We've all been there: someone jokes about mental illness, another person dismisses real concerns, and suddenly you feel alienated or like it's impossible to share your truth.
We get it; talking about mental health and mental illness can be scary! But here's why you need to start opening up, even when it's hard.
Talking It Out Can Lighten The Load
Talking about mental illness can be just like talking about your day-to-day problems -- and should be!
When you talk about what you're experiencing, it helps make it more palpable. And when you give it that acknowledgment, you can feel less unmoored. When you share your experiences with someone else, you may find yourself feeling much lighter; you’re no longer carrying your burden on your own.
If you’re not ready to do that with people you know, then therapy or even anonymous support groups (in person or online!) can provide you with that same support and validation so that you can feel less alone.
People Can’t Read Your Mind
One argument you hear a lot is that the people around you should notice when you’re in distress. Unfortunately, that really isn’t the case! Yes, there are usually signs to your distress; however, it’s not fair or feasible to assume that someone else is always going to be able to identify when you need help.
Some people miss social cues, sometimes there’s a cultural gap, and sometimes you really can mask your mental illness so well that it might be almost imperceptible to those that aren’t trained to identify them. No one will ever know you as well as you know yourself, and no one will ever be able to identify your needs like you can.
By taking the leap of faith and being vocal about what you need, it will help people identify when you’re struggling and they can provide you with needed support.
Sharing Your Story Destigmatizes Mental Illness
When you talk about your own mental illness, you open the door for others to do the same. The stigmas that you feel also impacts others, and sometimes people don’t know how to find the words to share their stories. When you share your own experience, you create a safe space for others to do the same.
By sharing your story with others, you help to break down barriers. A lot of the ignorance surrounding mental illness is simply miseducation; when you put faces to those illnesses, the people around you start to understand the illness more and the impact that it can have in your life. It also helps to illustrate needed accommodations in social and professional atmospheres.
When you share your story, you create change.
Find Support In Community
Even though it may feel like it sometimes, you truly are never alone. When you talk about your mental health, you make it possible to receive the support you so desperately need to make your days more manageable.
Your community may look like co-workers, friends, and family. Or, it might look like a bunch of strangers on the internet. Either one is perfectly acceptable; wherever your people are, you just have to find them!
Punk Rock Saves Lives has a mental health Facebook group where members of our amazing community come together to support one another through the tough moments. If you are still looking for your people, or just need a place to start figuring out how to expand your circle of safety, join us!
We’ll always be there for you with support and acceptance.