Asking for help can always be a little challenging. Yet asking for support regarding your mental health can feel frightening…to say the least. You may worry about how they’re going to react, what they’ll say, or if you’ll feel any better after the conversation. Indeed, it’s normal to have anxiety, sweaty palms, and an upset stomach right before you vent. But learning how to ask for help when you are struggling will bring significant light to what otherwise feels like a dark moment. Let’s discover how to ease the overwhelm.
How to Recognize You Need Help
While we all cope with change and life events differently, there are warning signs that indicate it’s time to receive support for your mental health.
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Social withdrawal
- Inability to cope with stress
- Problems concentrating
- Paranoia or hallucinations
- Changes in sex drive
- Suicidal thoughts and ideations
- Using drugs or alcohol to cope
- Excessive fears, feeling guilty or unworthy
- Significant high and low mood changes
- Significant changes in eating habits
- Difficulties sleeping or extreme fatigue
- Lack of interest in activities that once brought joy
- Struggling to work or maintain responsibilities
8 Tips for Overcoming The Worry of Being a Burden
When we need help, we may assume people don’t want to help us. We either think our emotions are “too much”, or we’re worried we’re complaining about something others would perceive as minimal. Whatever the case, here are a few tips to help you get past this limiting mindset and receive the support you deserve.
- Repeat positive self-affirmations
- Limit social comparison
- Spend time with those who uplift you
- Challenge negative thoughts
- Set achievable goals and challenge yourself
- Prioritize your mental health and healing
- Adopt a routine with healthy habits like exercise and nutrition
- Journal about your feelings and why you feel like a burden
How to Ask For Help When You Are Struggling
1. Practice through writing
Practice makes perfect. Even if you feel incredibly anxious, sit down and write out what you want to say. Sometimes it’s easier and less intimidating to practice what you want to say to the person through writing in the comfort of your own home rather than speaking directly to them. It will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the pain, gather your thoughts, discover new perspectives, and reduce the overwhelm.
2. Choose someone you trust
Discussing your mental health struggles is an intimate and deeply vulnerable discussion. Therefore you’ll want to choose someone who you feel comfortable with and yourself around. For many, this may be a family member or friend, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be someone in your close circle. It could also be a therapist or mentor. The key is to choose someone who is supportive, trustworthy, non-judgmental, and has your best interest at heart.
3. No one is a mind reader
After you choose someone you trust, remember that no one is a mind reader. It’s important to remember this before you open up. When we confide in someone, we tend to have high expectations of how we think a person should act, what they should say, or what kind of advice they should offer. But everyone processes everything differently and may not respond how you would. Therefore, the best approach is to let them know what you need. For example, do you need advice? Or do you need someone to sit and attentively listen to you? Define what type of support you need and communicate it.
4. Choose how and where
There may not be a “great time”, especially when sharing something deeply personal. But there are tips on how to ask for help when you are struggling to ease the process. For example, before you sit down with your support system, choose a time and place that is comfortable for you. Maybe you feel safer and more secure speaking in your home or at your loved one’s. Or perhaps you would prefer a serene setting in nature. The choice is yours, and reflecting on what makes you the most relaxed will ease anxiety.
5. Alter your mindset
One reason why we experience a difficult time asking for help is our mindset. We may think needing support is a sign of weakness. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, being open about your feelings is a sign of strength, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. If we bottle up our feelings, we become more hostile, reactive, anxious, and vulnerable to further consequences. Yet recognizing we need a support system builds our emotional resiliency, self-confidence, and coping skills. All in all, remember that there is strength in vulnerability.
6. Provide examples
Not everyone is trained in navigating difficult conversations or knows exactly what to say to ease the pain. Therefore, one of the best ways to help the discussion for you and your support system is to provide examples of how you feel. For example, if you feel depressed, explain how it’s affecting your life. Or reference a book, movie, or show that resonated with you. Whatever method works best for you will ease the overwhelm and help the listening party better understand what is happening. And remember that you also don’t need to have everything figured out. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know what I need, but I’m really hurting right now. Can you be there for me”? Just voicing this sentence can provide insurmountable relief in a period of mental confusion and struggle.
7. Contact external support
If venting to a loved one isn’t possible, that’s okay. There are several ways to ask for help. Hotlines are a free and accessible route to receive support quickly. In fact, contacting a hotline can be a great preventive measure to help you cope with your feelings before it spirals and becomes a crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Find a Helpline offer ways to contact someone depending on your city and time zone. Other options include speaking with a therapist or mental health professional. Therapy is a wonderful tool to help you understand what is happening within you, receive coping mechanisms, and learn strategies to manage the emotions you feel.
Learning how to ask for help when you are struggling can be a scary process, but it can also be rewarding and therapeutic. Therefore, don’t carry the burden of your pain alone. You can choose a loved one, contact a helpline, or reach out to a therapist. There is support available.
This post contains affiliate links.
Did you enjoy these tips on how to ask for help when you are struggling? We’d love it if you shared this post on Pinterest!
Looking for more mental health tips? Make sure to follow our Mental Health Board on Pinterest!