The term ‘coming out’ has historically been associated with individuals who declare to the rest of the world that their sexuality isn’t of the heterosexual persuasion. Most of us will say, let everyone live their life in the manner that they choose, but there will be those who are shocked and saddened by such a revelation.
Telling others that you are battling with a mental illness can be a similar process, but while coming out about your mental state may alarm some, there are fewer and fewer who will make judgments about you. The benefits of doing so far outweigh any potential negative responses from others.
If you are contemplating ‘coming out’ about your mental health, here are a few things that you might want to think about:
- Begin by talking to the person or persons in your life whom you feel will be the most supportive. Don’t rush to tell everyone; it’s a big step for most, so take it slowly.
- Accept that not everyone may react positively to what you’re telling them. If they’re angry or upset, try to be prepared and to not let this discourage you. Instead, make sure that you have someone who you trust close at hand if others make life difficult for you, or refuse to support you.
- Be ready to tell others the ways in which they might be able to help you. There are times when you might need more love and support from those around you, so be sure to let them know how to love you so that they don’t feel alone.
In fact, talking about any issue, feeling or incident that is affecting your life is always going to be therapeutic, whenever you find an appropriate audience. The familiar proverb of ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is used because it’s true, and most who disclose their mental health issues, find it to be a relief and an effective way of beginning on the journey towards recovery, or self-management.
That said, it’s still a difficult step for many, and while talking about it with friends and family can certainly be therapeutic, sometimes there’s no substitute for the professional advice and guidance of a qualified therapist.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk to others, but you may find that while their intentions to help you are honorable, they may not always know the best path, or line of treatment for you to take.
Therapists and counselors are trained to help people suffering from a wide range of mental health issues, and after assessing your needs as an individual, they will quickly set about helping you to build you best life.