Holly's Headspace - The Burden Of Opening Up About Our Mental Health

22.8.19


Hello you guys, and welcome to the first installment of my new series 'Holly's Headspace'. In these posts, I'm looking at taking your mental health related questions, thoughts and stories (anonymously, of course) and opening them up into a wider discussion here on my blog. You all know I'm incredibly passionate about discussing these kind of topics - we shouldn't feel the need to hide from opening up about the things we're all dealing with - so I thought this would be a great way of me tackling different subjects, without waffling on about 'me, me, me' the entire time. Obviously (disclaimer, incoming), I'm not a mental health professional in anyway, or qualified to give 100% correct advice, but I like to talk from real life experience and a first-hand perspective. Now, without further ado, let's get onto the first question, shall we?


"I find it really difficult to open up to others about my mental health and the thoughts I'm having. I don't want to burden them with how I'm feeling, or worry them, but I feel SO alone with my thoughts. Do you have any advice for this? I don't even know where to start."

This question really struck a chord with me, as I've not been feeling too dissimilar lately. The thing with bad mental health is that, we often develop this feeling that we're burdening people - the feeling that no one wants to hear about our problems, that no one will take the time to listen, that no one will understand - and it becomes cemented within us, stopping us from allowing ourselves to open up. There's always that voice inside ourselves that screams 'tell someone how you feel!', but it's like there's a blockage on the way from our brains to our mouths - the idea to speak is there, but the words can't make their way out. I completely empathise with that feeling.

It's not uncommon to feel like this - in fact I would definitely say that every single person I've ever known, who is suffering with their mental health, goes through the exact same thing. Our minds become routined in hiding things away; we become closed off and secretive, and that becomes our 'norm'; so when that little cry for help deep down inside us tries to emerge, we're left with the idea that everything should be suppressed - nothing should be talked about.

However, the thing I've grown to learn is that, that blockage between what we truly want to say and what our minds want us to keep hidden, can be broken down. The first step is finding a situation in which you feel most comfortable about discussing things, or finding a person you trust.

For example, one of my first port-of-calls are my friends - the same might go for you. Find a friend who you feel comfortable with, invite them round for a cuppa or whatever is least-complicated for you to do (I find it's often more comfortable to discuss things in a situation you feel familiar with, or in a space that feels safe) and let them know, in the easiest words you can, how you're feeling or that you might need help.

Easier said than done, of course.

I think that can be the thing sometimes - how are we supposed to explain what's going on in our head's when we barely even understand it ourselves? - we know we want to open up (and I believe that if you're thinking about telling someone what's going on, that's a really good sign in the right direction), but mustering the words can be the hardest part. Mental health is complicated, and generally putting things into words can be really tricky. But, do you know what? Even if everything feels like it's coming out like nonsense, the person listening can still take something away from it. Jumbled words are better than no words, and no one should have to go on struggling by themselves in silence.

Or, if it helps, write things down. I find that sometimes putting your thoughts down on paper can help them feel easier to discuss and to break down - even a simple text can feel more fitting sometimes. Whatever feels most safe and easiest for you to do.

Commonly, as people suffering with things like this, we keep things locked deep down inside, leaving ourselves in turmoil on a day-to-day basis, but having someone around you who can learn to understand and try to help you is honestly so important. And, despite what our minds want to tell us, people just want the best for us. People want us to be okay. I've never had a single person act as if they've been burdened by my opening up to them - there's always support there, and the will to try and understand. Our minds want to make us feel like it's a burden because illnesses habitually like to keep you trapped, but talking about things is the only way we can set ourselves free from that.

If it were the over way round, and it was your friend who was opening up, how would you react? I'm sure you would be telling them the same thing I'm telling you now - let it out, and don't deal with it aloneSometimes it's good to try and step out and look from an outside perspective, remembering you should treat yourself no differently to how you would treat others.

Anyway, no matter what your mind is telling you, find a way that works for you to get the thoughts out. Let people be there for you - relationships are such a strong power in getting through situations like this.

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