Why You Should Open Up About Your Mental Health

four person standing at top of grassy mountain Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com[/caption]

If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, bi-polar or other mood disorders it’s important that you know one thing: it’s much more common than you think. I know how just scary it is to go through this thinking that you are alone, and especially how overwhelming it can become when you feel as though no one will quite understand. I’m here to tell you that there are people out there who understand, and opening up about it to a close friend or family member can be life changing in many ways. Here’s why.

Communication Is Key

Telling your loved one’s what you are going through is vital if you wish for people to understand you and the reasoning behind your actions.

As someone who has dealt with this first hand, I know what it is like to let anxieties damage relationships with family and friends. Many of us tend to isolate ourselves from those we care about, convincing ourselves that they don’t want to be around us before we give them a chance. When a close friend of mine sensed that something was up, I decided that I should open up about my own anxiety before I let it get in the way of an important friendship. I explained that I’ve always dealt with anxiety and that lately it had reached a high.

Doing this allowed them to understand that I wasn’t pushing them away because I didn’t care about them- that it was actually the opposite. They understood that they hadn’t done anything wrong. That sometimes I might feel distant.

Telling someone you know you can trust means they know when to reach out to you when you need it the most. They’ll understand that sometimes you want their support even when you deny it. They’ll also grow to know when you need your space and that you have limitations that they should not push.

Sometimes We Need To Let It All Out

woman looking at sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Before I finally gathered the courage to tell a close friend what I had been going through I kept everything balled up inside. Every single anxiety inducing thought and worry was suppressed, leaving me feeling utterly hopeless. The longer I waited to tell someone the more built up. And for the longest time I had convinced myself that I shouldn’t trouble anyone with my worries. I thought that it wasn’t fair to burden others with my problems, that I could just push those negative thoughts and feelings and that it would be all right.

Keeping everything inside isn’t healthy, or will whatever you are dealing with will go away.

Something I learned from opening up about my problems is that talking about them might not fix it, but it may help bring some clarity  and release pent up feelings.

This is always up to you- some of us find it easier to resolve things on our own while others find comfort in seeking advice and sharing.

But what if they look at me differently?

I could lie and say that I am 100% comfortable discussing my experience with mental health and that writing this is easy. But I’m not going to because that is simply not the truth.

My biggest fear before telling those close to me was that they we treat me differently and see me as fragile or weak. Recently I discussed this with a close friend and I discovered something different. They told me that after I told them they were shocked that I was able to function so well. In fact, they said they felt proud knowing that I continued to put myself out there despite the fears holding me back. I was surprised by what my friends told me after I said this. They didn’t think that I was “weak” or “just paranoid” as I thought they would. They understood that my anxiety and depression didn’t define me. I was the same person I always had been- they just knew more about me.

What if you don’t feel ready, or you feel that your family/friends won’t be supportive?

In this situation the best thing you can do is encourage them to do a little research on mental illness- it is amazing how much someone’s perspective can change once they gain more knowledge on the topic. It’s absolutely okay if you want more time, just know that it’s never too late to reach out.

If all else fails and you still feel that they aren’t supportive, know that there is always someone out there who is. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted adult or to the many resources you can find online.

Don’t let your anxiety or depression convince you that you are not worthy of love and support. If there is anything you take from this let it be that you are always worth it and your health should remain your priority. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. It’s up to you how you fight your battle and those who you wish to bring with you.

light sunset people water
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Stop comparing your success to others. If you are proud of yourself and what you have accomplished, then you are doing just fine.

Growing up in an age where everyone’s lives can be posted online with the click of a button, it is difficult to resist comparing ourselves to others. We are constantly reminded of what other people are up to and there seems to be this secret contest of who will become the best. We see young models, celebrities, and other images of success every time go online- this leaves us with a constant feeling of resent when we look back at our own lives, and realize that maybe we can be doing more with ourselves.

What we must not forget is that, some people do have the luxury of being born into wealth, or with more opportunities and resources than others. On the other hand, some people work their way towards wealth, fame, or whatever it may be, and we find ourselves wishing we were at the same level of progress as them. But we can not get caught in the toxic mindset of comparing ourselves to others. we should always remind ourselves that reaching our goals, however big or small they may be, is a journey. Some of the best things take time, and if that means you will encounter a few setbacks along the way, face them with confidence. Face any bumps in the road with your head held high, knowing you will find a way to overcome them.

It is also important to remember that it is okay to have different goals as others! Some people dream of becoming surgeons, or lawyers, or even an actor- some of us dream of a simple lifestyle. It does not matter which path you choose, as long as it leaves you feeling fulfilled and content with your life. It is time that we stop measuring our success and accomplishments with one another. We should all read a point in our lives when we realize that we are enough. The value of our achievements is not determined by what others believe is right- it is determined by what we want for ourselves, and the strength it took for us to get there.

For those of you who have struggled to make it, I hope you know that you are strong. If you have been working hard to better yourself and reach your goals, be proud of yourself. Give yourself the credit you deserve.

What Makes Us Who We Are.

We all reach times in our lives where we are tested for our breaking points. It can be when we are thirty or when we are as young as thirteen, but for me, that was at a very young age and it changed my perspective on life forever.

When I was exposed to violence at such a young age I felt like part of my childhood was ripped from my hands and I could not take it back. I recalled the years I spent growing up and how early I was forced to adapt to the world around me.

Often times I would take pity on myself, wondering why others could live such simple lives. I wished that I had the same things that they had, because I thought that maybe if I had grown up in a better environment that I would have better opportunities.

It took time for me to realize that I was looking at my life from the wrong perspective. I spent so long dwelling on what I did not have that I failed to see what was right in front of me. That the experiences I had starting from a young age pushed me, revealing qualities of me that I would never have discovered if it were not for that push.

I have grown enough to know that where I grew up, the people in my life, and what I have experienced are what makes me who I am. Everything that has happened and everyone who I have allowed into my life have shaped me in ways I can not begin to explain. I may resent the challenges that I faced growing up but I can take pride in who I have become. They have led me on a path of discovering my own strengths and weaknesses, where I am meant to be.

We are not defined by our past failures, nor the challenges we may face in life. Although we are forever defined by the choices we make to overcome them. That is what makes us who we are.

Letting Go

“Sometimes, I catch myself smiling at the mere thought of you. More and more I can see myself changing and it’s all for the better. That’s what good people do. They heal you.”

Before I knew my worth, I was drawn to toxic friends. I would cling on to old friendships for the glorified memories rather than the truth. I was afraid to let go because if I did, where would I turn to? I thought that maybe it was better to stay safe. Only the the truth is that these people were toxic to me. They were unhappy with themselves and so they chose to inflict the same feelings upon me; they would take advantage of me for my kindness and manipulate my emotions.In time where I did not know that I deserved better,  I chose people who did not choose me.

I urge you to be courageous and let go of these toxic, manipulative relationships. It is one of the hardest things for you to let go of people you have known for so long. We tend to look back at the few good times, but we can’t forget the times when they were not there for us. Letting go of unhealthy relationships a step we all must take if we ever wish to rise above.

Let go. Choosing to surround myself with positive people was the best choice I have ever made. I can now say that I have friends who are always there, support me, and want nothing but the best for me. You deserve it, too.