I write a lot about reaching out for help, but doing that can be really difficult. Saying those words ‘I am struggling’ or ‘I need help’ can be really hard to say. I’ve been to appointments intending to tell the doctor how I feel and never quite found the words to do it. So how can we be open? How can we actually ask for help? Here’s some ideas of ways we can approach someone and open up about how we feel.
Telling a loved one –
Write A Letter – I did this, I wrote my husband a letter explaining how I felt, it was about 3 or 4 pages long but it felt good to get it all out. I left it on our bed and told him to read it when I wasn’t around. It was a good way to tell him everything I was feeling without being face to face or breaking down in tears (which would often happen)
Send A Text Message – Another way to let someone know how you feel without being face to face if you’re not comfortable bringing the subject up. You can even send a message just letting them know you need to talk about something.
A Phone Call – Some people prefer to talk rather than write things down, so calling someone can be a way to open up to someone, again without having to be face to face.
A Chat – Talking about how you are feeling might be difficult but if you’re feeling up to it and comfortable with the person, then you should reach out and tell them that you are finding things a bit difficult. The subject may even come up, they may ask you how you’re feeling, and if they do then be honest. As a friend or relative they will want to help you and won’t judge.
Who to tell –
A Loved One – A friend or relative will be able to offer you support and be there to listen. They may even have noticed the difference in you, I had friends who said they had noticed I didn’t seem as happy as I use to be which lead me to opening up about I felt. It felt good to talk about how I was feeling and get things off my chest.
Your Midwife – If you’re pregnant and experiencing depression, anxiety or if you have any concerns then you should speak to your midwife. She will be able to reassure you and advise you of any extra support you might be able to access.
Your Health Visitor – Your health visitor may be the first person you have an opportunity to open up to. At your baby’s check they will usually ask you how you are feeling and fill in a questionnaire about your mood. Fill this form in honestly – it will not mean you have your children taken away or social services contacted, it is a way for health visitors to determine if you need extra support or talking therapies to help you overcome PND. When they ask you – or even if they don’t – tell them how you feel, they will have seen many mums who feel the same and can guide you towards services, groups and treatments.
Your Nurse/GP – If you’re suffering you can also speak to your GP. Tell them you’re feeling low in your mood and explain how you have been feeling. They may suggest Talking therapies/CBT, anti depressants or they may have information on local groups/services which you can attend.
Children Centres/Baby Clinics – Again the staff who run these centres and clinics will have links to local groups, support services and usually health services. You might have a group local to you and they can advise you where to gain support and help to encourage you to speak to health care professionals.
Helplines – There’s helplines which can help you to talk through how you feel or simply listen. Samaritans have an excellent helpline which can be accessed 24 hours a day, everyday. If you aren’t ready to open up to someone close to you then you can speak to someone via this helpline, they can help give you the confidence and tools to make that step to telling someone. Contact Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90
Although that first conversation can be difficult, it is so important. You may feel ashamed or that you will be judged. You might be uncomfortable with being so open and honest about your feeliyngs but by telling someone you will be opening doors to recovery and gaining essential support. All this will help guide you through recovery. Friends and family care, they want to help and even though they may not understand how you feel, they want nothing more than to listen and support you. If you’re uncomfortable seeking help from a health care professional alone, take a relative or friend along to help get that conversation started. Write down a list of your feelings, so when you see your GP, midwife or health visitor you can remember everything or just hand them the list to read through.
You may feel that you are the only one going through it, but the people you will meet throughout your recovery will have spoken to mums going through it, they will have seen and heard it all, and they will be able to help you overcome this illness.