When you’re down in a hole you’re constantly reminded that logic will get you out. Every single person you know of will all of a sudden be the voice of reason; you need some sun, get back on your bike, move countries, if only they knew that every single fibre of your human being KNOWS that any, if not all of these suggestions are completely valid, BUT, when you’re in the hole it’s dark, you’re bent over, debilitated and unable. When you’re in a hole logic makes no sense at all.
Part of getting out of the hole is to stop ignoring the people who care about you and start accepting help. I’m pretty much out of the hole now and have had loads of clarity on the subject of accepting help, so hopefully by sharing these experiences I can help others help others.
For whatever reason I had a new credit card issued at some point. The new card had a new number which threw out the direct debiting of my bills. The bills piled up and I was being charged interest as I just couldn’t get around to opening mail. My mum (bless) decided to take over and she’s been getting payments up to date and reconnecting direct debit services. She noticed that Energy Australia failed to access my mains reading (out on the street) and for 3 months in a row charged me an estimate, but on the 4th month (being last month) they got access to my mains box for a reading and sent through an accurate bill PLUS a bill of over $1200 to pay for the excess use of energy (as they estimated way low for the 3 months they couldn’t reach my mains box).
The latest bill, and the additional bill for the 3 months I was undercharged, was taken out of my account direct debit BEFORE the date on the invoice which Mum wasn’t happy about so she asked if she could come over, get me to call Energy Australia to allow her access to my account so she could fight with them on the phone. Keep in mind at this time I had no ideas what she was talking about. I just snappily went through security questions with the Indian lady on the other end of the line and passed my mum the phone.
At the same time as mum was on the phone I had got a worker outside ripping off sheets of corrugated plastic off my deck roof. The wind here is something else at times and my roofs been falling apart a sheet at a time. I’ve been meaning to fix this for a year or more but just haven’t been able to get around to it. Instead I’ve just dealt with the flapping and crashing noises the sheets make on windy days (deafeningly loud btw but when you’re in a hole you just mix it in). I’ve got construction next door too. They knocked their house down and are now just at the end of a 1.5yr new home build. It’s been noisy for so long, in retrospect it can’t have been good for me to sleep in my lounge room which is closest to the flapping roof and construction next door!
I’m trying to zone out and play my computer game. Woosah. I got this. 2hrs later mum gives up and Dianne decides to give it a go. She jumps in there and starts blasting whoever it is on the other end of the line at Energy Australia. I see and hear something I don’t really want to see. If the girl I’m seeing is speaking to another human being in that way then surely in future she could speak to me in that way too? Yucky thoughts. I decide to stop everything and ask mum what the fuck is going on. She explains the dealio and I lose my shit.
Dianne was arguing for no reason at all as everything was right and as it should be. IE: Energy Australia undercharged me for 3 months as they had to make a guesstimate because the house construction next door blocked them from reaching my meter panel. I now was sent a bill to pay for the energy I used during those 3 months. For various reasons mum was angry. I get that, but what did she want? A refund of some sort? An apology? I wasn’t so sure in the end but I pulled both Dianne and mum aside and with a deep breath and in a very calm fashion I let them both know that OK; I get that you’re trying to help me, but if you’re going to help me, THEN FOR FUCKS SAKE PLEASE FUCKING HELP ME! I had to make it clear that the stressful vibe that was my mum and Di blasting nastiness over the phone started at 10am and went all the way through to 2PM and I needed them to note that despite good intentions, none of their efforts helped me at all.
The example above might be overkill, but it was a real moment of clarity for me. Sometimes when you’re in a hole you’re in your head and you just can’t reply because replying takes effort and when you put effort in you get grumpy and start blasting people. Another classic example; Di and I are in the car. Hey I’m out and about! Mum calls Di, Di puts mum on speakerphone and Mum asks if I’d like any lunch. I’m indifferent but hey, sure. Mum then asks what do I want for lunch and I almost lose my shit. I shut up because I know that’s the best thing to do when I get like this. Di noticing my dummy spit takes the call off speaker and speaks to mum, a few seconds later Di asks me that mum wants to know what I’d like to have for lunch…
I lose my shit again. FFS why is this so fucking hard?! Get me lunch, or not, it really doesn’t matter, but if you’re gonna help me then FFS just please, please fucking help me.
So I hope these examples can help to further understand how you can more easily help a friend who’s down. For me, it took a while to get going on my own power again, but you know you’re getting out of the hole when you start getting mad at the help, so mad because you feel that if you want shit done then you’ve got to do it yourself. That’s motivation right there! If that isn’t a wake up call then I don’t know what is!
PS: Sadly this reads better on medium than it does on my own blog (compare reading thew above to the same exact copy but on medium: https://medium.com/@justinfox_30083/how-to-really-help-someone-with-depression-d8705f1b346d). I’m keen to re-work this blog to make it easier to read (old man now, this small type is really doing my eyes in lol).