As a human, it can be difficult to admit when you are struggling. Vulnerability does not come naturally to most people, which makes it hard to open up about stress and other problems in one’s life. However, being aware that you need help is the first step. Recognizing the signs of when you are in need of support and knowing how to reach out can save you from falling down the dark hole of mental illness or substance abuse.
Recognizing You Need Help
The first step in reaching out for help is realizing you need it. Again, this can be tricky for humans because it is easy to live in denial and believe that you are fine. However, some signs and symptoms indicate you need to reach out for help.
If you find yourself losing interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy, this may be a sign of depression. Changes in your appetite or sudden increases or decreases in your weight can also signify that you are struggling. Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or suicidal thoughts are a signal that you need to reach out.
Thoughts about harming others are also a strong indicator that you need help. These thoughts may stem from feelings of intense rage, isolation, or sleep schedule changes, such as not sleeping at all. Substance abuse and reckless behavior are also common indicators that you should reach out for support.
It can be easy to live in denial and convince yourself that you are fine on your own. However, you should remember that once you begin engaging in negative behaviors, it becomes that much easier to spiral out of control. Taking a step back and realizing that you need to tell someone you are struggling can save your life.
How to Reach Out
Once you have established that you need outside help, the next step is determining how to get it. This can be tricky, so having a few different options in mind can be incredibly helpful if you are struggling. You can consider what would work best for you and your situation, then make the choice to act on your decision. Here are some options for reaching out for help when you are struggling:
Tiptoeing around your struggles can be confusing for others, and it may cause them not to realize the extent to which you are struggling. Being direct can alleviate any confusion and let the other person know that you need their help and support. This will also help you avoid any resentment if you try to hint at needing help and the person doesn’t realize what you are talking about. Remember that people care about you and want you to be happy and healthy. You should tell them specifically what is going on so they can help you the best they can. Being honest about your needs is a form of self-care that can only benefit you and your relationships.
Just Ask for Someone’s Presence
If you are unsure of what you need or want but know you are struggling, that is fine too. Sometimes we don’t know exactly what to ask for, so it can be easier just to ask someone to be with us so we are not alone. The other person you ask to spend time with may even offer the help you need. Spending quality time with a friend or family member can make a difference.
Call a Mental Health Crisis Hotline
It is understandable if you don’t want to talk to someone you know about your struggles. This is why mental health hotlines exist. You can call these hotlines and talk to a mental health professional that can help you get through whatever emotions you are feeling in the moment.
Some popular helpful hotlines include:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Trevor Project
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) HelpLine
Go to a Support Group
If you are looking to be more anonymous and not talk to someone you know, consider going to a local community support group. These are almost always anonymous and allow you to talk to other individuals that are going through similar situations as you. You can get advice from people that have been where you are and find your support system. To find a support group near you, try calling your local community center or try searching some online.
At Northstar Transitions, we understand it can be hard to reach out for help. As humans, we don’t want to admit to ourselves that we are struggling. However, reaching out in a time of crisis or hardship can save you some pain. The first step in this process is realizing that you need help. Recognizing the signs and symptoms such as loss of interest, feelings of hopelessness, desire to harm yourself or others, substance abuse, and more can signify a need to reach out. Once you are established that you need help, the next step is choosing how you reach out. Several options include being direct, just asking someone to stay with you, joining a support group, or calling a mental health hotline. Whichever one you choose, you will receive the help you need to take further action to address your needs. Mental health can be tricky, but you don’t need to suffer forever. There is always a way to heal. If you or someone you know is struggling, contact us at (303) 558-6400 to receive the help you need.