I have been on antidepressants for five months now and I have been trying to manage my depression and panic attacks as best as I can but I still don't know how to ask for help when I feel like I need it.
To be clear, I don't mean that I don't know how to talk to my doctor about it. I have been seeing a psychologist for the past few weeks and we've been discussing how I've been feeling, what has been upsetting me and why I perceive certain situations in specific ways.
My problem is that outside that context I am finding it extremely hard to talk about how I'm feeling with my friends and loved ones, even when I need help. I have no problem telling people that I'm on medication and do not feel ashamed about being depressed because I am trying to get better and learn how to manage it.
However, I am also aware that a lot of the time I really need a hug and I need to be around people I trust, sometimes constantly, in order to feel safe. If for any reason I find myself unable to do that on a regular basis I end up getting panic attacks, hyperventilating, shaking and crying uncontrollably without being able to explain why this is happening or being able to stop it.
When people ask me if I'm ok or want to know what's wrong, I find myself unable to give a satisfying answer, because nothing specific has happened, but my brain has decided that I need to be a wreck now and my body is going along with it and all I can tell for sure is that I need someone to hold me until it's over.
And that's the hard part (as if the actual panic attacks were not hard enough on their own). I don't know how to call someone and say 'can you please come and hold me for an indefinite amount of time because I can't stop crying and I don't want to be alone?' Especially since I am fully aware that this is not a one time thing, rather it's an ongoing issue I've been facing for years.
What makes me literally paralysed with fear is that I know that the real question is not if someone can come do that once, but if they'd be willing to come do that forever because I can not handle my own emotions. And the fact that I believe the answer will be no.
I have convinced myself that nobody would ever care about me enough to say yes and, even if they did, how can I ask someone for something like that?
I have put myself in a situation where my greatest fear is being alone, but I am so afraid of being left alone that I am unable to ask people to be around me, in case they say no and then I end up alone. While I can see how that leaves me being alone anyway, I don't know how to escape this vicious circle as all I can do when all these feelings come up is curl up in a ball and stay still, utterly paralysed and unable to ask for help.
What makes everything worse is that if anyone asks if they can help me with something, I will lie and say I don't need anything and pretend I'm fine so they don't worry and they leave me alone.
To be honest I am not even sure why I wrote all this, maybe it's my way to make sense of how I'm feeling.
Maybe, though, if more people read this they can do their best to tell their loved ones who suffer from mental illnesses how much they love them and that they are going to be there to hold them forever if that's what they need.
I'm not sure if I'll ever find the courage to ask my loved ones for that, but I really wish I could.