Coming Out Of the Mental Illness Closet to Your Family

Posted By: on April 11, 2018
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4 Tips on Opening Up About Your Mental Health Struggles

Many people who struggle with mental illness — especially those who are “high functioning” — experience a nagging feeling that they are living a lie. They feel bad inside, perhaps struggling with depression or anxiety, but don’t let the people around them know how they are doing. There are quite a few benefits to opening up about your mental illness, as this article from Reach Out discusses. If you have made the decision to “come out” about your mental health problems, then you may find the following four tips to be helpful.

1. Decide Who To Talk With.

Opening up about a difficult topic like depression or anxiety requires quite a bit of courage — which is why we recommend sharing with those closest to you first. Once you have done this, you may even want your closest friends and family to accompany you when you share with others.

2. Get Educated.

If you are reading this Heart Centered Counselors blog, then you are already taking a step in the right direction! The more you understand about your own struggles, the easier it will be to answer questions from those who love you and are concerned about you. (Moreover, you yourself stand to benefit quite a bit from the information as well!)

3. Be Prepared for Genuine Responses.

Some people may know exactly what to say when you share your struggles with them. But others may feel at a loss for words — and still others might actually feel upset. Remember that everyone is human and that even those who react awkwardly still likely have good intentions. Talk to them about their responses, and how they felt to you, and give those that “missed the mark” a second chance.

4. Maintain Ongoing Conversations With Those You Trust Most.

Social support is important for all humans — especially those struggling with a challenge such as mental illness. That’s precisely why cultivating meaningful relationships and seeking professional support are so crucial.

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