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Do you feel you need help and don’t know where to go? If you’ve hit the point of wanting to ask for help or the thought of “Please help me” runs through your mind often, it’s likely that you’re at some sort of crisis point in your life and don’t know how to deal with your circumstances.

You recognize that something is wrong in your life but feel like you need direction or advice to put you at ease and give you hope that your issues can be resolved. If this is your situation, know that there are steps to getting the help you need and starting to feel better. If you think the thought of “Please help me” often, the first step you can take is to ask yourself what you’re experiencing in the moment. What thoughts or feelings are emerging that have you feeling this way?

If you can get an understanding of the emotions you’re experiencing, it’ll be easier to tell others what you’re going through, making it easier for others to give you direction or help you. For example, you may be dealing with anxiety, fear, worry, panic, depression, grief, sadness, or loneliness. If you’re unsure of what you’re feeling, try writing in a notebook about what’s going on that’s left you feeling like this. Try not to overthink and just write as the feelings come to you. Keep writing until you dig deep enough to get to your emotions or how you’ve been feeling about your circumstances. Once you understand your emotions better, you can describe them to someone when asking for help.

Figuring out what's wrong.

Outside of articulating the emotions you’re feeling, it may also help to describe to someone what’s caused you to feel this way. You might not always know the reasons for how you’re feeling. Other times, there might be a straightforward situation or trigger that’s causing you concern. For instance, you may be dealing with job loss, traumatic events, stressful working conditions, financial stress, underlying mental health conditions, significant life changes, and bullying or harassment.

These are some examples of things that may be causing you to feel like you need help. If you haven’t already, take a moment to jot down everything that’s creating this feeling in your life. Having a physical list of what’s wrong or your feelings will make it easier to focus on how to start feeling better. You could also rate each part of your life on a scale from 1 to 10 to see which areas are lowest for you and causing you to feel like you need help.

Where to find direction.

Once you’ve identified the feelings you’re experiencing and the potential causes or triggers contributing to your feelings, you may wonder how to get help, get some direction or find advice. Googling your problems might sound like a good first step for finding answers or others who’ve been through something similar, but there are more options for getting help. An obvious place to start is to tell a family member or friend about how you’ve been feeling. Being able to vent your frustrations or get them out in the open may be enough for you to start feeling better.

If you find that you’re feeling better, make a point to talk to someone regularly so you don’t keep feeling bottled up. Isolation can magnify negative emotions, so avoiding isolating yourself is best. If you don’t have anyone close to you who’ll lend you a listening ear or aren’t ready to talk to anyone, you should consider a listening service like 7 Cups. The listeners on the other end aren’t professionals, but they’re trained to listen and respond in a way that helps you work through your problems and frustrations.

In some situations, you may find reaching out for professional help appropriate. For example, suppose you’re looking for help due to psychological or physical issues unrelated to an identifiable situational trigger. In that case, you might need a professional’s help to discern what’s happening. If you have a diagnosable mental or physical health condition, receiving medication or therapy could be the one thing you need to improve your situation. If these are your circumstances, contacting your family doctor is usually the best first step.

Another option for asking for help is to contact a teacher, religious leader or other potential mentor you already know or with whom you already have a connection with. While sharing your feelings might feel awkward, understand that these people are in these positions because they want to help. At the very least, they can point you where to receive more help for your particular concerns. If you’re not ready to reach out for help or feel like you should go on your own for a little longer, this might mean journaling your feelings, meditation, or completing a self-help workbook. These options are best suited to issues that aren’t urgent. It’s also best to think deeply about what’s troubling you and as motivation to work on solutions.

How to feel at ease.

In addition to reaching out for help from others, you should consider coping mechanisms that you can use on your own to feel better when you have that out-of-control feeling that you need “desperate help.” You can’t control what happens to you or your hidden propensity toward mental health problems, but how you live your daily life can affect your feelings. For example, reacting to anxious feelings typically creates more anxiety than simply riding out the anxiety like a wave on the shore.

If your need for help is combined with panic and anxiety, you could do some things to help calm yourself down. Ideas include making yourself a cup of chamomile tea, deep breathing from your diaphragm, and listening to a relaxation meditation recording. Sometimes, when your mind runs away with the worst-case scenario, it can help to distract yourself or do something you enjoy to get some perspective or distance from what’s bothering you.

To distract yourself for enjoyment, you could try meeting with friends at a new spot, watching an interesting movie or TV series, or going for a walk. No matter how bad you’re feeling, understand that you’re not alone and millions of others feel the same way. It’s not unusual to sometimes feel like you need help. It’s essential not to ignore that feeling in the hopes that it will disappear. Taking action, even if that means calling a friend, making an appointment with your doctor, or going for a walk, will help you start feeling like you have the power to change.

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