Mental health problems are hard and confusing. Having to then keep that a secret from other people can be exhausting and alienating. When you are dealing with something so difficult, the instinct to want to share can be halted by the shame you might feel or the fear about how other people might react. Especially if we don’t understand why we feel this way, the potential for someone to reject us or to tell us the same awful things we tell ourselves seems overwhelming.
It’s scary to share anything, let alone something that feels so personal. But you’d be surprised to find out how many people you know have also dealt with or are dealing with depression, anxiety, voices or thought problems. If they haven’t themselves, most people have family members or friends who have. While not everyone will understand, many people do.
No matter what path you choose, it’s important to reach out to others to get help. The inside voice that happens with mental illnesses often convinces you that other people won’t want to hear your struggle or won’t be able to help. The experience of many people shows otherwise. Whether it’s a friend, family member, teacher, coach, therapist, support group, text line, hotline, or stranger on the internet – getting it out and acknowledging how we’re feeling to someone else can be a massive first step.
Whoever you decide to talk to can help you discuss what you’re experiencing. Especially when the other person has experienced it too, it can feel like you are finally not all alone anymore. They may even help brainstorm about what you can do next. Researching some of this yourself can help you feel more prepared if you are worried about what to say, too. Learning about and finding language to describe your experience can be reassuring.
Remember, you don’t have to tell everyone in your life, but it’s really important to tell someone. You do not have to deal with this alone.