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How to Ask for Help in a Crisis

How to Ask for Help in a CrisisI have lived with schizophrenia for eight years. In those eight years I have gone through cycles of wellness. While it primarily gets better with each passing day, there are still periods here and there where life becomes too overwhelming or where I push myself too hard. Then I feel the intense crushing weight of existence on my shoulders.

In those times I tend to retreat, not only to my apartment but into myself. I lie there on my couch staring at the TV, emotions flowing through my spine. It’s all I can do to keep myself from crying.

Sometimes the feeling lasts for only a day or two. Other times it builds until there’s a tipping point where I make some declaration of exasperation and throw my family into a tizzy of worry.

Yes, it’s been eight years. Yes, I’m getting better at recognizing my moods and the way things are going. But there are still nights where I would be OK if I didn’t wake up in the morning.

In times like these it’s important to find some kind of help. At the very least find a kind ear to hear your problems, or a shoulder to burrow into and let the tears trickle, if that’s what you need.

On hard nights you think, “I wish someone would just reach out to me. I wish someone would ask me how I’m doing. Why don’t people care about me?” This is not a good series of inner voices.

I know what it’s like to feel like no one cares about you. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re some defect in the algorithm of life. But it’s important to know that more people care about you than you realize.

There are people out there who would jump up at a moment’s notice to come to your aid, give you a hug, rub your back and tell you they love you.

You can’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You can’t be afraid to make a call to your mom or your dad or your brother or your sister or a close friend. How else are they supposed to know that you’re having a hard time if you don’t tell them?

I’m no stranger to wearing the “everything’s OK” mask and then going home and crawling into a ball in my bed hoping to God that it would just end.

It can take a good deal of courage to make that call. It can take a crisis to make you take action in taking care of yourself. I know it’s hard not to feel like your complaining is a bother to those around you. I know what’s it like to feel like you have no outlet because you feel like a burden to those close to you.

All you have to do is pick up that phone, though.

The good thing about family and friends is that no matter what you’re going through, they’ll be there to calm you down.

It’s also important to recognize when a crisis may be coming. It takes years to get to know yourself well enough to realize the signs that you may need to take a break.

Ennui is defined as a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement. It’s a dull feeling at first, but it always comes on in the days or weeks before a crisis.

When I feel it, I know it’s time to start taking things a little easier and to stop being so hard on myself about things that I could have done differently. Learn to recognize ennui and you may able to avert a crisis by reaching out before it escalates into something you can’t control.

It’s also important to know that suicide is never the answer. Whatever difficulties you have in life can be solved. Suicide is finality.

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help. There are people who care about you whether you like it or not. You’re OK and people love you, I promise.

How to Ask for Help in a Crisis

Michael Hedrick

Mike Hedrick is a writer and photographer in Boulder, CO. He has lived with schizophrenia for many years and his work has been published in Salon, Scientific American and The New York Times. His book is available here You can follow his blog on living with schizophrenia here

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2018). How to Ask for Help in a Crisis. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 11 Jul 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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