How to tell someone how you’re feeling when you’re depressed is hard. And that makes it hard being a ‘good friend’ when you’re struggling with depression. Well it was for me anyway.
I didn’t want to socialise so came up with excuses to decline invitations.
I didn’t answer my phone unless it was someone I knew and wanted to talk to.
Actually, if I’m honest, I think I only answered phone calls if it was my partner. He generally only calls if he needs to speak to me so I pretty much always take his calls. And I’d answer calls from my mum and sister if I felt ‘in the mood’ to talk. If I remember correctly, all other calls went to answerphone.
I don’t think I even opened my emails. If I did, it was maybe once a week and only responded if I absolutely needed to. Remembering that I was running two businesses at this stage . . .
One friend in particular would text me at least once a week to ask how I was and if I needed anything.
I never responded. She ended up contacting my partner to ask him for advice on how she could help me.
I felt really bad about it. I still do actually.
Here was a friend who really wanted to be there for me and I completely shut her out.
I really just wanted the world to leave me alone. And that added feelings of guilt for not being a good friend to her, which just added to all those dark thoughts that were spiralling out of control in my head.
I wanted to be left alone.
No phone calls. No text messages. No visitors. Please no one care about me right now.
I completely isolated myself. Well, as much as I could considering I had a partner and two little people living in the same house as me.
I hardly ever had my phone ‘on me’. I seriously didn’t have the mental capacity or physical energy to respond to anything that happened through my phone. This sounds crazy, but the energy required to lift my phone was energy I felt I needed just to exist.
It got to the point that one day I asked my sister to take my mobile phone and clear all my messages. I was supposed to be working so I not only had friends checking in on me, I had clients chasing me for their work.
She had it for a few days and brought it back with an A4 page, double sided, with a list of all the messages and voicemails I had on my phone. She’d also gone through the list and crossed out ones she thought I didn’t need to worry about.
That was one of the most helpful things anyone did for me during that dark time.
Years later, I still feel guilty about not being a better person and responding to my friend’s text messages. She’s an amazing person so wouldn’t even be thinking twice about any of this now.
How to tell someone how you’re feeling is a struggle at the best of times, without the pressure of feeling like you’re letting someone else down.
But as I think back, I wish there had been a tool that could’ve made this whole situation easier . . . for me and for my loved ones. And then one day it dawned on me.
‘What if there was a print out where I could just tick boxes, to how I’m feeling and how they can help me, then take a photo of it and text that photo to the person that wants to help me?’
If I’d had this back then, I imagine my relationships would’ve been SO much better and more comfortable. When my partner kept asking me, “Should I be worried about you?” and I didn’t have the words, I could’ve used this tool to communicate with him without needing the words.
I need you to know: ✔️ I’m not in a good space at the moment.
I’m feeling: ✔️ exhausted, ✔️ overwhelmed and ✔️ scared.
You can help me by: ✔️ looking after the kids and ✔️ not giving up on me.
Please know: ✔️ I love you and ✔️ I’ll be OK.
OMG! Life changer right?!
The other thing that happens when you’re in that dark space, is not knowing how to articulate what you need.
Then there are times when you just don’t know what you need but you need your loved ones to know that you’ll be okay.
I feel like this chart helps you to identify what you might need to help yourself too.
What I also LOVE about this tool is that it’ll be SUPER helpful for ANYONE who struggles to talk about their feelings when they’re not in a good space or don’t have the words. Sometimes we all just need to be left alone without feeling guilty for needing that alone time.
When I created the Kids Feelings Chart my sister said, “It would be great if you had something like this for adults too. There’s so many times when I don’t want to talk about things but I also don’t want to come across as ungrateful for the other person’s concern, in not wanting to communicate with them. If I could just tick a few boxes to let them know where I’m at, that would make things so much easier.”
I quickly jumped in with, “I created one of those too. I actually created it before the Kids Feelings Chart.”
So here you have it . . . a chart for big people that makes it easier for how to tell someone how you’re feeling!
Please feel free to share this with friends or someone you know is struggling with depression.
Do you have any tips for how to tell someone how you’re feeling?
Until next time, take care,
Looking for tools to support your mental health?
Here are a few I created: