How To Explain Your Mental Health Condition To Someone Who Doesn’t Have It

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Having a mental health condition can be very confusing. You can feel happy and empty at the same time. You want to tell others, but also feel like you need to keep them away. When you do get the “talk to me” vibe, do you even know how to explain how you’re feeling? It sucks. Sometimes you end up saying nothing which makes you feel even worse and more alone. Humans are naturally a mass of contradictions. You want to isolate, not wanting to be seen or talk to anyone, but at the same time we don’t want to be alone! Not to mention trying to appear okay to others. You may feel horrible on the inside yet don’t want to be a bother to others. Do they even get it? Do I? Ugh. All questions that need answers. This week, scroll in and find out how to explain your mental health condition to someone who doesn’t have it. 

Do your own research.

You’re probably having a hard time explaining and understanding the condition yourself so telling someone else only adds to the layers of complexity. Familiarize yourself with your symptoms and grab a stronghold of your presenting concerns.

Compare/Link it to physical symptoms.
Make the distinction between feeling normal and feeling unwell. What mental health conditions look like to one may differ from another. For instance, just because you’re able to manage your panic attacks does not mean it’s healthy or normal or likely someone else is able to function the same way. Since we are all conditioned to understand when physical ailments impact mobility, transform the dialogue surrounding mental health in the same way.

 Provide real examples.

Use concrete, definable examples to anchor you and your audience. For example: 

  1. “I’m late to everything”
  2. “I’m drinking more days than not”
  3. “I’m not caring about consequences”
  4. “I’m sleeping all day”

In addition linking symptoms with physical symptom, using concrete examples helps to boost your conversation and remove confusion. It’s a cause and effect language that’s easy to follow and navigate. “This is what’s happenging- This is how it’s effecting me- This is what I plan on doing about it .”

Understand the consequences and plan for potential outcomes.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t state this: who you tell is either going to be genuine, authentic, and comfortable. Uncomfortable. Or hit you with a slow fade. Which is why, you share when you’re ready to share.

Practice the Process.
Talk about the talking you’re about to do. Set the stage. “There’s something I want to talk about with you”. Tell the right people and provide ways that they can support you after the conversation. Remember, you don’t have to share everything and set boundaries for yourself. Do this when you’re ready. Also, choose a time when you’re feeling well & be clear. 

With anything in life. Once you’re comfortable with the details of the story, the rest fall into place. Tell when you’re ready, when you’re well, and when the information disclosed actually serves a purpose.  Sound off below and let me know what methods best serve you when discussing your mental health with others. Let’s follow 

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