Life’s been more challenging than normal lately, throwing more curveballs the last several weeks than you’re accustomed to. To make matters even worse, your sadness, fatigue, anxiety, and stress levels have grown to the point where it’s making daily life extremely hard to deal with. It’s possible you have depression, but treatment is available, including with medicine like ketamine – it’s just a matter of knowing how and who to ask for help.
Know the Symptoms
Most people can recognize symptoms of depression in other people, but rarely in themselves. Perhaps it’s a built-in self-defense mechanism, or you’re merely unwilling to admit there’s a problem you can’t solve. In either case, asking for help also depends on knowing what depression looks like. There are common symptoms to be aware of, including:
- You’re easily irritated, frustrated, or restless.
- You may feel worthless.
- You’re not interested in things that were once enjoyable.
- Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down.”
- Problems with memory, concentration, and decision-making.
- Sleeping problems.
- You may have weight gain or loss brought on by changes in appetite.
- Unexplained physical aches and pains.
- You’ve contemplated suicide. If you need to talk to someone, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Learning to Ask for Help
Part of knowing how to ask for help with your depression depends on full, 100% honesty with yourself. You are likely way beyond the, “I’m just having a rough patch, but it’ll pass,” stage or, “I can get through this on my own,” phase. Ask yourself some pointed questions:
- Have I started drinking or using other substances and I can’t stop?
- Have my emotions and behavior affected my relationships with others?
- Has stress caused other problems in my life?
Answering yes to these or related questions is a claxon going off as loud as possible.
Now, you’re ready to consider those to whom you should talk. There are many different people you could talk to when you’re feeling depressed. Sadness and other emotions drive home a feeling of loneliness, making you believe that no one’s ever felt the way you feel. But that’s not true. Loved ones and others can be there for you, ready to help.
Family members and close friends are obvious options. But what about someone at your place of worship? Or school? Most public and private schools have trained counselors on staff. It’s possible you could talk to a co-worker or someone else at your place of employment. Local and national charities and support groups are worth looking into, too.
Honesty and Positivity
How to ask for help with your depression also depends on being honest and open with whomever you decide to talk with. Most people want to help, but don’t know how. If there’s something you’re struggling with that could benefit from someone else’s expertise, phrase the question like, “I’ve been trying to manage this but can’t and it’s really bothering me, I was hoping you could steer me in the right direction?” Also be willing to establish boundaries when asking for help, like, “I know this is a big ask, but maybe if we could talk a few minutes a day?”
Above else, you need to communicate in a positive, non-threatening manner. Try to decompress before having the conversation, maybe try roleplaying to anticipate the other person’s answers or point of view. How would you feel if someone asked for help? Would it come across as a burdensome request?
One other worthy option: speaking with your healthcare provider or therapist. People with experience and expertise in treating depression may be your best choice, but it’s important to be comfortable with whomever you decide to speak with. Initially, you may undergo a physical examination to see if there’s a medical reason for your symptoms. You’ll also be asked to talk about your personal and family medical history. At some point, an appointment with a psychotherapist is another option. In that case, you’ll be asked to talk about your thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and whether you or a family member has a history of mental illness. A depression screening will likely be recommended.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosis depends on symptoms, overall health, and criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for depression. Your healthcare provider may recommend more than one treatment, most likely a combination of psychotherapy, antidepressants, or medicine like ketamine. Diet, self-help, and lifestyle changes are other possibilities, but you can regain control of your life, and it’s important to be aware of that fact.