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Filed Under: Educational
How to Ask For Help

How to Ask For Help

By Michelle Lunger

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. We are here to open up the dialogue for mental health. This blog promotes healing, but it is not a major mental health resource. If you or anyone else you know is struggling we are here to provide you with the proper resources. We know, asking for help can be scary, but we would be happy to point you in the right direction. If you are nervous about reaching out to a crisis hotline and you want to learn more information feel free to reach out to us. We are here for you. 

How To Ask For Help

This holiday season is different. As stressful as it already is we have a pandemic on top of that. With less daylight, less in-person support, and the virus it is a lot to deal with. It’s ok to be anxious, it's ok to be sad, and if you are struggling it is okay to ask for help if needed. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it can be a sign of strength, resilience, and hope. When you ask for help you are accepting the fact that you don’t have to deal with everything on your own, that it is okay to ask for assistance. It is okay to need a little more. When I got the proper help I needed, that is when I started healing. That is when I gained my strength, my resilience, and hope. 

Asking for help can be difficult, especially when you don’t even know you need it. Sometimes it takes someone to hit rock bottom before acknowledging they need help. It is important to keep in touch with your inner self and know what are red flags and warning signs. But what if you are not aware? What if you don’t even know if you haven’t been diagnosed? How do I get help? How do I ask for it? These are questions I have asked myself and wish I had guidance to find the answers when I was struggling. I didn’t know how to explain the way I was feeling, it was not just mentally, I felt it physically too. I couldn’t just go to a hospital and say I need help or tell my teacher I can’t make it to class because I don’t feel well without a description why. I hit rock bottom and didn’t acknowledge the warning signs. I didn’t know I needed help until I woke up in the hospital. I overdosed. that was my cry for help. 

I am writing this because it is not okay what I did. The lack of knowledge about mental health/mental illness I had was not my fault. The fact that I did not have the answers then is ok. But, what I want you to know is that it does not have to get to that worst point before you can heal and that there are proper ways to ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help because you are loved no matter how you feel. I’m here to show you that it is worth it.

Why is it hard to ask for help? 

It can be hard to ask for help. It definitely takes acceptance; you can’t heal if you don’t accept that you need healing. Many people don’t ask for help because they feel like it makes them look weak or desperate. Honestly, it is ok to feel those feelings because no one can do everything on their own. There is also still a stigma about mental health. People think you can “just get over it” or take a pill and it will solve all your problems, but it is not that easy. Additionally, there is a lack of education about how we can ask for help and the proper resources we need. That is why we are talking about this here and now.

What are the warning signs?

If you are having trouble keeping up with your daily life, it is probably a sign you need help. I don’t mean being “addicted” to the next new Netflix show that you would rather skip all your responsibilities. I mean if you are constantly missing school, work, or appointments something is probably up. It is ok to have a mental health day or two, it is okay to take a break, but that can’t last forever. Breakdowns, anxiety, panic, frustrations… we have all been there, but it is not healthy if this happens everyday. 

https://nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms

Who can I ask?

Starting with being transparent about your feelings is always a good start. Not only to your friends and family, but to yourself. It is important to keep on checking in with yourself. Ask yourself questions. How am I feeling? Am I struggling to keep up with my daily life? If you are having trouble finding those answers go to your friends and family. They are here for you. If you have no one to go to there are plenty of hotlines and help centers you can contact. I know for me, I was scared of contacting people I didn’t know. These helplines/ centers are there for a reason. But, if it is too hard for you to make the first step, which is okay, ask for help. Ask a friend, a family member, a teacher, a co-worker. I am sure they would be happy to help anyone in need. 

How do I ask or tell someone I am struggling? 

Be honest. Try to explain how you are feeling as best as you can and if you can’t- write it down or draw it. Sing if you even need to. Any way to portray how you feel and make the other person understand that you need help. If you have no one to talk to, ask a medical professional. You can even tell your primary care doctor and they would be happy to recommend or refer you to someone more specialized in a field that would help you. There is always going to be someone who can help you and someone that cares. If you need help, you can always open up to us and we can refer you to some resources. Although, remember we are not a primary source of help or medical professionals. 

https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/someone-i-know-is-in-crisis?gclid=CjwKCAjwps75BRAcEiwAEiACMdi9XdMkLIok-rT6MicfUIoGOvw4xAv3JImbyo_4HWS1VBiJ33bX3BoClGEQAvD_BwE

https://www.talkspace.com/blog/how-to-ask-for-help-mental-health-care/

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-to-reach-out

https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/blog/how-to-ask-for-help-when-youre-depressed-5-tips-for-reaching-out-and-finding-treatment/

How Can I Help a Friend Who is Struggling?

If a friend is struggling, be there for them. That is all they need and all you can do. It is not your responsibility to educate someone or tell them what to do unless they ask. You can refer them to the proper places, but you can’t force someone to get help if they don’t want it. Remember, to heal you need to accept healing. All you can do is be there for them, support them, and don’t overwhelm them.

Happy Holidays and Stay Safe!