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Being brave and asking for help

“Sometimes asking for help is the bravest move you can make.  You don’t have to go it alone.”

Andrea Kirkham

Hello lovely motivation seekers, how’s your week been?  Hope it was a good one.

Here in NZ this week, we were all shocked to hear the news of the suicide of a well known Tv presenter.  He had been depressed though no-one seemed to know.  Every single thing I read about this, said the same thing.  He was a funny guy, he was friendly and very good at his job.  He seemed to have everything going for him.  He had a beautiful wife and family.  Why did no-one know what was going on for him?

I think this is a really common situation.  Depression is a difficult thing to detect in others.  The outwardly brightest, happiest people can be in the depths of despair in their own heads and they are the only ones that know it.  So what can be done about that?  Sadly, the person in despair has to be able to step up and ask for help.  They need to be able to reach out to others and let them know what is going on.  That is in fact probably the hardest thing ever.

Why is it so hard to let others know what is going on for you?  I think there is still a huge stigma around mental illness.  If someone has a physical illness, that is somehow acceptable and draws sympathy from others.  Mental illness freaks everyone out.  I know this from personal experience.  My mother was Bi-polar and I first became aware of her psychotic episodes when I was 12years old.  She was so bad, she would be hospitalised for weeks at a time and given electric shock treatment.  How did I feel about that at that age?  I felt like I had lost my mother.  She seemed a different person to me.  Mostly though, I felt ashamed and embarrassed.  People would say to me – you’re Mum’s in the loony bin, which made me feel terrible.  I felt it was almost a reflection on me.  I felt that, because of the reactions and attitudes of others.  It was a shameful, shocking and scary thing and sadly, I think it still is.

We have to give up the pretence.  We are all so busy trying to look like we’ve all got it together and we are leading perfect and fantastic lives.  We can’t be open and authentic with others, because how will it look?  What will they think?  If we admit to having depressive thoughts, will they think less of us?  We’ve got to try to get over that.  No-one ever knows how it is for someone else.  We are all on a journey and the road is pretty rough at times, so the very best thing we can do is to recognise that and know that we are not alone in this.  Be open and authentic and be kind to others.  It’s ok to need help and it’s ok to ask for help.  As our quote says, it’s probably the bravest thing you will ever do.

I hope you can find it within you to do that when you need to and to be there for others when they need a helping hand and a listening ear.  None of us have to go it alone.  Have a good week and please get in touch if you want to discuss any of this.