Stress Management Please Help Me: What to Do When You Need Help By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology. Learn about our editorial process Updated on February 21, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Getty / Boy_Anupong Table of Contents View All Table of Contents What Are You Feeling? What Is Wrong? Where to Find Direction How to Feel More at Ease When to Seek Help Treatment Options If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. Do you feel like you need help and don’t know where to turn? If you’ve hit the point of wanting to ask for help or the thought “Please help me” keeps running through your mind, it’s likely that you’ve hit some sort of a crisis point in your life and don’t know how to deal with your situation. You probably know something is wrong in your life, but feel as though you need advice or direction to put you at ease and give you hope that your problem can be solved. If this is the situation that you are in, know that there are steps you can take to get the help that you need and to start feeling better. I Need Help: What to Do If You Feel This Way What Are You Feeling? If you keep thinking “Please help me,” the first step is to ask yourself exactly what you are experiencing in the moment. What feelings or thoughts are coming up that have left you feeling this way? If you can get clear about the emotions you are experiencing, then it will be easier to explain to others what you are going through. In turn, this will make it easier for others to be able to help you or give you direction. Here are some possible painful and challenging emotions that you might be experiencing that have left you feeling as though you need help from someone: Anxiety Panic Worry Fear Sadness Depression Grief Loneliness Anger Self-Hatred Stress Shock Pain Hopelessness Helplessness If you aren’t exactly sure what you are feeling, try writing in a journal about what’s going on that has left you feeling this way. Try not to overthink it and just write as things come to you. Keep writing until you dig deep enough to get at the emotions that you are experiencing or how you have been feeling about what’s going on. Once you have a better idea of your emotions, you'll be able to describe them to someone else when you ask for help. What Is Wrong? Beyond being able to articulate the emotions that you are experiencing, it might also be helpful to be able to describe to someone what has caused you to feel this way. While you might not always be aware of the reasons for how you are feeling, other times there might be a clear trigger or situation that is causing you concern. Below are some potential causes of feeling as though you need help. Job loss/Job insecurity Stressful working conditions Traumatic events Underlying mental health conditions (e.g., depression, personality disorders) Financial stress Problematic relationships Moving to a new place Major life changes (e.g., having your first child) Experiencing discrimination Bullying or harassment Loneliness or isolation Addiction/substance abuse Rejection, abuse, or neglect These are just some examples of things that might be causing you to feel as though you need help. If you haven’t already, take a moment to write down all of the things that are creating this feeling in your life. Having a list of what’s wrong or what your feelings are will make it easier to focus on how you can start feeling better. You could also rate each area of your life on a scale from 1 to 10 to see which are lowest for you and potentially causing you to feel as though you need help. Where to Find Direction Once you’ve identified the emotions that you are experiencing and the potential triggers or causes contributing to how you are feeling, you might be wondering how to go about getting help, finding advice, or getting some direction. While Googling your problems might be a good first step to finding answers or finding others who have been through something similar, there are many more options for reaching out for help. Below are some ideas of steps you can take to find help. Friends and Family An obvious place to start is to tell a friend or family member about how you’ve been feeling. Just being able to vent your frustrations or get them out in the open might be enough for you to start feeling better. If you do find that you are feeling better, make a point of talking to someone on a regular basis so that you don’t keep feelings bottled up. Isolation can make negative emotions worse, so it’s best to avoid isolating yourself. Listening Services If you don’t have anyone close to you that will lend a listening ear or if you're not ready to talk to anyone, you could consider using a listening service such as 7 Cups. While the listeners on the other end are not professionals, they are trained to listen and respond in a way that helps you to work through your frustrations and problems. Crisis Lines and Help Lines What if your situation is dire or urgent? In these cases, your first step should be to reach out to a crisis line or help line. In the United States, call 988 for free and confidential support if you are in distress or crisis. If you are experiencing a medical emergency then you should call 911 or your local emergency number. Support Groups Are you struggling with a problem for which there are support groups to help? If so, consider joining one of these groups to talk with others who have gone through the same things as you. Being able to talk about your problems with others who understand will help you to feel less alone with your struggles. Professional Help In some situations, you may find that reaching out for professional help is appropriate. For example, if you are looking for help because of physical or psychological issues that aren’t related to an identifiable situational trigger, you might need the help of a professional to discern what is going on. If you do have a diagnosable physical or mental health condition, receiving treatment in the form of therapy or medication could be the one thing you need to turn your situation around. If this is your situation, reaching out to your family doctor is usually the best first step. Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms, including their nature, duration, and severity. They may then make a referral to an appropriate specialist if needed. Community Groups If your need for help centers around a feeling of loneliness or not having anyone to talk to, joining a local community group could be helpful. For example, you could find a local club to join such as a book club or knitting club. You could also attend a local church or volunteer with a local non-profit organization. The key is to keep showing up and spending time around the same people; eventually those people will start to feel more like friends. How Social Support Contributes to Psychological Health Mentors, Teachers, or Religious Leaders Another option for asking for help is to reach out to a religious leader, teacher, or other potential mentor whom you already know or with whom you already have a connection. While it might feel awkward sharing your feelings, know that these individuals are in these positions because of their desire to help. At the very least, they can likely point you in the direction of where to receive more help for your specific concerns. Introspection or Meditation What if you are not ready to reach out for help? Or what if you feel as though you’d like to go it on your own a bit longer? This might mean practicing meditation, journaling about your feelings, or completing a self-help workbook. This option is best suited to problems that are not urgent in nature. It’s also best if you have a good ability to think deeply about what’s troubling you and also a motivation to work on solutions. Press Play for Advice On Asking for Help Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares tips for asking for help effectively. Click below to listen now. Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts / Amazon Music How to Feel More at Ease In addition to reaching out for help from others, you may want to consider coping strategies that you can use on your own to feel better when you have that out of control feeling that you need “desperate help.” While you can’t control what happens to you or your underlying propensity toward mental health issues, how you live your day-to-day life can have an impact on how you feel. For example, if you react to anxious feelings this often creates more anxiety than if you simply rode out the anxiety like a wave reaching shore. Below are some ideas of actions that you can take or self-care strategies you can put into place to help prevent that feeling of overwhelm that leads to you desperately needing help. Relaxation If your need for help is combined with a feeling of anxiety and panic, then you’ll want to do things to help calm yourself down. Ideas include practicing deep breathing from your diaphragm, making yourself a cup of chamomile tea, and listening to a relaxation meditation recording. Distraction & Enjoyment Sometimes, when your mind has run away with the worst case scenario, it can be helpful to distract yourself or do something that you enjoy, if only to get some perspective or distance from what is bothering you. Below are some ideas of things you could do as a distraction or for enjoyment. Obviously, you’ll want to choose activities that are enjoyable to you or that will help you to take your mind off your current situation. Watch an interesting television series or movieRead a fictional book set in a faraway placeMeet up with friends at a new spotPlay a game of badminton or another sport you enjoyTry your hand at a new form of painting Listen to some uplifting musicGo for a walk somewhere newWrite a short story, poem, song, or novelTry your hand at drawing Healthy Habits If you struggle with your mental health, one of the best things that you can do is to practice healthy habits. These are things that help both your physical and mental health, and help to regulate your brain chemistry to keep you feeling good. Below are some ideas of healthy habits that you could start to practice. Take a multivitamin or supplement (see your doctor to assess whether you are deficient)Get outside in nature (e.g., go for a walk; sunlight helps to provide Vitamin D and reduce risk of depression)Get regular exercise to raise your endorphins and feel better (e.g., 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week)Stick to a regular sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene (e.g., no screen time one hour before bed, no devices in the bedroom)Eat a healthy diet Schedules If depression is part of what is causing you pain, then sticking to a regular schedule as much as possible will be helpful. This includes eating regular meals, showering regularly, being productive every day (whether that means going to work or some other task, no matter how small it may seem), and sticking to a sleep schedule. Self Talk It can be tricky to decipher whether your situation is causing you pain, or if your thoughts about your situation are the culprit. Often it’s a combination of the two, but in many cases, your thoughts are the only thing that you have control over. Watching your self talk and monitoring it for negative thinking patterns can be a helpful self-help strategy for managing negative emotions. For example, you might have a pattern of believing that because you experience a particular emotion, it must mean that there is something wrong or that you should feel a certain way. This is particularly true if you live with a mental health condition like depression or anxiety that can cloud your judgment and make it hard to see beyond your anxious or depressive thoughts. Remember That Thoughts Are Not Facts One thing to remember is that your thoughts are not necessarily accurate and they do not define who you are or how you choose to react. You can, in fact, choose to view your thoughts as products of your mind that you, as a detective, can be curious about and ask questions about. This means doing a bit of work such as writing down your thoughts when you notice that you are having a negative emotional reaction, looking for distortions in your thoughts, and reframing the situation using more realistic thinking patterns. While this can take some time to do, over time and with practice, it will become easier and feel more natural to catch your negative thoughts and replace them quickly. Expressing Feelings Another self-help strategy that can be helpful if you struggle with a lot of negative emotions is to find a way to express or release your negative emotions such as sadness or anger. Creative pursuits such as playing an instrument, painting, or writing poetry can be one way to let out sadness. In the case of anger, more physical pursuits such as sports or exercise may be effective for releasing adrenaline and pent-up feelings. Gratitude It can be easy to slip into the feeling of never having enough in your life, particularly if you are struggling with problems that are weighing you down. However, learning how to practice daily gratitude will go a long way toward making you more appreciative of what you do have that’s good. This type of practice will serve you well even when you no longer feel as though you are drowning. Below are some ideas on how to incorporate gratitude into your daily life: At the end of each day, write down three things that you are grateful for. Go into detail and write some of the reasons you are grateful for them. Or, you can write about three things that went well that day.Before bed each night, imagine waking up the next only having the things that you were grateful for the night before. Watch how this causes you to quickly run through a “gratitude rampage” where you list everything that you would not want to