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When we need help - Ask. Thursday July 24, 2014

Just this week, I was asked by someone I knew, but had never met, to write a poem for a very personal distressing situation.

They wanted to write a poem, but for various reason could not do so, possibly as it was just too emotional.

They knew I could usually put words into a form that would flow and asked would it be possible for their situation.

I felt my own mood lift.

Here was I in a low place and yet to help and serve someone else immediately made me feel 'useful', while giving me a sense of worth.

All too often we may not ask or approach someone else for fear of them 'being too busy' or that they 'may not want to'.

If we think such things, we are immediately putting our thoughts onto them and denying them their own thoughts, or their ability to help us, as well as feeling wanted.

How many times do we say to people - "X will be far too busy", or, "I'm sure they may not want to do that" and decide that to hear a refusal would be worse...yet they are our close friends.

If we do so, we are not only disempowering them, we are also negating the building of stronger communication links and the creation of a greater support system. A support system for which we possibly crave.

I often use a phrase - 'Show weakness to gain strength'.

We are all insecure in our own way and for others to show that they need help or advice strengthens our trust in each other and the person who often starts that growth, is the one who initially asks for help. How would you feel if you found out that a friend didn't ask you as they thought you may say no or be too busy?

What do you need help with today?

Who can you ask and enable them to help if they can?

Asking not Tasking

To ask others,
Is to help them too.
You can't help someone,
Without helping 'you'.

How often do we take,
That 'helping' away.
We say they'll be busy,
Too busy today.

So we sit in our 'failure',
And struggle on by.
We are not important,
But why oh why?

Do we not offer others,
The chance to say yes.
To help their friend,
To serve and to bless.

That friendship of years,
Through laughter and tears.
To strengthen that bond,
Through hopes and through fears.

So when you want help,
Give them their place.
To serve their friend,
And the human race.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 6:34am

Up until last weekend I would have whole heartedly agreed with you about this.
I have been battling with a low recently. This meant I ended up running in tears from a social event I should never have tried to attend.
This provoked a text from a friend saying "I'm sorry you are low, but there's really nothing I can do about it"
It was a thought less comment. And sent me spiralling down.
I came as close to killing myself as I ever have.
I stood with my sharpest knife in one hand and my phone in the other.
I wanted to telephone my dear friend. But I knew she is going through a stressful time herself, so I didn't.
Now at this point you would expect some sort of confirmation of your "ask for help" message. But when I did talk to my friend, instead of the "why didn't you ring me" I got "I really can't cope with this now" I was alone.
And to top it all, apparently now a mutual acquaintance is gunning for me because I added to my friend's stress.
I am feeling very lost. I am scared to ask any one for help now.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 7:02am

Hello above x. I'm glad you didn't kill yourself and I'm sorry that the torment of the day and event drove you to feel so horrifically bad. Firstly, your dear friend is perhaps guilty of not asking for help here...she sounds like life has filled up with sludge and needs to ask for support, space or help. She remains your dear friend, she will help again, but for now it sounds like she just can't and we each, sadly, know that feeling well. Secondly, darling, you were in need and she could not help but that does not mean others can't. Please know we are here and have many ears and many thoughts that may help. There is always someone. Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 7:54am

A timely reminder, Les, as I am entirely guilty of not asking for help...and spiralling down. Thank you thank you thank you!

heather Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 9:16am

What a wonderful, thoughtful comment ratg. Love from Heather xx

heather Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 9:29am

You really are back on track Les ! I thought this blog was so appropriate. Nearly every day of my life I think someone is too busy to hear something from me. And also I often hear someone say they didn't contact me because they knew I was always so busy. The pace of life now separates people. I remember a time when you just went and knocked on someones door. Good to remember the saying "If you want a favour ask a busy person". We all need contact and reassurance, even if it's just to suggest a coffee and a chat. Do you realise how many people appreciate your blogs ? I bet your poem is fabulous. Love Heather xx

Anonymous Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 9:54am

This is extremely sound advice from Les and I have printed it off to send to an Aunt of mine. The only caveat is to be mindful of the capacity of others. I sought help from another and I had not recognised that they were in a similar place to me mentally and that they did not have the emotional reserve to give to anyone, not just me, and I did not know. They were honest enough to let me know this and after time I was able to have a frank discussion on the effects that we had on one another. Thankfully I am in a better place now and I have the support of family and friends but also when needed I have sought professional listening ears where I did not carry the guilt of perceiving/ feeling that I was emotionally dumping on those who care for me and who I care for. Thank you Les!

Mary Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 11:34am

Hello Anonymous (6.34am) and RATG. So very, very glad you didn't kill yourself, and even more glad you have shared your vulnerability and that terrible experience with us. I would echo every one of RATG's comments; there is always someone, but sometimes it's not the obvious person. At the very least, this Moodscope Community is a virtual lifeline. Wishing you strength to carry on for now and for joy to return to you soon.

Mary Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 11:36am

This is really, really good advice, Les - and, as usual, your poem touched my heart. When down I reply on my good buddies so much. When up they watch out for me flying too high. What's more; people are actually honoured to be asked to help, at least in my experience. Thank you.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 11:38am

Thank you everyone.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 2:01pm

I too am glad you did not harm yourself (anonymous at 6.34am). I can completely empathise with how you feel. I have felt almost identical to you more often than not over the last several months. I needed help badly. I have no family in this country, I'm originally from Australia but been here a long time. My mother passed away, and for various reasons, including health ones, I was not able to get back there at all... I reached out to friends here and got virtually nothing. This may sound selfish, but they know my situation, they know I have no family here, I just needed some human contact, not even really a shoulder to cry on, I wouldn't have done that and they know me well enough to know that I wouldn't have. But I was largely left alone...isolated and still am. So I know what you mean by saying you feel "very lost" and too "scared" to ask for help. Mary at 11.34am says that Moodscope is a "virtual lifeline" and she is right, but can anyone tell me, does anyone on here meet face to face ? Because sometimes the isolation is so gruelling one needs more than a computer screen... as I said earlier, just some human contact, to sit with others, not necessarily to lean on others but just to be able to BE with others who 'get it' and know its ok... DC.

