There are people who are literally on the roof, toes over the edge, leaning into the wind, about to take the fall and end it all. They are paralyzed by their fears – of not knowing what is coming and being afraid of what they have seen already. These people have no hope.
The signs are usually there
We all reach out for help in different ways. Some of us go radio silent. Others act out. Still others carry on as if nothing is wrong hoping that someone will just ask the question because otherwise, we will never say a word. We just don’t know what to ask for.
One of the issues we have in our culture today is that we encourage behaviors that are actually self-harm. We call them self-care. Things like drinking, overeating sweets, spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need, casual sex, “recreational” drug use. I wasted years of my life indulging in behaviors that were harming me all because I was given carte blanche to “do you, boo.” We’ve got to do better for the people we love.
I am a suicide attempt survivor. I’ve tried to take my life four times – and nearly succeeded once. I am a person who got along with people, danced the night away, life of the party, but my shame kept me in darkness. I regretted my actions. I lived a lie most of the time. I felt like an alien in my own body. But I had no idea how to let anyone know without coming off like a weirdo.
How to ask for help
So here are some tips on how to ask for help when you don’t know what to ask for:
1. Just say how you’re feeling and express that you don’t want to be alone right now. Keep asking until someone helps. Don’t give up.
2. If you don’t really have anyone you’re close to for whatever reason, then think of someone who has been kind to you and say, “I know we don’t talk – but you’ve always been nice to me. I’m not doing so hot right now and I was wondering if we could get a bite to eat until I feel better.”
3. If you can’t be alone, reach out to a trusted person and keep them on the phone by saying, “I really can’t be alone right now because I am thinking of harming myself. I don’t want you to be afraid, but will you please stay on the phone with me until this passes or until I get to where you are?”
4. Sometimes, we just don’t want to discuss whatever it is, and we do need a distraction. Reach out to a friend and say this, “Hey – I’m really in a bad place right now. I don’t want to talk about it but I would like to get away from it. Can you distract me with a silly movie/TikTok/FaceTime right now?”
5. Ask for a consistent check-in for a season. This accountability can save your life! Be specific and say, “Can you check in with me to make sure I’m doing okay on _____ at ____ for ____ weeks?”
6. If your surroundings are messy, you’re not going to feel well. Ask a friend to come help you by washing your dishes or helping you finish laundry. It makes a world of difference. A need that is not verbalized is a need that does not get met.
7. Ask for affirmation. Text a friend or post a status on your social media that asks people to share a favorite memory or picture of you – something they love about you. This will lift your spirits quickly.
If you or someone you know is battling right now and cannot get the support they need, please text HOME to 741741 to be connected with a mental health professional now.