In a world full of Instagram filters, status updates and likes, maintaining appearances can quickly become a priority. People often feel like they need to keep up appearances and shy back from sharing anything that makes them seem less than perfect. This kind of selective sharing affects more than your social media profiles; it can become part of your personal life, causing you to hide your true feelings from your close friends and family.
Openness and honesty regarding mental health are crucial. Hiding your personal struggles can make you feel isolated and alone, and can oftentimes make it seem impossible to find peace. Being open with those around you can help you feel supported, seen and strengthened; and allow you to get the help you need.
Here are four reasons to be honest about your mental health:
1. You’re not alone.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t talk about their mental health is because they feel like they will be judged. They feel like people will see them differently or make them into an outcast.
The truth is that one in five individuals struggle with mental health – so you’re not alone. Being open with those you trust can help you feel supported, while in turn, help those around you to open up and connect with you on a deeper level. Practicing honesty regarding mental health allows you to feel supported and understood, and lets you learn from others’ experiences and insights. It will help you feel less isolated and part of a greater community of individuals who understand what you are going through.
2. You’re not weak.
People often associate mental illness or struggles with a fault within themselves. They see it as something that they need to overcome alone. Other times, people think they are making it all up.
In truth, mental illness is diagnosable by medical and psychological standards, has physical symptoms and is treatable. Mental illnesses and struggles are caused by a variety of factors you can’t control, such as brain chemistry and family history. Traumatic life events and constant environmental stress can also be triggers.
In other words, it’s not your fault and it’s not just in your head. Don’t feel like you are weak or pretending, and most importantly, don’t feel like you have to face it on your own.
3. You can be seen.
Oftentimes, people assume that others will notice them struggling and will help them eventually or don’t want to help. It’s important to realize that when struggling, you may subconsciously hide your feelings and act like everything is okay.
Understand that people may not realize you need help. You need to speak up. As challenging as it may be at first, being honest with your friends and family will help you find greater understanding and support and make it easier to be open in the future.
4. You can get help.
Many who struggle with mental health problems feel there is no hope for them and do not get the help they need. Yet, out of those who get treated for depression alone, a staggering 80-90% respond well to treatment.
When facing mental health problems, understand that there is hope. There are options available for you to get help, such as therapy, faith-based counseling and medication. Talking with your doctor can also help you understand what you are experiencing, determine what’s causing your struggles and discover what can be done to help. By opening up about your mental health, you can gain access to a wealth of resources and begin to find peace.
When facing mental health struggles, remember that you are surrounded by people that love you and want to support you. Know that you are not weak or making up what you are feeling. Though it can be challenging at first, don’t shy back from being honest with those you trust and ask for help when you need it.