Not All Secrets Are Worth Keeping

So, you have a secret. You don't tell anybody about how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning, that you lie there just willing yourself to move day after day. Nobody knows about the overwhelming anxiety that smothers you and suffocates you. Your closest friends and family know nothing about the dark thoughts you have about suicide and self-harm.

Not all secrets are worth keeping. These secrets definitely aren't. But how do you go about talking to your loved ones about the biggest challenges of your life? 

 I have a few suggestions that may help you talk to those you love about your mental illness:

  • Write it down. Sometimes it helps to sit down and write about your feelings. What are you feeling? What symptoms are you experiencing? How long have you been feeling this way? After you write things out, it may be easier to talk to your loved ones about it as you have already described whats going on. If it's easiest, read what you've written to your loved ones or give it to them in a letter.
  • Know what kind of help to ask for. Usually a great place to start when asking for help is to ask for help getting to the doctor. Ask your spouse or parents to help you call the doctor and set an appointment. Or, ask for help finding a good counselor. More often than not your loved ones would be more than happy to help you find the appropriate professional help.
  • Start simple. When first opening up to your parents, friends, or loved ones, you don't have to talk about everything that is going on. Start with something simple like, "Can I talk to you about something I'm going through right now?" or "I'm struggling right now. Is it alright if we talk about it?" Starting from there will help the conversation start and go where it needs to go.
  • Choose the right time and the right environment. This is a conversation that is likely very private and personal. Choose a time when you and your loved one are in a calm mood in a calm atmosphere. 
  • Get ready to be vulnerable. Talking about your mental illness can be nerve-wracking. I remember the first time I talked to my parents about my mental illness. I was worried that they would either not take me seriously or would become overly worried about me. But as soon as we got talking, they offered their support and love for me and have ever since. Opening up about this kind of stuff is hard, but being vulnerable about it to a trusted loved one is worth it because they can offer you love and support.
  • Join a support group. If you don't feel comfortable opening up to someone close to you, there are plenty of support group options out there. One such organization that offers support groups is NAMI. An online support group worth checking out is Depression Connect. Sometimes being able to talk to those who are going through the same thing as you can make a world of difference. Another resource is me! I am always willing to talk to you about whatever you may be going through!

Don't suffer from these kind of secrets longer than you have to. There is support out there and people who love you and want to help you however they can. The sooner you open up to somebody, the sooner you can get help and get feeling better.