It is often so difficult to ask our friends or family for help or support.  Sometimes we don’t know how to express our needs and others times we are just too stubborn or shy to tell other people what is going on for us and what they could do to lighten our load.
So – here to the rescue is a  brilliant facebook message Avery McDaldno sent out to friends letting them know what was going on and how they can offer support.  Following this potent message is a lovely posting from Dream Guide, Toko-pa Turner from Saltspring Island with further wisdom on the art and beauty of asking for what we need.

“hey everyone,

Last night I swallowed my last anti-depressant. I’ve been tapering off for about a month, as per the plan I made with my doctor. I’m super nervous about being non-medicated again, but also hopeful.Next week, fingers crossed, I start taking spironolactone. This is one of the two hormones my body needs in order to become a place of femme possibility. A couple weeks after that, fingers crossed, I’ll start taking estrogen (hoping I get prescribed 2mg estrace, but it’ll probably come down to my doctor’s whim and fancy).Late this week, I’m meeting with someone to talk about getting my face lasered, with the hopes that I can commence such a project within the next couple months.I continue to be in a slow-spiralling financial panic. I continue to be a mess of dysphoria and social anxiety. I continue to be a hermit. Over the next month or two, I’m probably going to need more emotional support than I have in a really long time.  Here’s some ways you can be supportive if you wanna –

If you’re local, invite me out to dance parties and coffee dates and movie-watching evenings. I’ll turn down most of the invites because of social anxiety + homebody tendencies, but I’ll super appreciate feeling wanted. And occasionally I’ll say yes and show up. If you have my phone number, call me on some random afternoon and just check in with me about how I’m feeling. Brief little calls to remind me that I’m loved and check in.

Regardless of how well we know each other, email me at some point over the next month and remind me to drink lots of water and eat at regular intervals. This is one of the things I fuck up when I sink into depression.

If you’re a trans woman or otherwise trans-feminine, and you want to, email me with stories about how spiro & estro affected your body over the first couple months. The obvious stuff and the surprising stuff. Expectation management is hard for me, and all the trans resources I’ve read are REALLY wary about listing specific effects because they vary so much from person to person. And so I still feel so cloudy on what might happen to my body in the next couple months. The nitty, gritty stuff. Like how peeing might feel different, how my food cravings might change, how my nipples might feel.

If you’ve been on and off of depression or other psych meds, and you want to, email me with stories about how you’ve coped with those transitions, what made you realize you needed to go back on meds if ever that was the case, what unexpected effects you felt during those transitions, etc. Expectation management is hard.

If we’re close, you probably know my needs as well as I do. Help me keep perspective.

Thanks all. Much love.


And thanks again for showing us how its done Avery!

1009967_10100874884137181_79799692_n   (more stuff on life and games from Avery Alder  McDaldno)

What would you want to say if you were going to let people know what supports you when you are going through changes or a rough time?

Here is some further encouragement to reach out and ask for help.  Toko-pa reminds us that it  is our willingness to be vulnerable that allows us to truly connect with each other.  This is an excerpt from her post:

This being human is tough stuff and one of the acute losses we all feel is that of meaningful friendship and community. That which our great, great ancestors took for certain: when a wounding befalls one of us, we are all implicated. And so we lean in to support those in pain with our humble gifts of empathy and presence. We shoulder our unbearable questions together and we honour with ritual the devastating requirements and initiations that this being alive asks of us.

But in the impoverished condition of modern culture, we are taught to feel ashamed of our weakness and to deny our own suffering – nevermind share its burden. We’ve made a hedging around the very places we should be depending upon each other. We’ve privatised pain.

And then it’s hard to reach out. It’s hard to be seen with your messy lostness,  exhaustion and overwhelm as you stumble through the complexities of life. But how else can someone become trustworthy unless you allow them to share in your hardship? How can we form the village we ache for unless we allow ourselves to wrestle with these things together?

If you are well, consider being the medicine for someone else’s pain. Rumi says, ‘Where lowland is, that’s where water goes. All medicine wants is pain to cure.’ But if you are unwell, consider asking a friend you want to trust for help. Consider that to be invited behind your hedge is a privilege, and it calls upon the compassion in all of us that lives to flow into a lowland.

Now sometimes the person you call upon may not have the capacity to meet your vulnerability – and there is terrible grief in this. You might be tempted to grow your hedge even higher, and swear off this sharing stuff. But perhaps there is a greater attrition taking place. Perhaps you already knew you were calling upon the wrong person. And perhaps there’s someone unexpected in your midst, who keeps showing up and challenging you to receive their support.

You, who would normally bear it alone – yours is a necessary yielding. Your asking is the invitation that may keep us bound  in place and memory together. Yours are the first threads of a village in the making!

Check-out more of Toko-pa’s insights here:



This post is dedicated to the amazing people of New Denver dealing with such sadness. 

May you all continue to “ask for what you need.”   



  1. Pingback: Grief and Healing with Anita Melin | Shift Happens Now·

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