Why Talking Is The Scary But Only Way To Begin Your Mental Health Recovery Journey
It’s all about acceptance.
Articles, videos, films and news reports have been focusing on mental health for the past few years, you would have thought we would all have been better about talking about it by now. It’s not as simple as this. With all the help and information in the world, people still find it hard to reach out for help and a large part of this is not accepting yourself and your past.
I have struggled with depression and eating issues for years and I am the queen of internalizing, so for the majority of those years nobody knew the extent to which I was struggling. I would open up to my best friend mostly, as she shares similar issues, but the people I would never talk to were my family. Not because they weren’t supportive, because they completely are but because I didn’t want to upset them or let them down. If you feel a similar way, I would urge you to realize that it’s totally natural to feel like this. You care about your family and don’t want to upset them, that shows you are a considerate person.
However, the main issue is that your family can be a great way to access help, as they may be able to accompany you to the doctors, pay or contribute towards therapy and just understand your daily needs. During my depression my family knew nothing about how I was feeling, so could not be considerate to my needs. Since I finally opened up to my mom about how low I have been feeling, my family are now sensitive to my needs and emotions which makes daily life a thousand times easier.
However, I understand that it is easier said than done. I have only just opened up to my mum and friend about just how low I have been feeling, after years of struggling. It may sound awkward or embarrassing to do but talking really is the only way to begin your mental health recovery. I have had years of trying –and failing- on my own, trying to get myself better. My doctor recently told me that depression is not a state of mind, it is an illness and other mental health conditions are the same. You cannot just snap out of it, no bubble bath or walk will suddenly make you better and sometimes it shows your strength to realize you need serious help.
There are many ways of going about reaching out for help. If you are lucky enough to have a supportive family, tell a family member you would appreciate if they could just listen to how you’ve been feeling lately. Alternatively, you could write a note or a text to your chosen family member, this is often in my experience a lot easier than talking directly to them. I began by writing down my thoughts during a really low moment and showed it to my mom who since then has been amazing in helping me start my recovery journey. Now I find it slightly easier to talk to her about my feelings face to face, it is important you try to make that step eventually as this shows you are truly open. If a family member is not an option, then try a friend or a trusted teacher or even call a mental health organization such as Mind or Samaritans (UK) or Mental Health America (US).
Even if you have these options, I understand firsthand how it can be hard to accept this help, even when it is there. My first step would be to first think to yourself that the only way to conquer your past is to let it out. Now, letting it out requires courage as your past is a very personable and sometimes troubling thing to share with someone. You must first decide that your past is just that, the past. It is something that has affected how you are now, but it is not who you are now and because of that you can let it out and try to see it as an objective part of your life that has been and gone, but perhaps left you with some issues that need dealing with. Accepting yourself as you are not, without taking anyone else's opinion as fact because only you know yourself and your past, can really help you open up. It helped me anyway.
Hopefully by sharing my experience at least one person has learned that it’s acceptable to find talking hard but has realized it’s an important step in recovery.