In this day and age, more and more people are willing to discuss things like mental health which in many ways is a wonderful thing. The more we as a whole come together to educate others the more this planet will become aware of how normal it is to feel different or to go through something that you are unsure of.
When we are open and honest about our depression, anxiety, or whatever other mental health issues we are facing we are being strong and working to overcome so much more than we tend to realize. However, the stigmatism associated with mental health and mental illnesses, in general, is something that keeps a lot of people from speaking out. As someone who struggles with anxiety, speaking out about it at first was not easy for me either.
I thought that the people closest to me might think that I was ‘damaged’ because of it or that I was less of a person because they were not facing the same thing but as it turns out there are actually a lot of people in my circle going through similar things. Depression and anxiety for those who do not know are actually some of the most common mental health issues present in this world right now. According to the ADAA, there are at least 40 million adults here in the US that are 18 or older who have some kind of anxiety disorder, right now.
The more we make others aware of what we are facing the more they will also work to better understand it as a whole. This in itself is a step towards educating others and making the world more knowledgeable on these kinds of things. That being said, talking to others especially your friends and family not only helps them understand it also helps you gain the support and get the help you need.
One reason to tell family and friends about your mental illness is to receive encouragement. Simply talking to someone sympathetic can reduce your stress level and improve your mood. You may also want to ask for concrete support, like help finding treatment or rides to appointments. Or maybe you want to share your crisis plan with a trusted family member.
Maybe you have mixed feelings. You might be afraid loved ones will judge you or feel uncomfortable around you. It can be very stressful if you’re afraid to tell people but feel pressure to do so.
There’s no right or wrong number of people to tell. Some people will benefit from telling many family and friends. Others may benefit by telling a couple of close friends and waiting to tell others. You are an expert on your own mental illness and can decide for yourself.
If you’re stressed about whether to tell other people, you might feel better if you write down a list of pros and cons. Maybe some people won’t understand. But maybe you can also see benefits to telling the people who will understand. If you’re afraid, the list of pros can remind you of the rewards of overcoming your fear.
Just because you have a mental illness does not mean you are broken or that you’re not like everyone else. You are still YOU and there is nothing that will ever be able to change that. Education is the key to improving the world as we know it and making mental health something people actually are willing to talk about.