This month it is Mental Health Awareness Month in Australia. I wanted to publish a post relating to mental health every day of the month so that I can personally raise awareness. You can find all posts, posted & upcoming on my schedule.
The first stop to recovery is accepting that you have a mental illness. The second stop is telling your people (friends/family) that you are struggling and telling them that you need help.
Telling someone that you’re struggling can be one of the hardest things that you do. I struggled in silence for a long time before I felt that I had to tell someone. There are many reasons you might not tell someone that you are struggling with your mental health. For me, I was scared of judgement, invalidation and wanting to be perceived as strong. At the time, I saw strength as hiding my emotions though now I know that true strength lies in talking about things that are difficult.
There is no right or wrong way to tell someone that you’re struggling but they way that you approach it can sometimes change the reaction of that person.
1. Choose the person you trust
There is nothing worse than telling someone that you’re struggling and them brushing it off as nonsense. Make sure you tell someone who has the ability for compassion & empathy. This might be a parent, grandparent, cousin, friend, sibling or co-worker. The first person you tell should be someone kind. No-one needs to hear what do you have to be depressed about? When that isn’t how mental illness works.
Choose a time where you can both have time afterwards to talk about it and not feel pressured (either of you). Personally, I find it easier to talk about important things while I’m walking. This is kind of a triple benefit for me. I get to feel more comfortable talking, it is fresh air & exercise.
3. Prepare yourself for their reaction
Some people might be shocked, confused or apathetic, others might be understanding, unsure or kind. You never know. Just prepare yourself that they might need time to understand fully. Or you never know, they could have been feeling a similar way too and now you both have each other to talk to about it.