Asking for help because I don't have the physical ability or knowledge to use a tool or fix something is one thing. Needing help because my mind or emotions have turned against me...not acceptable.
To have someone who notices when I'm too quiet on FB, haven't texted in a few days, am not picking up my phone, or particular things I say about working in the flowerbeds, turning in paperwork at the court house (where I had to file the divorce petition), or writing thank you notes for those who sent flowers to the funeral...those things are priceless.
As nice as it would be for people to tell us exactly what they need and let us do it, they don't. People don't want others to see their insanity. They don't want people to see them at their worst. So they push through to the best of their ability or shut down when they simply can't go on, and people are too afraid to make them mad or make them cry that they say and do nothing because they are waiting for that "any time you need me" clause to be activated. Except, no one is going to activate it.
So how do you let the person know you are serious about your willingness to be there...even when it is insane?
Seriously. Show up at their door with coffee, a movie, dinner, a blender to make margaritas.
I hated evenings after 8:00 pm. The house is quiet. The lack of companionship was a nightmare. I would have loved for someone to show up with a game or a movie and said, "I'm just here to be here." I'm not saying people need to do that every night, but being alone night after night after a day of being the only parent/counselor/teacher/disciplinarian/social-planner/budget-meeter/order-keeper is mentally and emotionally battering. Someone with coffee and a movie who is willing to just be there with you...gold.
Show up with McDonald's for the kids, a box of kleenex, and a few hours to sit and listen.
Fix a picnic and say, "Let's get out of the house awhile."
JUST BE THERE.
Your job isn't to get them out of their rut or to make them see life isn't so bad. If you do that, they aren't going to want you. I wouldn't want you. That is about you, your opinions, and your comfort zones.
This is about them.
Your whole purpose is to be there...with them...where they are.
Sometimes they don't know how to ask you to be there. Sometimes they don't know what they really even need. They just know they need something...someone...because the demands are too many...the load is too large.
Be what they need.
Do what they need you to do.