Melanie Lowndes Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 2:13pm

Dear Les, thank you for a really lovely post. I am sorry I have not yet read the other blogs - just felt this was inspiring. x

DawnC.Ritchie Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 3:42pm

Thank you Les. I was touched by your blog.
I am very, very guilty of not asking for help. However, 18 months ago I found myself in a situation where I categorically knew I needed people. So I have asked for little bits of time from people. Like you, I discovered that they were more than happy to help which makes it easier to ask next time...
And I wholeheartedly agree, by not asking, you're robbing them the chance to help someone they care about.

Kate Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 7:18pm

Yes it is true we should ask for help when we need it and accept help that is given. But there are many of us who have no one to ask. I do not have anyone to ask for any sort of help, not even a listening ear. I have tried but because I have Bi-polar with manic tendencies and not depressive ones, no one believes I even have a mental health issue because I haven't been hospitalised. If I say I am struggling I get "oh you'll be alright you always are". The people in my world are in denial about me having bi-polar disorder and despite my trying to explain it, I can't get through and am fed up trying. I have been single for over 10 years so don't even have a partner who could understand. I think that although there are the typical things we should all do to help ourselves - it must be recognised that sometimes we can't even if we want to.

heather Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 7:27pm

DC: why not look up Depression Alliance on your computer to see if they have a Group anywhere near you, or they also now operate something called Depression Alliance Friends in Need which could be very helpful. Please get back to us and let us know your findings. Do hope this will be of some help. As far as I know Moodscopers do not normally meet up - but I could be wrong about this. Love Heather xx

Les Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 11:27pm

Hi Anonymous 06.34 and Kate 7.18pm

I know during all my depressive bouts that the key thing for me, was to find people I felt safe with.

My psychologist and I agreed that as she left (she was a rock emailed me back within 24 hours as an NHS employee and helped me through the worst darkness) that I needed to find a group of people I trusted - I called it my CCG (community care group) and we meet every 3 months or so - not about me, just to make me feel part of something.

They all know my challenges with depression and 2 people especially who I could easily say I owe my life to, take me in when I am at my darkest.

My ex wife once left the house, as I sat on the floor with a knife, and said 'well someone better go and earn some money! Even although my high salary at the time enabled a lifestyle meaning she didn't need to work.

So for me, if you have no one - that is your first job. To find someone you can trust and who will never turn you away - even take you in.

We are not meant to live alone in isolation - as I presently do when I come home.

When I was OK - I made sure I did things that connected me - for sure it isn't easy.

I thought anonymous 0634 was a telling word when you said your behaviour 'provoked' a text....possibly implying that person saw your behaviour as provoking.........I may have it wrong and that doesn't feel supportive.

Kate - how do you seek enough light or balance to enable you to find a trusted friend? If the people in your world are in 'denial' - can you seek another 'world'?

The only person we can change in this world is ourself........and some of the time....we will all need help.....our first aim must be to make friendships that are trusting and authentic.........this is what makes our worlds go round.

AS tough as it may reminds me of the Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl and his book 'Man's Search for Meaning'....and his wonderful quote .....
"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
Check him out on the web....even read his book....if you can concentrate enough which eludes me at times.

I wish you all the best.

Les Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 11:30pm

HI Kate

See my comment above at 1127...its the long one.

How can you shift that phrase 'fed up trying'...............?

You are right - sometimes we cannot even if we want when you can - connect with someone or an organisation.

I wish you well..

Les Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 11:34pm

Hi Heather

Aye - the 'busyness' of life separates us all too true.

Also so true - if you want help or something done - ask a busy person - as they 'do' things and get through a lot - that's why they are busy.

Thanks for your kind words..........they help in such times....between the darkness and light.

Les Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 11:41pm

Hi A

For sure be mindful of the capacity of others - let them decide however how full their mind is.

Great that they felt they could let you know.....such openness is not easy to find.....and you created that level of trust.

Give your aunt my regards;-)

Les Thu, Jul 24th 2014 @ 11:44pm

It is said that the greatest human need is to help others.

Even people who stay apart come together when one asks the other to help - shows that desire and humility to connect.

It is that sharing of need - that often re-ignites old friendships.

I often say - 'show weakness to gain strength' when you authentically connect with others - everyone grows.

Sam W Tue, Aug 12th 2014 @ 1:32am

I found out about this group by reading about it in Clive Thompson's book 'Smarter than you Think', that explains how digital technology can be a force for tremendous positive influence in our lives.

I've been a part of several support groups as I deal with my mental health. I'm looking forward to keeping up-to-date with the MoodScope log. Also, while I'm not looking for a panacea 'cure' for issues of anxiety and depression, I do aim to improve my emotional well-being through a structured program like this.

I've had excellent experiences in meetings offered by the Recovery, Inc., program pioneered by Abraham Lowe, that runs kind of along the AA format. Moodscope appears to offer some practical tools along the same lines, and I look forward to applying them.

Caroline Ashcroft Tue, Aug 12th 2014 @ 2:37pm

Hi Sam, I really hope you find Moodscope helpful.

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