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Accepting Help is Hard. Wednesday July 9, 2014

Let's face it – for all our talk about depression being an illness – a clinical condition, many of us are still embarrassed and ashamed when we fall into it. The fact that some of the symptoms of the depression are feelings of guilt and shame doesn't really help; it's a bit of a vicious circle.

So we feel that we really ought to be able to cope: that somehow we're inadequate when we just can't deal with everyday life... What was that? Oh yes, more guilt and shame and back on that vicious hamster wheel again!

So, even though I know that I need to rest and to do as little as possible while I get better, it's really hard to accept help. I am lucky enough to have a husband who picks up the majority of the childcare, the housework and who will field telephone calls for me (the faint halo behind his head is worrying, but I have not yet received that call from the Pope wanting to beatify him). I still feel guilty though when I hear the sound of the vacuum cleaner and know he's at it again. (Ah yes, you spotted that guilt again – well done!)

The other day a friend popped round while I was doing the ironing. "You shouldn't be doing that!" she said "You should be resting." and she promptly sat me down on a chair and finished the ironing herself. It was embarrassing, but I realised that of course I would do the same for her if our positions were reversed. My mother sends food, "So you don't have the cook for the children if you don't feel up to it, dear." It's hard to accept that: I should be looking after her, not the other way round.

This time the depression has been particularly tough and I've had to call upon friends and colleagues to give me lifts, to represent me at meetings. I've had to cancel appointments with clients and send apologies to other commitments when I just haven't been well enough to attend. Everyone without fail has been understanding, flexible and supportive. But it's hard.

It's difficult to accept that people are honestly happy to help and delighted to be asked. Friends and family really want to help and give support through the bad patches. Mostly they can't help, except by just being there at the end of the phone and sending positive thoughts and prayers, but sometimes they can assist with the practical things, the laundry, the cleaning, the admin.

It means letting others into our most vulnerable space and trusting them. It's hard.
It's much easier to be a gracious giver than a grateful recipient and pride is a big and bitter pill to swallow.

But I tell you, it felt so good having the ironing all done, finished and put away. It was hard, but worth it.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 8:12am

Morning Mary (doll) :-) You always sound very upbeat in the face of your challenging times. Lovely to hear but I would imagine its not that easy... I'm away on holiday at the moment and struggling, how ironic! I want to curl into a ball and scream and yet I am pulling out my mask hourly and not. The effort of normal is nigh on unattainable and hurts. Mine is a secret to many and misunderstood by those who know. Anyway, I have no idea why I threw that out there...not exactly helpful to anyone! Just wanted to say hello to all. Love from the room above the holiday garage.

jules Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 8:41am

Good morning Mary. Another lovely blog, which im sure many people can identify with. Shame and guilt are my two best friends! ;)
Have you ever seen those TED talks by Brene Brown? On vulnerability and shame? If not check them out they are inspiring. X

Suzy Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 9:40am

Oh I must surely check out those TED talks Jules. Thank you.

And thanks Mary for this. Oh the ever present guilt!! And thanks for editing my post yesterday too. ;o)

Anonymous Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 10:03am

This is my trouble - I can't ask for help when I need it.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 10:27am

Thank you for sharing. I can really relate to your blogg today.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 12:16pm

I think it is better to let people in like you are doing then shut them out. I struggle with guilt but more about past actions and mistakes. It sounds like you have a wonderful support network which is great. Your friends want to help and want to be there for you .Hope you feel better soon

Anonymous Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 1:28pm

You're very lucky to have friends and family around to help.
I have no-one.
I've tried asking for help from charities and the NHS but received nothing. Accepting help is a lot easier than actually getting it in the first place.

Mary Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 5:17pm

Hey RAT(H)G, (Hmmmm, do you mind being known as the RATG?). For goodness sake: don't you know that holidays are the fourth most stressful time after bereavement, divorce and moving house? Give yourself some slack, girl (sorry - assuming you're female here) and just chill!

Seriously, if you did let go of that mask (and I do know how hard that is) and say "I feel crap, actually." What would happen?

If your nearest and dearest would look at you blankly and uncomprehendingly and then proceed to beat you up about how you SHOULD be happy to be on holiday with your family (I know that feeling), then keep that mask firmly on and just let it down with us on Moodscope. But..... if they might say "Fine: you rest, we''ll go off and let you have some peace" how would that be?

Wishing you every strength and sending gentle hugs, Mary

Mary Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 5:20pm

About to check these talks out now. Thanks for the recommendation!

Mary Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 5:24pm

Hello Anonymous. I am so sorry to hear that you are so isolated. While this internet forum cannot help practically, please accept our best wishes and warmest thoughts for you. It's really tough being all by yourself. Have a virtual gentle hug. I hope that practical help for you turns up soon.

