I guess if I had the influence that I now have, during the time when I first started experiencing my mental health problems, it would have been hard to suffer in silence. Maybe if I weren’t able to isolate myself and distance myself from life, I wouldn’t have had such an easy time putting on a front during the day as if everything were fine. I think it’s crazy how we work so hard to hide our flaws from people who are flawed themselves.
So let me be quite frank. Silent seasons are necessary in many season of life. A season of dealing with mental illness is not one. You need people around you who you can be loud with. People who aren’t judging you and who are willing to love and support you through this. There are many options when it comes to finding support in dealing with a mental illness. Family and friends, therapist and even support groups all come to mind when I think of my journey with mental illness and also my journey as a mental health therapist.
But, while it may be easy to find support, in my research and experience, I have found that one of the reasons why many find it so difficult to not allow their initial struggle with mental illness to become a silent season, is because many people don’t know how to talk about their mental illness. So, I went on a search to find ways in which people are educating others on talking about mental illness. I have complied a list of ways that I found via the internet along with my own ideas to help you feel more comfortable talking about your mental illness with the hope that you will use this list to no longer suffer in silence.
- A Text Message to save face! Let’s face it. In the age of modern technology, it’s so much easier to start an important conversation via text. While this may not be the most effective way to go into great detail about your diagnosis, its a for sure good way to tell someone, “Hey, I’m dealing with some things and I need someone to talk to!”
- Never leave out the facts! People who care about you will worry about you if they know that you are dealing with things that may be beyond their level of comprehension. Always present with facts. How has your mental illness impacted your level of functioning? What kind of help have you sought? Has that help been effective? How can they support you? Be sure to ensure them that your mental illness is no isolated incident. 1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental illness. Many mental illnesses go untreated, but you are definitely taking the steps to make sure yours is regulated.
- Write a Letter! If you can’t find the strength to write it in a text or say it out loud, simply write a letter. Mentalhealthamerica.net gives this suggestion as a way to get the conversation going and I love it, because I often use letter writing as an intervention in helping some of my clients sort through feelings of past hurt and trauma in relation to depression and anxiety.
While these three very simple ways to get the conversation started about your mental illness are effective, they are definitely not the only ways to talk about it. Your mental illness presents a unique opportunity for your to not only gain support in dealing with you illness, but it also gives you a platform to raise awareness than can help others dealing with mental illness. My prayer for you, is that you find a way to not allow your mental illness to create ineffective silent seasons in your life. You need to be heard and you need to be supported. You are going through this, but it will not control your life, if you choose to not let it. This journey we are on is not an easy one. While the struggle is definitely sometimes real, the goal is to overcome every mental encounter.