I Can’t Reach Out, I’m Depressed
I hear from people over and over again how they can’t reach out to others because they are too sick. Normally this is because the person is too depressed, but it could be because the person is too anxious or in some other mood state. And I know for myself that asking for help can be the scariest thing in the world, but if we ever hope to turn the tide, if we ever hope to beat back bipolar, we need to be able to reach outside ourselves for help and support.
What is Reaching Out?
Reaching out can be anything. It can be picking up the phone to talk to a friend or family member. It can be talking to a faith leader. It can be seeing a doctor. It can be calling a helpline. All that matters when reaching out is that you make a connection with another human being who can help in some way. The person doesn’t have to be a professional. Maybe they can listen. Maybe they can tell you they love you. Those are gifts. Those are part of reaching out.
Why Not Reach Out?
So if people around us can give us gifts when we reach out to them, why don’t we do it?
Because the bipolar tells us not to.
It’s difficult, if you’re not bipolar, to understand this, but the disease talks to you. It talks in a voice that only you can hear. It speaks in a low, rumbling voice that confirms fears and provokes anxiety. It utters sentiments about not being worthy and about being deserving of pain. It tells you everything you need to be afraid of reaching out to other people.
And on top of that, many people are taught, societally, to live alone with their pain. For example, men are supposed to “be strong” and “not express emotion.” But I have news for you: reaching out to others is one of the strongest things you can do. It means that you standing up to unspeakable forces and looking fear and stigma in the eye. Only the strong can do that.
But I Can’t Reach Out, I’m Depressed!
I know. It feels impossible. It feels impossible to pick up the phone or write an email. I know. It seems like uttering the words of pain to another is more than you could possibly bear. I know.
But you need to reach out, and what’s more, you want to. How do I know that? Because you’re reading this, of course. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t see the value in reaching out to others.
And no matter how weak you feel, no matter how beaten or how bruised, I promise you, you are more powerful than you can possibly imagine. You’re living with the impossible every day. Do you know what kind of back it takes to bear that? It takes the back of Hercules. And you have that. You’re exercising it right now. Proving it by reading this. And believe me, a person that powerful can reach out to someone else. Slowly, carefully, maybe quietly, but it can be done.
Good and Bad Ways to Reach Out
But you might want to keep in mind that while reaching out to anyone is good, there are some ways that are better than others.
Good ways to reach out:
- Talking to people you trust
- Seeing a mental health professional
- Calling helpline
- Going to a support group
Not so good ways to reach out:
- Facebook, Twitter, etc. posts
- Comments on blogs
- Anywhere where one-sided communication is involved
While any type of outreach is better than none at all, those second set of ways just won’t get you the help and support you need. I know you might think that they will, but they won’t. You need real people with real skills and real caring to connect with. Calling out into the ether just isn’t the same and I fear it turns people off when they don’t get the responses they need or deserve.
Reach Out – Now
And please consider this. If you do not tell anyone what you are going through, then they cannot possibly help. Things cannot get better if you don’t acknowledge what is wrong. People are there. Helplines are there. Professionals are there. But none of that matters if you don’t reach out and engage them. So take a moment, acknowledge your strength and you pain and then pick up the phone. You can do this. I know you can. I know it can get better.
Tracy, N. (2013, February 12). I Can’t Reach Out, I’m Depressed, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2013/02/i-cant-reach-out-depressed
Author: Natasha Tracy
- Natasha Tracy
So that leaves me to people I trust. There aren't many of those, I've always wanted to help others and it seemed to make me give off some aura that I'm a doormat and have people take advantage of that and then ditch me when they have what they want. Some people do want to help, but they've got their own lives and if I can't predict when I'm going to take a downward turn then I can't see how they can clear a schedule themselves. I hate myself for how whiny and negative I sound and so it just makes me feel worse again! Past 6 weeks in a row I've asked everybody I know in the area several times to just meet up with me, for lunch, a drink, don't care. I'm alone, I hurt physically and mentally and nobody wants to help me and there's only so much I can do by myself.
