Isolation is the worst part of any mental health issues. When you are trapped within yourself, it becomes impossible to imagine that even outside of your own head there is a big wide world. A world that is full of people who can help you out with your condition. It is mostly because of our bad experiences of the past that makes us feel that no one in the world loves us, and it’s impossible for us to reach out.
Remember that the world is big, and it isn’t just about all that goes inside your head. When you meet people, try to talk to them, and go out, you are expanding your experience. You are taking your attention away from the thoughts that make your life miserable. Reaching out is an important part of most of the mental health treatments. Here’s how you can do it:
Whom to reach out to?
Despite the fact that one in five people in the US are suffering from some mental health issue, there’s a lot of ignorance about depression, anxiety and other such psychological disorders. People don’t realise that having a mental illness can be as painful as having a physical illness. So, you can’t just go ahead and talk to anyone. You must first make a list of people that you trust.
People to include in the reach out list
- Family and close friends: People who have been with you through thick and thin, people who love you for who you are and not for their own selfish gains, those are the ones that you should include first in your list. You should keep their phone numbers in speed dial, and fill your room with their pictures so that you are constantly reminded about their presence in your life and never feel hopeless.
- Teachers and colleagues: Teachers and colleagues who feel love and sympathy for you should be your second on the list. You can open up about your problems with them, and seek their help if something has been bothering you at the office or in your school. Don’t bottle your feelings.
- Old acquaintances: Once you have moved from one place or from one job, never loose touch with your ex-colleagues or ex-neighbours, who have helped you out in the past. Stay in touch with them. You never know who might help you in the times of dire necessity.
- Depression helpline: Most of the countries have helpline for mental health and suicide. If you are so low that you feel guilty about talking to anyone who knows you, you can call up a suicide helpline and seek support. Talking to someone would definitely get you out of the circles and would prevent you from taking a drastic step.
- Find support groups: There are many mental health support groups on the Internet and social media. Join them and keep yourself notified on their updates. It always feels good to know that you are not the only one and that many around you are suffering from similar problems. This is your battle against a medical condition, and there are many people on your side.
- Seek help from religious people: No matter whether you are religious or not. A calm religious place can be your eternal storehouse of good vibrations. Those who are truly religious believe that it is their duty to ease the suffering of humankind. A kind religious person can be your most enduring support. Keep such people in your contact list. Whenever you are suffering from something, ask them for their advice on what to do. They would always be more than happy to help.
How to reach out?
- Find your medium: The problem with most of us is that we simply can’t find ways to express our pain. It isn’t necessary that you have to call someone, or Skype them. Be it texting or E-mail, use the medium with which you are most comfortable. Posting on mental illness support groups or commenting on the posts of others can prove to be of immense help. If talking to some unknown person helps in easing away your pain, you should try reaching out to someone on suicide helpline.
- Keep help messages at hand: At times, it might be impossible to communicate. You want to talk to your close relative or your friend but what are you going to say? Your seeming inability to call for help might plunge you into deeper and darker zones. For times like these, make a list of help messages. For example: you can save templates in your cellphone like ‘It’s the limit. I can’t take it anymore. Please meet me asap. I’m afraid that things might go out of hand.’ Or like ‘ Is it okay if we go out on a date or something? I don’t feel very well right now, and I think it’d be better if I go out.’ If someone is less likely to look at your text messages, then call them and read out these sentences. Write down and store many templates like these on your phone, and use them in times of need.
- Ask others to check in on you: It’s is the most important step. If you are going through a phase or think that you are about to experience one, it’s better to tell people to keep checking on you. When in a bad condition, you might even forget that there is something called reaching out. At times like these, if some loved one calls you up every day, or a kind neighbour gives knocks at your door, it might prove to be a lifesaver. If you are uncertain about when you would experience such a phase, it’s better to have someone call you up at one particular time everyday. Give them the phone number of your neighbour’s cellphone as well for safety’s sake.
Spread awareness about depression
You must understand, and make others around your understand that mental health issues are serious medical conditions. People do not suffer from them because they are bad or because they have done something bad, it just happens like cancer or diabetes. Awareness is what would ultimately help you the most. If you can’t tell people what depression is, share articles or videos from the internet that do. Help yourself and help others like you. Don’t give up.