Telling the people in your life that you’re suffering from a mental health condition can be difficult, to say the least.
You may get an adverse reaction, or misunderstanding, or even denial from family and friends. Many people opt to tell friends before family, or vice versa.
If you’re planning on telling your friend you’re suffering from depression, there are some steps you’ll want to follow to maximize the effectiveness of what you’re saying and help your friend to better understand what’s really going on.
Prepare Yourself for an Intense Conversation
No matter who you decide to tell about your depression, you’ll want to prepare for what will most likely be an intense conversation.
Reactions will vary among different people depending on their understanding of depression, their experience with it, and whether or not they’ve subscribed to the many stigmas and misconceptions about the illness.
Prepare yourself beforehand by taking some time to relax and decide on what you want to say. Start off slowly with statements such as:
“I have something really important that I need to tell you. It’s about something that’s really been impacting me lately. I’d really appreciate if you’d take the time to sit down and listen to what I have to say.”
This will let your friend know it’s a serious matter and something that has affected your life in some way.
Don’t downplay the severity of the illness either. It’s important that your support figures understand the weight of what you’re dealing with in order to properly empathize with you and support you.
You don’t want to say things like “I want to die”, but if you’re truly thinking about self-harm or suicide, say something like:
“I’ve been having some thoughts about self-harm and/or suicide”.
Decide Which Friend to Tell
Who is just as important as what when it comes to telling a friend about your depression. Choose which friends you confide in carefully.
Does the friend you’ve chosen subscribe to stigma or misunderstanding about mental illness? This may not be the best person to talk to.
Do they have negative things to say about people who suffer from depression or have suicidal thoughts? You may not find the support you’re looking for.
Take the time to carefully choose your confidant. The person you choose should be understanding, and ideally, have some idea of what depression is and how it affects those that suffer from it.
Help Them Understand the Illness
Bringing important fact sheets or statistics with you to the conversation may help your friend better understand what you’re dealing with from a fact-driven point of view.
Many people don’t understand something (or believe something) until they see cold, hard facts. There are plenty of online resources where you can print of fact sheets or statistics to back up what you’re saying.
You can give your friend the sheet to keep so that when symptoms arise, they can refer to the fact sheet and know that you’re not just “acting out” or “being sad.”
Depression is a very serious condition, and it’s important that whoever you tell understands that. Taking it seriously is the best way to properly navigate symptoms and be there for you when you need support.
Prepare for Possible Adverse Reactions
When you need someone to talk to, it can be difficult to prepare for possible adverse reactions. You may not expect anger, denial, or guilt, but these are possible reactions from friends and loved ones when you reveal you’ve been affected by a mental illness like depression.
It’s important that you guard yourself against these reactions and understand that there’s a possibility they may occur.
Should your friend react with anger, resentment, or some other negative emotion, it’s best to remove yourself from the situation and give them space. After the initial shock, they may be more willing to hear what you have to say with a positive attitude.
Understand that mental illness is still stigmatized and misunderstood, and it’s not necessarily your friend’s intent to further upset you.
Keep Them Updated
After you’ve informed your friend of your condition, be sure to follow up and keep them updated with your progress; whether you’re attending group or individual therapy, are on medications, or are trying alternative treatments like CBD oil. (Visit Verma Farms for CBD oil facts)
Keeping your friends updated on your condition will lessen their worry about you and keep them informed as to whether or not you’re getting better.
Once you tell someone you’re suffering from depression, they’ll be concerned for your safety, and that’s a good thing.
Should your depression spiral into suicidal ideations, they’ll be able to identify the symptoms sooner and get you the help you need before anything happens. They’ll probably want to check up on you as well, even when you’re feeling withdrawn or isolated.
Depression is a serious condition that can be managed and treated via a combination of therapy, medications, and support from friends and family.
It’s important to keep the people in your life informed about your condition, so they have a better understanding of any negative behaviors you’ve adopted because of the illness.
This will keep your friends from taking things personally, and also help them understand when your condition is worsening so they can seek help.
Don’t be afraid to speak about your depression; it’s something that millions of adults, teens, and kids suffer from worldwide.