I'm not reaching out on here as I know it's pointless, for a start I'm in the UK. I don't read blogs and I refuse to post negative stuff on my Facebook etc. I've even learnt to get some of a thick skin from where the people I've tried to help have turned on me and so I have to keep my distance. I made a hell of an effort to try and make new real life friends but I don't have a fun life to share with people and when I tell people I'm disabled they don't believe me, or forget and want to do something I'm physically incapable of. Thought I'd made a friend a couple of months ago but in less than a week he told me to stop being frigid, that he knew I wanted to sleep with him. I can't have sex so I find that hard to believe. He wanted nothing more to do with me, and yeah it's all well and good to say I deserve better or that he was just a prick, but I'm losing my faith in humanity and probably would've lost it entirely by now if it wasn't for the one amazing friend I made online who was everything I want to be, that I went to see every weekend even though it killed my back, until she passed away 6 years ago. I'm 25 years old and shouldn't have this cynicism, but I assure you that every shred of it is justifiable for the crap that the people that I've asked for help have screwed me over when I have done all I can to be there for the people who need it.
I had a bad experience with my first two "professional" care workers, so I understand feeling belittled or dismissed by a "professional", but I swear to you that is the minority in the mental health profession. Do NOT let the idea that you MIGHT encounter this behavior stop you from reaching out when in need. My first time seeing someone led to a few head nods and a prescription for Zoloft in less than 20 minutes. The second was one of those trying to prove everyone was lying to get out of work.
I have had many different case managers/therapist/nurses or whatnot,since and but for those first two, all have been people who act from a true desire to help others in need recover from or manage their lives and health.
If I hadn't stop resisting help after those first two encounters, I would more than likely not be typing this. And that is not being melodramatic.
It won't be instant, and it may force some showdowns with pretty tough thoughts about life and your own view of yourself, but you can only improve your life by participating.
I cannot advocate confiding in a family member or friend, because a lot of us have/had or will have more slightly mental/uncaring or derisive folks in our gene pool. I hope that you have someone you care for who you can open up to, but if not keep searching.
If you feel burned by relatives or peers, call an anonymous help line and talk to someone. Find a .org prevention or help chat room. Sometimes just having an ear can make a huge difference, even in the moment.
I'm sorry for the loooong arsed reply, but I am coming out of a slight haze of indifference that has clung to me for the last several months, and this was one of the first blogs I came across, and there was such a negative reaction to reaching out that I had to say my peace.
The gist is this. If you think you are bipolar, or are suffering from any other mental illness, get help. In my case, it was THE single greatest factor in my continuing effort to live and find moments of joy and clarity in this life. My sincerest wishes for relief and the recovery of contentment to us all.
I had a very bad experience ALMOST reaching out to another couple too. I am 45 and a my wife and I have other couples over for dinner and conversations. We had a couple over and it was shortly after the elementary school shooting. The other couple suggested that they should publish a list of the names and addresses of people who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar just like they do with sex offenders. That way everyone would know who they are and where they live since they obviously will become a menace to society in the near future. Since this couple socializes with many of the same couples we do. I am very hesitant to reach out to people in my social group.
I do agree with Natasha that I should learn to reach out. However, I have not out of fear after this conversation. Maybe if I can find a local support group to attend I may find a way to reach out. The only problem is that I live in a pretty small city and it seems like everyone knows each other's business and gossip is main topic of conversations.
It is so easy to isolate myself but a lot more fun to be with friends.
It wasn't easy to get off the couch, no regrets!
I'm not good at reaching out, but finding a real person is so much better than going it alone!
When I am deeply depressed, and get one of those responses, I usually feel way worse and truly alone in my feelings. So my advice is to reach out, but only to someone that you're absolutely sure that will understand. Otherwise just hang on tight.
I am an introvert and don't know what level of contact is best for me. I'm not sure if I am just guarding my limited energy by spending more time alone when severely depressed. I have plenty of support, so idk why I comment on blogs ;-)