Mental Health Awareness is a topic that doesn’t get talked about enough in my opinion. I will say that it has started to get better in recent years. However, there is always room for improvement. Talking about depression, or any other mental health problem, is hard to do because those who don’t struggle with it can’t fully understand what it’s like. Those who do have mental health issues often don’t want to talk about what they are going through, or don’t know how to express what they are feeling.
I realized a few weeks ago that I haven’t done a great job at writing on this subject. Partly because I was busy with end-of-the-year stuff, and partly because I just couldn’t bring myself to open up about what I struggle with. Being vulnerable is not one of my strong suits. I’d much rather keep my pain to myself because I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me or give people a reason not to like me. This is not only unhealthy, but the idea that I would be unlikeable because of my struggles is a lie. Unfortunately, it’s a lie that tends to be on loop in my mind.
As uncomfortable as it is I know it’s important to share my depression story. Here are three reasons why I will be sharing more about my struggles with depression and why people should share their struggles with mental health.
1. For You: It’s not good to keep your feelings bottled up
I speak from personal experience with this one. The more you shut down your feelings, the more other thoughts will continue to come in. Eventually it’s all going to come out and trust me it won’t be pretty. I’m embarrassed to admit it but some of my outbursts from holding too much in reminds me of a little kid throwing a temper tantrum. Then there is the half an hour crying my eyes out over nothing late at night in the bathroom, so no one can hear me. Like I said, it’s not pretty.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your struggles in front of people yet that’s totally okay. There are other ways of getting your emotions out without shouting them to the world. You can write about it or channel it into something creative, or whatever works for you. If you feel like going a little further try confiding in just one person you can trust. It can be a parent, sibling, other family member, friend, or a therapist.
Whatever it takes to help YOU feel better, do that!
2. For other’s struggling: To help everyone feel a little less lonely
If you have a mental health disorder you know how lonely it is. It feels like no one understands you or can relate. It took me a long time to realize that other people struggle with depression just like I do. I discovered this through finding articles people would share on my feed, devotionals I would read, and just talking with people. Without those three things I don’t know how I would have brought myself out of the deep darkness in my mind that is depression.
Think about how nice it would be to find out that others can relate to your mental health struggles because they’ve been there. You could be that person to someone else struggling as well. That is the main reason I wanted to write about my depression story on this blog. If I can help just one person feel less alone in their battle with depression, then sharing my story is worth it.
3. For the rest of the world: The more education we can give, the more understanding others will be
“Just get over it,” “You are choosing to feel this way,” “You are doing this for attention,” “Everyone gets sad you will be fine”
These are just some of the things that people, who do not have depression, say about depression. I don’t know about you, but these statements are always so hard for me to hear. Many people just don’t understand what people struggling with their mental health go through. They see the physical symptoms and mistake them for something else. They don’t see what plays in our mind when we are struggling.
That is why it’s important to speak up about mental health awareness and tell our stories. People need to see the full picture, not just the physical symptoms. One orginaztion that I follow that does a great job at spreading awareness is To Write Love On Her Arms.
What do you think? Do you agree with these points or do you have reasons of your own for sharing your story? Let me know in the comments.