Tips on talking about your mental health

Opening up to people you know about your mental health is a scary prospect. It's hard enough just getting the words out LET ALONE telling them that there is something going on with you. The truth is there is nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed. It's also not as scary as you think. 

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Telling people about your mental health

Being diagnosed with a mental health issue is a moment in time where there can be very mixed feelings. It might be that you are relived to finally know what is going on and that there is help out there. On the other hand it might come as a shock, maybe you didn't know things were as bad as they are or didn't realise what has been going on. No matter the scenario the outcome is still the same when you are about to tell someone else - it feels pretty darn scary. There are so many emotions that are tied with talking about mental health. The truth is talking openly about it is the bravest thing you can do and it will help you on so many levels, even if the outcome isn't great. 

When your going to tell friends and family about your mental health you should have a clear understanding yourself because as humans, we all ask questions. Research your diagnosed issue beforehand, I'm saying this because sometimes GP'S don't give all the information - they leave that to your therapist (which is really annoying and damaging) so research and collect important information. This is such a great step for talking about your mental health because people will ask questions and if they have no understanding themselves the questions can sometimes be out of the blue. It's a big moment when you open up and you don't want to be caught off with a random question. It's great to have a print out of everything so you can give it to the people you are telling.

When talking about your issues to your friends/family/school/work try to remain calm. Don't let the fear and anxiety get the better of you on this one. What you are doing is so brave and amazing!  Remember to breath and know why you are doing this. If it needs to be addressed it needs to be addressed. Most of the time face to face is the best way but if you are suffering from an issue that makes this almost impossible a phone call is perfect - always do what feels best for you.

A main issue when talking about mental health is being worried about what the other person is going to think. The truth is, you can't do anything about this. It's their choice to be understanding or not to be and it says more about them than you! Don't let their judgement or misconceptions make you feel bad for your diagnoses. Most of the time people are much more understanding once they have been educated, that's why it's really important to give them some information to look at in their own time. 

When your talking about what is going on with you remember to be honest and open. The more they know the better they can help you. Having a list of things that will help and won't help is perfect. Doing this before hand in a safe, stress-free environment will help you get down what you really need and then your not thinking on your feet missing out important bits. It could be you need time off work or less work load. It might be you need to have more space and not help out as much around the house. It could even be you just need someone to talk to. No matter how big or small let people know. 

Once you have told one person it will get easier each time, just like most things. Each time you tell someone the better you become at it and once a few people know you will feel a sense of relief - because it's in the open. The truth is telling people is nothing compared to living with a mental health problem, it's just a small part. You will soon realise that there was nothing to be scared of and the majority of the time people are so understanding and caring! 

Stacey Barberadvice