are also a source of great joy, and we speak openly about my depression so they know that if I don’t “seem” there I am and they can “snap” me out of a rough spot with a joke or a smile.
      Don’t suffer in silence Chris. You always have a place here. This is why I write about depression weekly. You are not alone, and I hope things are looking up for you too. Hang in there.

      And THANK you. After I wrote this post, someone I know read it, and came over Friday to take out the AC and put my window back in. YAY!!!
      You have it inside you to break free. Give yourself lots of self-love and care. Do the things you enjoy, and ride out the challenging parts knowing that you are a wonderful worthy person !!!
      Take care.

      • Thanks Kim. It’s nice knowing that I’m not alone. I find it amusing that those closest to me on an emotional level are farthest away.

  5. Truly inspiring, brave and so true!

  6. Kim

    November 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    hi Erica! So glad you stopped by to leave a comment, and also glad this post resonated with you.

    It took me a year to find an “entourage” yet. The community center near my home is a big part of that. I met new people, and find ways to ask for help when I need it.

    My agaraphobia comes in stages. I was able to go out all of sept and oct. but since November..I am taking baby steps again.

    I see my therapist once a week. She helps a lot.

    Lets keep in touch.

    Kim

  7. OH My gosh. I know I just “met” you a few days ago but I totally see myself reflected in this post. I just said to one of my friends last night “You don’t understand that I can be in a good mood, even when I’m so depressed.” I’m also agoraphobic, although not quite as bad as yours sounds.

    Reading this I got such a tight feeling in my chest, because I can’t think of 5 people close to me geographically that I can rely on. I’ll have to work on that.

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