It’s hard letting people in, really, really hard. Well, it is for me anyway and I doubt I’m alone in that. This last few months I’ve become much better at talking about my depression, and more so again since I’ve started this blog. But, and this is the tricky part, I still find it incredibly difficult to ask for help at the moment that I need it most. When I’m upset, low, scared, I run through the list of people who know, who’ve offered countless times to help, and I just can’t bring myself to pick up the phone. I’m not really sure why this is. I think in some way I’m still ashamed to be seen in such a state, although in fairness, I’m a pretty messy crier so I think I could be forgiven for that. It’s an incredibly vulnerable way to be, all the pretence, all the happy front is stripped away. When I’m like that I feel utterly defenceless. But also I’m so conscious of making someone feel awkward, of putting them in a difficult position. Not everyone is cut out to handle a crying heap, I accept that, some people just don’t know what to say and I don’t want to find myself in the position of having to make them feel better when I can barely keep myself together. It’s also a matter of trust. To actually allow someone see me like that……well, it’s a big deal. It might not sound like much, but it really, really is.
But should I leave myself stuck in the horrors on the off chance that I upset someone? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no. Today I didn’t exactly ask for help, but when it was offered, I didn’t refuse, which is kind of a new departure for me. I thought about saying no, about keeping my mess to myself, but thought better of it. I know it doesn’t help to be on my own in that state, so I have to start being brave enough to let people see it, no matter how much I don’t want to. I don’t think I’ve left my friend scarred or traumatised, and I’m so grateful to her for just listening to me rant through snot and tears until I calmed down. That’s what helps, what makes this whole ridiculous illness manageable – knowing that support is there. Listening is huge, Huge. When I’m in a state like that I don’t need solutions, I just need to talk till I can find my way back to normality, or something like it. I’m pretty sure the next time I have a melt down I’ll still find it hard to ask for help, but I hope I’ll do it anyway. It’s all part of getting better, of taking away the power that depression has over me. 

This article has 2 Comments

  1. I suffered from Postnatal Depression a few years ago and I am happy to be able to say that I took the medication for the recommended time and have come out the other end and feel good again and back to myself. It was the worst experience and the worst time in my life and during that time I have never felt so weak or so vulnerable. I had to let people in as I wouldn't have coped otherwise and I had a baby to look after. I am quite like you in that I really find it difficult to let people in and let them see me at my worst. I am usually the person that has all the answers and as it all together (or so people think)!!!

    But this is the funny part, if any of my friends or in fact anyone I knew was upset I would be the first person there. I don't get uncomfortable or feel bad when someone opens up to me (or becomes a crying heap). In fact it makes me feel really good to have helped someone and it is a reminder that everybody has bad times and no one has it 'all figured out'.

    I guess I am saying that opening up to people and letting them in might not be the burden we think it is. It might help them. They might be suffering too and the fact that you have opened up to them might encourage them to open up too. They may also feel good that they have helped someone else and escaped their own lives/problems for a while!

    I think asking for help or letting people in is something we all need to work on! The 'pretence' doesn't help anyone. Now if only I could take my own advice!!!

    Mind yourself and keep writing!

  2. Thanks for your comment, and you're so right, it always feels good to be able to help someone. It's something that I've found since doing this blog as well – the more open I've been, the more open people are with me in return. We could all do with dropping the pretence a little more often!
    I'm really glad you've been well since PND, long may it last 🙂

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