I find it easier to talk about anxiety than I do to talk about depression. Even though the two usually come hand in hand.

I’m not as honest as I make out to be. Never do I have completely open conversations with my family and friends. This blog is as honest as I get. And even that’s a secret to many.

There are some people who I talk with about the darker side of life, about mental health, about loneliness, but I never confide in them my experiences of it. I take a step back, try to distance myself from the words that I am about to speak, and talk in the third person. Some days that’s enough. Speaking this way quells my rising emotions, but I’m not always that lucky.

How do you approach the subject of mental health for the first time with those closest to you?


8 Comments Add yours

  1. For me, when I started struggling, I didn’t really know what was going on. Therefore, when it was discovered that I was dealing with anxiety, my parents just knew. Unfortunately, my anxiety is rather obvious so it wasn’t long before my family found out. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that my family members know, but I do hate that my anxiety is so bad that it can be noticeable.

    I think when it comes to telling friends that you struggle with mental health issues, it’s a little harder. A lot of people don’t understand and while some of my family members also don’t understand, I think it’s harder explaining it to those who don’t see you as often (if that makes sense). Sometimes you just have to share with those you trust and hope that they are understanding, kind individuals.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      I think you’re right. Sometimes we just need to go for it, even though we can only see negative results. We might be surprised, and as you say, I think a lot of people will commend your honesty, rather than judge you for it. Or at least I hope so. Hope you’re doing alright? Sorry I’ve not been in touch recently, the weeks have just flown past!!

      1. I understand. I can’t believe it’s almost December!

  2. Gemma says:

    I am the same. I mask how bad my depression can get. To this day, none of my family beside Dave know that I experience suicidal thoughts. Neither do any of my friends. I think it might be the stigma associated with depression that puts the barriers up for us both x

    1. M_McKeen says:

      What makes it worse is that the stigma doesn’t have to be real in order to be felt. If we think it’s there – even when we are mistaken – it hits us hugely.

  3. Thanks for being honest about the issue of honesty, Matt (as ironic as it seems). And your question of how to be honest about mental health/loneliness/depression etc is something everyone who experiences it struggles with. Myself included. I’ve had to tell friends when my symptoms became too obvious to ignore, and they were surprisingly understanding. Family can be more complicated. It’s taken me years to find a healthy way to approach it with my family. And then I’ve struggled a lot with how to approach it in the workplace. I guess the bottom line is that if someone really cares about you, and you know they care about you, then they might be more understanding than you think.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      That’s good advice. And I can totally relate to what you’ve said, it is tricky with family and in the workplace too. But, as you know, it gets to a point where you just have to say something, and I’m sure you agree that it’s better to know where people stand – who you can rely on and also those who you can’t.

      1. I definitely agree. It does get to a point where you do have to say something. It can be tough to find out who those people are that support you and who those people are that have a harder time understanding. Those conversations aren’t easy but when it’s all said and done it’s worth your peace of mind.

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