The more I open up to people about my own mental health problems, the more I realise just how much mental health affects nearly everyone around us- whether personally or indirectly through friends or family members. Once I begin to talk about the difficulties I face, and do not attempt to cover up or conceal the extent of them with veiled or vague language, I find that other people are often going through something that they wish to share themselves, or have useful experience and advice that has helped me to understand myself a bit better. If nothing else it is such a relief to not feel like I have to hide my true feelings.
When someone now asks me how I am, I have stopped replying with ‘good’ or ‘okay’, for fear that the real answer is somehow shameful. So many people are desperate to be listened to and speak about what is going on in their lives. It could even spark an insight or thought that could profoundly change the way that person feels about themselves and the world, for the better- or the way that you do.
We are who we are because of other people. We could all help each other through creating an environment and culture of openness, honesty and acceptance. Start a conversation about mental health. Give someone that safe space where they know their feelings can be valued and heard. Connection is everything.