Helping Others Understand Your Mental Health Problems

Talking about your mental health can be really difficult, but for some people it can also be really helpful. It can help you just to tell people how you’re feeling, to create a support network, to assist you in getting the help you need or even just to help someone understand what you’re going through.

Unfortunately though, not everyone understands mental health problems.

One of the most difficult aspects with mental health problems is other people’s understanding and perception of what you’re going through. Let me be clear, some people will never understand. You can pour your heart out to them for hours on end but they will never understand how you’re feeling. This is something that you must accept and move on, unfortunately this person will never form a part of your support network.

*All opinions in this post are my own, I’m sorry if you don’t agree with them*

From my own experience older generations are less likely to understand, however some are willing to listen and do their best to understand what you’re going through. Younger generations, although they may not know what you’re going through they try their hardest to understand. This is something to bare in mind when you decide who you’re going to talk to. It is also worth pointing out here that many people find it easier to talk to strangers – here in the blogging world there is a huge support system of people willing to listen to your problems, myself included. You can also find help on other social media platforms or there are certain services available online, Eg, Samaritans, Spark, etc…

Some people view us as being weak and spoilt – people have suffered in silence for many years with mental health problems so why are we now unable to cope? I particularly hate this line of argument. Unless you are able to experience my feelings and thought processes then you cannot comment on what I should or should not be doing. Do not let people’s negative view of mental health problems dishearten you, unfortunately for them they are too narrow minded to recognise that your mental health is just as prominent as your physical health.

Unless someone is willing to sit down, listen to what you have to say about your mental health and do their hardest to understand they cannot have an opinion on your mental health. Only those who have been by your side every step of your fight and have your best interests at heart have the right to given an opinion.

 

When trying to help others understand your mental health the following tips may be useful:

 

Communicate 

As I’m sure you have already guessed from the above the best way of helping someone understand your struggles with mental health is to talk to them. Communication is key in life. Tell the person how you feel, don’t be afraid to hold back. If they choose not to listen to you then that tells you a lot about their character, it is not your fault. Your communication must be honest and as in-depth and descriptive as you can manage. The more you can tell someone about what you’re experiencing the more they can understand.

 

Be as honest as you can be 

I’m guilty of often trying to downplay my anxiety and depression. It makes me feel better to believe that I’m in a better place than I actually am. However, this prevents those around me from truly understanding what I am going through and limits their ability to help and support me. This will take time though, sometimes just reaching out for help is enough. You must then build up your confidence and rapport with that person before you can divulge all of the information to them.

 

Demonstrate

Don’t be afraid to let people see you at your lowest point. You are made up of the best of you and the worst, for someone to truly know you they must see both sides. This may mean allowing someone to see you having a panic attack. I know when I’m experiencing a panic I would rather be on my own but to allow someone to see you at your most vulnerable due to your mental health will give them an insight into how it is affecting you. Although, remember if it is something you don’t feel comfortable with then don’t do it.

 

Further reading

Point them in the direction of blogs, vlogs or books so that they can read about other people’s experiences with mental health problems. It may help them to know that you’re not the only one experiencing this. This can be particularly helpful if you’re finding it difficult to articulate how you’re feeling. Do some research and find some information on how you feel and present it to the person so that they can learn. If you are just beginning your journey of talking about your mental help then you may find this method the most suitable for you as it gives you a sense of being detached.

 

Just try 

This is a very vague tip but all you can ever do in life is to try your hardest. If you want to tell someone you’re struggling but all you manage to do is tell them you don’t feel very well, you’ve still made progress. Being able to discuss your mental health won’t happen over night. I have suffered with mine for just under 15 years and as the years have gone by I’ve found it easier and easier to talk about. Little by little you will get there and it will become easier.

 

Unfortunately not everyone understands mental health and if people are willing to learn then we should help them. In addition to this it will help you to have a support network of friends and family who truly understand what you’re going through. Physical pain is easy, if you’ve broken a leg there will be proof on the x-ray, the cast on your leg will tell everyone you’re hurt and in pain. Unfortunately mental health does not benefit from the luxury of such physical signs. We live in silence with it but this needs to stop, don’t be afraid to talk to people. Be as open and honest with people as you can be and eventually the right people will surround you.

 

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XOXO

 

 

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