Could you ask for help?

Could you ask if you needed help?

With mental health its different if you are on the outside; you ask questions like “what’s wrong with them? Why can’t they snap out of it?  Hasn’t this been going on long enough?”

Or you judge and say “oh they need to get over it and move on, stop feeling sorry for themselves and harden up.”

We’ve all heard this, we’ve all seen it and some of us would even have said a few of those things…I have!

But why?

Why do we judge people that way?  We wouldn’t tell a woman with breast cancer to get over it, would we?  We wouldn’t tell her to “harden up” or to “snap out of it.”

I know I wouldn’t do this now, but I do admit that I have discussed people’s mental health like that in the past! Bu that was before I knew what its like to have ‘issues.’

This is one of the big reasons why no one talks about it. Why people who need help, don’t ask for help.

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When your brain has tripped and switched so fast you don’t know when it happened, or when it has happened so slowly and gradually that you didn’t recognise or notice it, often the last thing you think about is getting help.

Luckily for me it was the first thing I thought about.

I was 19 and thought I was a struggling teen; I self harmed. But as soon as I did it I knew that it wasn’t right. I went to my doctor for help. Same again at 27; I self diagnosed.  I got the help I needed because I knew that I had to for myself and my family.  I would be no use to either myself or them, if I didn’t have my mental health in check.

I didn’t want the impact of my illness to affect my family.  Unfortunately I was too late.

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Harper Jane off to a birthday party
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My little Co monkey

If you felt this way would you ring the Depression.org health line?

Would you ring Healthline?

Would you go to your GP?

Would you ring your Mum or Dad?

If not – why?? What’s stopping you for asking for help?

Is it because it’s mental health and you don’t want to look weak and vulnerable?

It’s actually okay!!! You don’t need to feel weak or vulnerable or worry.  Why?  Because almost EVERYONE feels the effects of mental stress at some point, it’s just worse for some than others. There is nothing upsetting about this, it is self growth! You learn to put your mind and body on the same page. Whether it’s through medication, therapy, exercise, meditation or whatever else makes you feel good.  You will find that if you speak to people who have also had mental health ‘issues’ that there is no judgement.  The Healthlines are all completely judgement-free places.

People often say to me when they find out I suffered from mental health issues “I’m so so sorry, it must have been awful”

Yes, it was awful but I would do it all over again. The self growth I went through and knowledge I gained was insane. Someone unpicked my brain and told me how it works, how we work, how we are wired and how we can grow! I’ve never been a learner, I’m more of a do-er but this stopped me in my tracks.  There was so much to learn about the brain and how our nervous system works.

Not everyone wants to help themselves. I know people with mental health issues who won’t even do anything good for themselves and it bugs me as I think: “you could be a better person!”  One thing is for sure:  if you do nothing, you will never recover.  But then who am I to say that! It’s how they are dealing with their problems. People choose to deal with things differently.  I’m not going to bully people into getting help.

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We all know that men are the worst for not talking about anything to do with mental health.  Biggest killer in men over the age of 60 in the U.K?  Suicide.  Biggest killer of men aged 18-25 in New Zealand?  Nope, it’s not crazy boy racers killing themselves on the road.  It’s not drunken shenanigans.  It’s suicide.  So all you parents out there with young sons, just remember that the thing they are most likely to die from when they are in that age bracket, is killing themselves.  (That doesn’t mean it’s cool to get them a suped up boy racer car though!)

That is fucking scary.  If that ain’t enough to encourage you to reach out and speak with someone who you might suspect has depression or anxiety or is depressed or suffering from another type of mental illness, then I don’t know what the fuck is.

For males I guess maybe it’s pride(?) and also males are shit with communication in general, so you can kind of see why they wouldn’t come and just chat…unless someone prised or forced it out of them…and even still I reckon they wouldn’t be completely honest.  Also it’s society.  Society tells us that men are the tough manly ones who can’t become weak. They’re the hunters, the protectors, the warriors.  They have families, homes and jobs to look after and protect.  They can’t be all broken down and shit.  Right?

Wrong!  A lot of that has changed now.  Women also have families, homes and job to look after and protect.  Women are also hunters these days (we gather as well, but we can hunt too – and a testament to this is that Soph has her Firearms Licence!).  However, the perception of weakness in men being unacceptable has not changed.  I use weakness very loosely as a term because realistically weak is only a word and it’s actually the chemical make up of your brain, not ‘weakness’.

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No one is judging you for being this way, if anything people want to help.  And if they do judge, that’s nothing to do with you.  It says much more about them than it does about you, that’s for sure!

And just remember this.  If you are suffering from, or have suffered from depression or anxiety, you’re not that special.  1 in 5 New Zealanders will experience depression and 1 in 4 New Zealanders will experience anxiety.  And by anxiety, I mean the mental health condition, anxiety.  Not feeling anxious.  So don’t feel weak or vulnerable, because there have been so so many people before you in the same boat and so many more to come.

If you need help – ask for it, tell someone what’s going on.  Find someone you feel comfortable with and if you can’t – ring a helpline and speak to a stranger.  A stranger ain’t going to judge you, they don’t know who you are!  Sometimes when you say it out loud it helps with the healing/dealing process.  Even if you’re like me who had no idea what brought on my feelings…I talked and talked and talked and it was the one thing that really helped me!  I know for one of my siblings talking was the only thing he could do – to anyone that would listen.  This was his process of healing, of reaching out for the help.  He didn’t know it was what he needed but he rung and chatted and made sure he was heard.  As a sister with anxiety and depression that was a massive achievement and I couldn’t be prouder!!

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Out of interest – who would you ask for help?  Let us know in the poll below.

Bec x

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