One in four people will experience a mental health problem over the course of their lifetime. That means it’s highly likely that someone you know will suffer from a mental illness at some point. So why we do not talk about it more openly?
When I was first diagnosed with depression, I had no idea what to do or where to turn. I had probably been suffering with it for years by that point but I just didn’t realise it. Mainly because I had little awareness of the issues and didn’t recognise the symptoms when they arose.
READ MORE – What Depression Feels Like for Me
Had I known more about it I could probably have stopped depression in its tracks while it was still relatively mild. Instead, I ignored the warning signs and ended up falling into a full on depressive episode that stopped my life in its tracks for months.
That is why I think it is so important for people to have open and honest conversations about mental health. Not only to help people recognise when they need to seek help, but to make them more likely to do so by removing some of the stigma attached to it.
READ MORE – What to Do If You Think You Have Depression
Because even though discussions around mental health are becoming more commonplace, there still remains a big stigma. That stigma can make you feel nervous about opening up about your own struggles. As though doing so will leave you exposed to other people’s judgements and assumptions.
This can be particularly true in the workplace where opening up about depression and anxiety feels particularly taboo. One of my colleagues believed that an employer could give you a bad reference if they knew that you had mental health problems.
I decided early on to be very open about my own personal struggles with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. When I started to talk to other people about it I realised that many other people had experienced struggles too.
Being honest helped connect me with other people and feel less alone. It enabled me to build an amazing support network that was vital for getting me through some of the darker days.
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