Les Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 5:31pm


What a fab post today - that certainly struck a chord......and it prompted me to write..........

Accepting help is hard,
Said Mary on the day.
Accepting help is hard,
Our heads too oft hold sway.

We decide for others,
That we can't ask for.
The help we need,
To clean the floor.

Yet we deny their 'gift',
We deny their love.
We close a door,
We push and shove.

To be alone and supposedly safe,
To have some peace, no need to talk.
Yet we deepen our gloom within our minds,
And take the 'black dog' for yet another walk.

So when we feel such things inside,
Guilt and shame and hamster wheels.
As Mary says accept what's real,
The love and time of people who feel.
A love for us,
A sense of care.
For one who is not,
Quite fully 'there'.

Oh and by the you ever 'hire' your husband out........for those of us living alone?

And yes I agree with Jules - Brene Brown is fab on TED Talks

Mary Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 5:38pm

Hi Les, LOVE your poem! Hugs to you! Alas, when not looking after me, my lovely husband is a Governor at two schools, the secretary for a major charity and leader of the church Sunday school and Youth Group. So he doesn't have much time in which to be hired out to others. Thank goodness he is retired: I hate to think what would happen if he were still catching the 6.15am to London every day!

Misty Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 5:55pm

I loved the TED talks (and books) by Brene Brown. Only wish I could integrate what she is saying into my life instead of contining to spiral downward with shame. What good is that? It's not!!! Maybe time to re-read her books.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 7:33pm

Better to get in there and ask for the help first before someone takes the option away from you, that might just make you feel helpless. Clare Weekes has a wonderful take on what is called depression. She puts information in a way that makes it normal and provides a way to deal with it. It surprising just how much dusting and ironing we actually don't need to do and it makes no difference to the clothes or those around us. Permission not to do anything!

Anonymous Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 7:58pm

There is a website called It is a community website operating in all areas and if not in yours then you just put your area in and the people will come.It is very supportive and worth having a look at. It attracts a huge variety of people who have offered to shop, visit or take people to various community activities when someone has said what their situation is. Some need a vet, some kids clothes, others someone to knit with once a month. Local event are put up, as well as opinions and general information. So simple but vital needs can be attended to but leisure options too, once they are resolved. Also sounds like the wrong charities and certainly not the NHS. The MIND organisation does a huge number of things now and they have volunteers who might be able to provide some assistance as well as someone who will talk you through what your needs might be and they also have some community activities that you might like. Local libraries have help with computers and the groups are qutie mixed so a good start as you might be able to help others with computer skills and then so you wont feel it is one sided. Avoid the ones you thought might help and go for other options. If finances are a problem perhpas neighbours children might be willing to garden, iron or get groceries for a little pocket money. It will give them confidence and communication with you will no doubt teach them about the needs of others. Most areas do have a community nurse or centre that should be able to give you some rounded support. If you are house bound your surgery should be getting someone to assist. I would keep hassling them. There should also be transport options to take you to larger shops where you can use a ride on trolley. Why not tell everyone what your situation is and I am sure you will get a lot of support, but do try the street life site too. My thought are with you.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 10th 2014 @ 3:46pm

Original poster here.
I just registered on and there's no-one in my area on it.
I've been trying to get in touch with my local Mind since February, when I came out of hospital, with no luck. I've had no support from the local NHS Mental Health team since leaving hospital either. I've put a complaint in but so far nothing has happened.
None of my neighbours have children (that I know of, I don't see any of my neighbours) and I live in quite a rural area so getting any type of support is tough.
I'm too tired to fight anymore.

Kayti Khaos Purdy Fri, Jul 11th 2014 @ 4:49am

I really really really appreciate this. I can relate so strongly and with the recent events in my life I truly feel it. Thank you for writing this.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 11th 2014 @ 4:30pm

I have suffered with depression over the years. How lovely that you have understanding family. Your job is to get better. Theirs is simpler. They are vacuuming and doing dishes. It's hard to receive that kind of love. I am glad you wrote about this. It is an issue for me also.

I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME in Britain. Your description of fatigue seems so much like mine that I'll just put it out there: look and see if there is any similarity with the symptoms you suffer. What made me think of it was that you need rest to recover. Many with CFS/ME also have depression and in the US they estimate 80% of the cases go undiagnosed.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 13th 2014 @ 9:33am

Go to GP. Demand help. Try to understand medication you may be on. If not on meds discuss options. Be aware side affects will occur. Hard I know but try one more time. DEMAND help from GP. x

Anonymous Sun, Jul 13th 2014 @ 10:06am

I've been told by my GP and the mental health team that "no medication will ever work" for me, and I've tried a lot so I'm inclined to believe them.
They've written me off as 'broken' and totally unfixable.

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