Mental health is something we all struggle with from time to time. With nearly 1 in 5 adults living with a mental illness right now, it is crucial that we learn how to talk about what we feel inside. Although at times we may feel embarrassed, confused, or shameful about our mental health, bottling up negative thoughts and feelings will only worsen symptoms of distress.
Talking about mental health can improve the relationships that we have with one another, challenge the stigma of addiction and mental health, and make it more acceptable for those suffering to seek the treatment that they may need. When it comes to recovery, talking about your mental health can make all the difference in seeing what treatment is working for you and what isn’t.
Why Is Talking About Mental Health Important?
First and foremost, talking about it mental health helps to normalize it. Mental health is something that we all have and that we will all need support and guidance with at some point. Humans are not meant to live inside their heads.
When you take the initiative to talk about your own mental health, or ask about someone else’s, you are giving permission for it to be something that is discussed. Many people have grown up in homes where mental health is not a topic to bring up, because doing so may be a sign of weakness or it makes conversation “too personal.” When you initiate the conversation, you are challenging these harmful ideals and offering a safe space for discussion to someone that may have never had one before.
Talking about mental health is also important because it lets others know that they are not alone. Although mental illness seems like it is increasing based on government statistics, more mental health issues may be surfacing because they are being more openly discussed and identified. Again, mental health is something we all experience. Talking about it could make all the difference in someone getting the help that they need.
Even having general conversations about mental health happens to be essential to our well-being. Even if you are not severely struggling, there are always new perspectives to be learned about how to boost our own mental health. For moments when you are severely struggling, talking about it helps to remind us that help is available and that we are not alone.
Talking About Mental Health in Recovery
In recovery, you will experience high highs and low lows. You will have days where you feel like you are totally in control of your life, and other days where your cravings are trying to get the best of you. No matter what kind of day you are having, you must honor the day for what it is. When you do not try to fight the bad and instead, surrender to it, you are giving yourself the opportunity to embrace your emotions authentically.
For many people in recovery, talking about mental health may only seem normal during discussions with your therapist(s). Talking honestly with your therapist can help to teach you to honor your emotions. It can also help you to identify what treatment methods are working and what ones need to change.
You will know when you feel ready to talk about your mental health with your friends, family, and peers. If someone else tries to start a conversation about your mental health and you are not ready to talk about it, avoid shutting it down entirely. Use the opportunity to try your best to explain what you are feeling. If there is anything you need from your friend to feel more comfortable discussing it, make sure you mention it as well.
Tips on How to Talk About Your Mental Health
Whether you are someone that thinks you rock at talking about mental health or still feel embarrassed when you are asked to talk about it, we understand that it can be challenging at times to discuss it. Especially when you go through periods of trauma, grief and loss, or depression, talking about your mental health with others can make all the difference in healing. Here are some tips on how to talk, and reflect, on your mental health:
- Listen to music. You might have your own favorite emotional playlist or feel like you are ready to explore new tunes. Listening to music can help you better understand how you are feeling inside so you are able to discuss it out loud. Sometimes, song lyrics can describe how you are feeling better than you can in your own words.
- Write down your feelings. You can do this before your therapy session or in the morning before you start your day. Writing down how you are feeling can help you to reflect and try to find the right words to accurately describe your experience. If you decide to write down your feelings daily, you may be able to notice mental or emotional patterns over time, which can also help in your healing process.
- Reflect on negative self-talk. If your thoughts are intrusive, or you find yourself bashing on your self-worth, reflect on it. Negative self-talk only worsens your mental health experiences. Your self-worth is something that should remain a constant in your life, no matter your mistakes or failures. If you see patterns of negative self-talk, it is important to reach out for support or treatment.
Talking about mental health is not only important in general, but plays a significant role in your recovery journey. Society has come a long way to address the stigma associated with mental health, but our world always needs more people to initiate conversations about it. Talking about mental health is important because it normalizes feelings of distress, emphasizes that it is okay not to be okay, and motivates people to receive treatment. In recovery, talking about your mental health can teach you how to honor your emotions without fighting them, honoring your unique recovery journey. West Coast Recovery Centers offers individualized treatment experiences for those needing assistance with their mental health or substance use recovery journey. Our staff will empower you to reflect and discuss your mental health experiences, teaching you to challenge intrusive thoughts and negative thought patterns. For more information, give us a call today at (760) 492-6509.