A few months back, as part of my local Mental Health Trust’s Recovery College, I attended their course on “Understanding Depression.” One issue that came up was do we feel comfortable sharing that we are experiencing mental health problems? I realised that it depends on whom I’m with: definitely, if it’s a close and trusted friend; however, I’d be more hesitant to do so with someone not so close to me, say an acquaintance or someone I hardly know at church. Certainly on social media, I’d be unwilling to do so on my personal account. This comes from the odd “mental health generalisation” post that assumes that those doing criminal acts MUST have a mental health problem. I find this upsetting and annoying.
A key message from today’s course was that what we need from others when depressed is empathy, understanding, compassion and listening ear. To know that we are heard and valued, not judged nor labelled can help us to express the anguish we are enduring and ultimately help us move forward on our recovery journey!
I am ashamed to say that I do feel some self-stigma about my condition, because I am afraid of being labelled myself, but I’m going to attempt to overcome this by posting this blog to my personal Facebook account. Maybe my worst fear of being judged or shunned by those who know me won’t happen. It’s an experiment to challenge this core belief.
Do you feel able to share with others (maybe only those you feel safe with) your own experience of mental health difficulties?