Author: Stanley Clark
Sometimes it’s difficult to be forthright with someone, especially with those you care for and love, about your struggles in life. Maybe you worry about how they would react, fearing that anything you tell them may alter their perception of you.
You try to keep everything inside most of the time, leaving you with negative feelings weighing heavy on your heart. Wherever you turn, no one seems to be there. You feel so alone and helpless.
If you feel downcast, you’re not alone. You see, many factors can affect people’s mental health.
Struggle with weight gain or loss, a sense of unworthiness, and painful experiences are just a few things that can affect your self-esteem and way of life.
This article seeks to help you lighten your emotional burdens by giving you tips on sharing your mental health issues with the people you know.
People at Your Workplace
Work provides personal identity, financial security, and an opportunity to make valuable contributions to society. Based on a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), employment offers five psychological experiences that promote mental health(1):
- Time structure
- Social contact
- Collective purpose and effort
- Social identity
- Regular activity
Employment provides a social context outside your family. It’s also an essential factor in defining oneself. Hence, if you’re feeling burned-out, stressed, and unmotivated, feel free to tell your colleagues about your struggles so that they can help you cope.
If you have a good relationship with your manager, you can meet with them personally to discuss what bothers you. You may also ask someone from HR to set this meeting. Your boss or an HR personnel can make provisions to help you reach a better state of mind. However, you have to reach out to them and give them the opportunity to understand your situation better.
When you’re upfront about your mental health struggles, you can create an honest environment around you. Disclosing your issues may also give you a great sense of relief.
A study from Frontiers in Communication examined the relationship between work authenticity, motivation, and well-being(2).
The results showed that authenticity and intrinsic forms of motivation may be associated with better well-being, including higher work engagement and lower burnout. Authentic behavior is seen in the way a person acts in agreement with their true own core values (their true self).
The study clearly shows the importance of being true to your feelings. Talking about your mental health struggles to people you work with creates an environment of understanding and trust.
Your Social Circle
Talking to your friends regarding your mental health may be difficult at first. However, by opening up to your friends, you also unveil the false notion plaguing this topic. In other words, you remove the stigma surrounding mental health when you open up with your social circle.
A 2021 study from Community Mental Health Journal indicated that young adults who share their stories of living with mental illness may feel less stigmatized and improve their overall well-being(3).
If you’re hesitant, you may start by journaling your struggles and then transition to speaking. You may write your best friend a letter if you’re afraid to talk face-to-face.
A study from the Journal of Affective Disorders suggested that expressive writing may help people with major depressive disorder(4).
Your Romantic Partner
There are times when it’s easier to confide with a total stranger than with a loved one. Since a stranger doesn’t have preconceived notions about your past, you feel safe sharing your struggles with them.
However, because of the misconceptions and fears surrounding mental health, even well-meaning people may not know how to react when you open up your issues with them(5).
For a stronger and longer relationship with your romantic partner, try sharing your feelings and struggles with them, so they know how to support you.
Choose a time when you aren’t actively experiencing mania or depression to make this communication effective.
You may also want to try the “sandwich strategy.” You may start by saying positive things about your relationship with your partner. Then, describe your struggles with trying to keep everything positive while dealing with your mental health issues.
Afterward, finish on a more positive note by sharing what you’ve learned from your experience so far. Having this conversation can help your partner understand you better, so you can both have a more honest and meaningful relationship.
Any person can experience mental health problems. If you’re emotionally struggling, remember that this battle isn’t something you need to face alone.
You have people around you who can support you in this challenging time. You can also call a crisis line or the National Suicide Prevention Line to get help.
- Mental Health and Work: Impact, Issues, and Good Practices
- Authenticity at Work: Its Relations With Worker Motivation and Well-being
- “Getting Better At Getting Better”: How Sharing Mental Health Stories Can Shape Young People’s Wellbeing
- An Everyday Activity As A Treatment For Depression: The Benefits Of Expressive Writing For People Diagnosed With Major Depressive Disorder
- Five Reasons to Share Your Mental Health Struggles