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If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Crying out for help can look very different, depending upon the person and circumstance. Here’s why it’s so important to listen.

In recovery, many of us have a hard time verbalizing that we need help. We might not even be aware that we need help, and we will instead let out these cries for help that might confuse and bewilder the people around us. Sometimes our loved ones will dismiss our cries for help as being overly dramatic and attention-seeking. They might become angry and dismissive with us. They might accuse us of being self-centered, self-aggrandizing, or self-pitying. They might not connect the dots between the things we’re saying and doing and our self-destructive patterns that eventually become more apparent.

When we’re crying out for help, we’re often so overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed that we aren’t able to function normally in our lives let alone communicate our needs to other people. Perhaps we haven’t developed enough self-awareness or understanding around ourselves or our healing to even know what our needs are. Our relationships with our inner selves have become totally disconnected and fractured. Although we want to cry out and ask for the help that we need, we might do it in ways that are imperceptible and incomprehensible both to ourselves and others.

Our cries for help are often our attempts to bring attention to ourselves in any way we can. We might latch onto other people and become more needy, co-dependent and vulnerable with them. On the other hand, we might totally isolate ourselves and shut people out, subconsciously hoping they’ll notice our pain and come to our rescue. We might self-harm by hitting or cutting ourselves, develop eating disorders, or engage in suicidal behaviors. We might feel desperate, hopeless, ashamed, deeply sad, and afraid.

When we cry out for help, we want people to know we’re suffering but we might not know how to talk about it. We have so much confusion within ourselves that we haven’t made sense of what we’re going through, enough to be able to process it for ourselves or ask others to help us to do so. We have a hard time handling our thoughts and feelings, so we shut down, feeling too overwhelmed to continue. Our loved ones might grow even more concerned when our cries for help subside and we seem to have given up.

If a loved one is showing signs of distress, reach out for help. Please don’t assume that their cries for help aren’t serious, when in fact they very well may be signs of a deep problem. 

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Reach out for support. The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and recovery, and we’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.