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14 Subtle Ways People With Depression Reach Out for Help

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I’ve lived with clinical depression for a number of years, and one of the constants that I’ve found is the need and/or desire to reach out to someone — whether it be loved ones, family members, friends or strangers — in an attempt to tether myself to a bit of reality… to remind myself that I am valuable… to find someone like me… or to find someone who can “save” me.

While this is not an ultimate solution (I still live with depression; work with a therapist and a psychiatrist, and try to balance meds; fight to remind myself of the difference between my thoughts and reality; and fight the urge to spiral into darkness and oblivion), it is imperative to note the subtle ways people around you (or you, yourself) reach out in search of help when living with depression. (Few of us will actually say, “I’m depressed. Please help me.”)

Below are some of the responses from our Mighty community and the subtle (or not so subtle) ways they reach out for help while living with depression (I can relate to them all, as I have used or do use them all):

Some people will post specific things with the hopes someone will notice:

1. “I start posting more on social about mental health, articles, quotes and advice. I realize that I read more about mental health when my own is declining.” — Faith L.

2. “I post a lot on social media, partly to see if anyone will ask me if I’m [OK]….And if it’s really bad I go completely silent, even if I’m with people.” — Elizabeth P.

3. “I share not so subtle things on Facebook about mental health, PTSD, trauma and needing support, etc, hoping that someone will notice and understand that it’s the only way that feels safe or acceptable for me to reach out for support, because I never feel like I can actively reach out to anyone or ask for support. Especially when I’m struggling the most.” — Lulu B.

Others will disappear:

4. “When it’s bad I get withdrawn, quiet and sleep a lot, but I will still openly say, ‘It’s bad right now’… I want to show others how to reach out and be honest about their mental health.” — Samantha F.

5. “Sometimes I’ll go quiet and I won’t reach out to people and I’ll stay off social media.” — Liz T.

Some will be frank and try to use the platform to help others, even as they need help themselves:

6. “I tend to share more posts about my specific struggles and information regarding depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I tend to try getting awareness out instead of asking for help because I sometimes don’t know how to help myself.” — Tim S.

Still others will reach out to friends, family and loved ones:

7. “I message people. I won’t say what’s wrong, but I will more actively text and message friends… The generic ‘I’m fine’ is usually a sign that I’m not.” — Philomena R.

8. “I get really quiet and withdrawn, even around my best friends.” — Marty P.

9. “Sending a ‘hey, what’s up?’ text, or something generic. I try not to ask specifically for help, for fear of being a burden.” — Sara K.

And some people reach out in other ways:

10. “I talk a lot. Even about the smallest things, I…rambl[e] on.” — Ashley A.

11. “I go into comic relief mode. I pretend to be really hyper and enthusiastic so everyone thinks I’m fine and no one talks to me.” — Amy W.

12. “Drawing really sad things.” — Grace F.

13. “I get touchy and anxious.” — Alita M.

14. “I struggle to keep up with teeth care (flossing / brushing)… I get super cranky and feel like I’m on a shorter fuse with my anger… I tend to over apologize (also over apologizing outside of work).” — Missy L.

Consider what you do when you reach out, and consider those who may be letting you/people know how they feel.

Sometimes, the simplest things are the indications that we’re not all right. In this time, if you can spare a little awareness and thoughtfulness, check in on each other. You never know who might need it.

Photo by Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals) on Unsplash

Originally published: September 21, 2020
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