I know we are still far away from Christmas and although I mention Christmas in here very often essentially the post is not about Christmas.
It’s about having a hard time and feeling even worse while others feel so cheerful. Actually it’s mostly about asking for help. Because that is a difficult thing. No matter what situation you are in. And it gets even more difficult the closer we get to the end of the year. With Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up one after the other this time’s supposed to be about happiness, being thankful, being cheerful. It’s supposed to be about joy and laughter. About family gatherings and friends. About lights.
For some it’s none of it.
It can be a lonely time if you are not well or if you have other struggles to deal with. It can be dark.
Maybe it’s because I recently read a post about suicide and a post about financial struggles that I thought of the following post I’m about to share as Blast From The Past (which I wrote around Christmas time last year). Maybe it’s the time of the year.
In any case: Remember that asking for help is not as easy as it looks. Remember that people who reach out to you have most probably already reached a point where they don’t know any other way out and might feel cornered. So cut them some slack. Be there for them. Be understanding. Listen.
Christmas is supposed to be cheerful, beautiful and fun. It’s supposed to be about being together and giving and spending time together. It’s supposed to be about a good time.
For most of us it is. But for some it’s not.
This time of the year is a very emotional time for many. It’s a difficult time for those who struggle and it’s a sad time for those of us who lost someone to those struggles.
Although suicide rates apparently peak in springtime and not around Christmas, some just simply don’t manage to deal with all of what we consider positive and beautiful. For some it’s simply too much. They feel especially lonely and misunderstood.
I just read a post on Facebook form one of my FB buddies about the suicide of someone she knew and the impact it has on everyone.
And while its a very sad situation, and I empathize with the mental torment he must have been going through, it’s important for those he left behind not to justify his behavior. It’s important not to justify suicide, no matter what. Suicide creates too many victims that the “participant” never considers.
She then goes into a couple of details which I would like to not repeat here. What she says next, though, is important:
If you suffer – or even think you suffer – from extreme highs, lows and deep depression in silence, seek help now.
Sounds so easy, right? Seek help. And yet it is incredibly hard to ask for help. Have you realized it too? I don’t mean asking for help for something little. I mean the big issues. When you really need help. When you feel you are drowning.
It’s incredibly hard to ask for help. Even with you closest friends, your family.
I wonder why.
Why is it that we hesitate to ask for help if we can’t see the light anymore? Why do we hesitate to speak about what’s bothering us? Especially with the ones that we consider friends and family.
Isn’t it what friends and family are here for? To help if they can? So why do we not trust in them? Why do we not want to share our struggles?
Is it because we feel ashamed? Is it because we feel weak? Is it because we don’t want to put a burden on them? Is it because we are afraid that they might not be able to help us?
Interesting that asking for help is the hardest thing. For whichever reasons. That suddenly friends and family seem so out of reach too, instead of being close. In a way we create an even bigger bubble of loneliness by withdrawing ourselves from the people who could actually help us. If we’d only ask.
Asking for help is the hardest thing to do. But sometimes we need to bring up the courage to do it and reach out. If we are surrounded by real friends and real family we will be surprised about their reaction and support.
Asking for help is for sure better than drowning in your problems and not see the light any longer. It’s for sure better than being lost and maybe one day facing disappointed family and friends. Or maybe not face them anymore but rather leaving them behind, wondering why you never reached out and asked for help.
To quote my friend again:
Suicide is the symptom of psychological torment. It is the act of running from extreme anguish. It requires therapy. It leaves permanent wounds on its victims. Your loved ones are the victims, thus suicide is somewhat a crime, isn’t it? You kill more than one person when you commit suicide.
While I had a couple of moments while reading her post where I didn’t agree or maybe would like to have conversation with her to better understand where she’s coming from, there are many valid points in her post.
Suicide does create more than one victim. Everyone suffers and the ones left behind are left with no real answers, maybe even feeling guilty. I agree that therapy is needed, help is needed. But as I said, getting this help is a huge step and the problem lies exactly there. If you struggle to ask for help for things that are not as major, how could it possibly be easy to ask for help when you find yourself in the darkest place ever?
Asking for help is the hardest part in your struggles. Many manage to leave breadcrumbs as pointers but sometimes nobody picks up on them. They might not be enough for anyone to see the bigger picture or people might just be too busy with their own issues to notice them. Stepping outside of your box and actually say “I need help” takes a lot of courage.
And as they all said a couple of weeks ago, maybe it’s much easier for everyone if don’t wait for people to ask for help but rather ask the questions “do you need help” or “are you okay”.
Maybe that would make it easier for all of us.