When I Ask For Help
I am not what you’d call a nag or a very demanding person by nature. To be honest I don’t really have to be as I’m lucky enough to be with someone who willingly and without prompting partakes in more than his fair share of the housework, picking up the slack during the times I don’t function so well. I am hyper conscious of the fact that I don’t do my fair share (one more thing to feel guilty about) and subsequently I’m reluctant to add to his burden by making requests for additional household tasks. Or anything much, for that matter. Not counting a billion cups of tea or some time for myself
Once in a while there’ll be a small specific thing requested of me. Making a phone call. Going to the post office. Filling in a form. He never asks for anything near what could be described as too much because he knows I can’t always cope. I willingly accept the task given because I know its not too much and I have the time and its not out of my way or inconvenient in the slightest so “yeah, of course I can do that Baby, no worries”. Except sometimes I don’t. I just don’t. I promise I will and I do mean it but I just don’t. And as the days pass and the pressure to do what I promised increases and the task itself seems to grow bigger and bigger and bigger until it seems ginormous now and suddenly impossible to complete. I try to ignore it and wish it away but of course that never works. And there’s frustration building and resentment and “Please Babes!!” and “Whats the problem?!?” and “Why??” and I keep promising I will because I should be able to and it isn’t a problem really “Theres NO problem I just didn’t get around to it” “I forgot” “I’ll do it! Just leave it!!” “Fine!!! I’ll do it tomorrow!” and eventually I either will do it and feel a disproportionate sense of both achievement and exhaustion (“was that so much trouble?”) or eventually he has to do it himself. As if he doesn’t do enough…
I never could figure it out. In amongst all the “Whats the problem?” and the “Why?” I never had a sufficient answer. My mind would go blank (sometimes I think of this as my mind flatlining *beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep*). What was my problem??? I should be able to do it! Until one day last spring I realised I simply couldn’t . Thats all it was. The task, small and easy though it was, was in fact too much. I needed help.
“Babes I can’t do it. I’m sorry. I need help. I don’t know whats wrong with me. I should be able to do this!!! Everyone else can do these things. I don’t know why I can’t. Its nothing!!!” It felt humiliating and pathetic and I was in a complete and utter RAGE with myself
“But why didn’t you say…?”
Indeed, why didn’t I?
The point of my long winded anecdote is that, and Im pretty sure this applies to most people struggling with depression too, is that if I ask for help you can be sure that I really do mean it. Its taken a lot of time and effort to get to that stage of asking and subsequently that usually means the situation is now urgent and not only do I need help but I need that help NOW! I used an example of physical help here but the same applies to emotional support too. I always need a hug and reassurances. If I’m actively asking for that or similar it means I’m in dire need of it!
Sometimes the timing of the need for help is shite, but thats depression all over quite frankly. It doesn’t care if its Christmas or if work is terribly busy at the moment and it certainly gives no fucks if you’ve got a lot on your plate. It will sneak up and grab you regardless. Or it might not even sneak, it might simply hit you out of nowhere like a truck.
Chances are, the timing will be shit. And I will do my best but often my control over it is limited. And I am always sorry. Depression can often appear quite selfish. But if I have asked for help it means I’m desperate, the situation is urgent and it needs to take priority. If it doesn’t then things are likely to spiral downwards pretty fast
Do I sound spoiled? Probably, I expect
If you are reading this and are the partner or spouse or a loved one of someone grappling with their mental health and they ask you for help one day, I urge you to stand up and listen. To drop everything and do whatever you can because believe me they need you and they need you NOW