live without.Each morning when you wake up, ask the universe (or whatever spiritual body you believe in) “Show me how it gets better.” Then, your job throughout the day is to be on the lookout for how things are getting better. How to Maintain a Gratitude Journal for Stress Relief Acceptance Another way to move beyond your problems is to accept them fully. This doesn’t mean that you accept your circumstances or that you don’t try to solve problems. Rather, it means that you accept and acknowledge whatever problems you are facing, but understand that they do not define who you are or what you can accomplish. Mindfulness Are you struggling with staying in the moment or being mindful when you feel as though you need help? Practicing mindfulness exercises such as imagining your thoughts as leaves floating down the river can help. In general, stopping several times a day to be really present in the moment instead of thinking about the future or the past will help you to be more mindful. Physical Environment Often, your physical environment will be a reflection of how you are feeling on the inside. However, you can also work backwards and clean up your physical environment so that it starts to make you feel better. This might be easier said than done if you are struggling with a mental health condition like depression. However, just doing a little bit each day can add up to bigger changes than you might expect. New Perspective Sometimes the thing you need most is a change of scenery or change of perspective. While this might not always be possible, if you can, try to change something in your life to give yourself a break or see things in a different light. Below are some potential ideas on how to change things up or get some perspective. Ask for a leave of absence from workTake a class to learn something newGo somewhere you’ve never gone beforeMake new friends or expand your social circleMove to a new place or take a vacationDress differently than you normally would Connections Finally, if you are truly struggling and feeling like you need help, it’s likely that you are in need of more social connection. This could also mean that you are in need of more physical connection. If you don’t have a significant other in your life, even having a pet like a dog or cat to keep you company and snuggle with at night could make a difference. Oxytocin is released when you bond with someone (or even a pet) that you love. This hormone helps you to feel calm, secure, and connected to others. If you do have people in your life but haven’t connected with them in a while, a simply hug could go a long way to making you feel better. And if distance or other obstacles prevent this from happening, you can get the same effect by sending them a gift. When to Seek Help Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you experience any of the following: Depression symptoms (including low mood, loss of interest, fatigue, and feelings of worthlessness) that last longer than two weeks Changes in your sleep, appetite, or activity levels Mental health symptoms that interfere with your ability to function normally in your daily life Psychological distress that makes it difficult to cope or function Reliance on unhealthy coping skills to manage stress Emotional symptoms or behaviors that disrupt healthy relationships Self-harming behaviors Suicidal thoughts or behaviors Treatment Options If you decide that you need professional help to manage your symptoms, there are a number of different options available. The right intervention depends on factors such as your specific diagnosis and the nature and severity of your symptoms. In many cases, your doctor or therapist may recommend psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Psychotherapy There are many different types of therapy, and the approach that is right for you may depend on the symptoms you are experiencing. Some types of therapy you might consider include: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) Psychodynamic therapy Humanistic therapy Interpersonal therapy Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) Medication Medications may also be prescribed to help you cope with specific symptoms, such as anxiety or depression. Some of the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medications include: Celexa (citalopram) Lexapro (escitalopram) Prozac (fluoxetine) Welbutrin (bupropion) Zoloft (sertraline) In most cases, help is available on an outpatient basis. If your symptoms are severe or pose a risk to your well-being, hospitalization is also an option. A Word From Verywell No matter how bad you are feeling right now, know that you are not alone and that millions of other people are feeling the same way. It’s not unusual to sometimes feel as though you need help. And, it’s important not to ignore that feeling in the hopes that it will go away. Taking action, even if that just means making an appointment with your doctor, calling a friend, or going for a walk, will help you to start feeling as though you have the power to make change. Because in the end, it’s only through you taking action that things will change. For this reason, it’s your job to look for solutions. At the same time, those solutions often mean asking for help from others. Start with the smallest step, and see if you can’t find the help that you need once you get clear on what’s wrong, why you are feeling the way that you’re feeling, and what you are hoping to change. Once you take that first step, you'll likely find that it's easier to take the next steps after that toward feeling better. 4 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Wilkialis L, Rodrigues N, Majeed A, Lee Y, Lipsitz O, Gill H, Tamura J, Nasri F, Lui LMW, Siegel A, Mansur RB, Rosenblat JD, McIntyre RS. Loneliness-based impaired reward system pathway: Theoretical and clinical analysis and application. Psychiatry Res. 2021 Feb 10;298:113800. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113800. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33618235. Yagci I, Avci S. Biochemical predictors in presentations to the emergency department after a suicide attemp. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2021;122(3):224-229. doi: 10.4149/BLL_2021_012. PMID: 33618533. Siebers M, Biedermann SV, Bindila L, Lutz B, Fuss J. Exercise-induced euphoria and anxiolysis do not depend on endogenous opioids in humans. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2021 Feb 10;126:105173. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2021.105173. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33582575. Matchock RL. Pet ownership and physical health. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2015 Sep;28(5):386-92. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000183. PMID: 26164613. By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Stress Management Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.