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How to Talk to Your Friends About Your Mental Illness

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How to Talk to Your Friends About Your Mental Illness

How to break it to your girl squad why you haven’t been yourself lately

In the almost 5 years in which I’ve been diagnosed with depression, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to talk to those who love me. Mental Illness is not easy to talk about, it feels weird and semi-embarrassing and you never know how someone’s going to react. So its understandable if you don’t know what to expect, especially if your family is not familiar with mental illness or are wilfully ignorant.

However talking to your friends is a bit more intimate and thus scarier; especially if you trust them more than you do your family. Here’s are a few ways to talk to your friends about your mental illness

Be Blunt

Mental illness is not something to be played with or talked around. This does not help the stigma surrounding it, so be blunt with them. Explain what’s happening and don’t act or feel as if you are an inconvenience. If your friends are truly your friends, you won’t be. If they act like you are, you need new friends.

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

No one can go through tough things alone, so you have to ask your friends for the kind of support you need. Whether that be just to talk, to vent, or to make sure you’ve gotten out the bed (this last part depends on the kind of friends you keep so it is not for everyone).

 

Acquire Extra Support

Your friends probably aren’t trained therapists so keep in mind that support is just that, support. It’s not answers or them telling you what to do. It is them doing what they’ve always done, loving you the best way they know how. So seek a therapist or other professional help. Find your campus health center if you’re still in school or a local community center which may offer free counseling services. You can also do a google search for mental health using your zip code to see what’s in your local area.

 

Communicate

No matter what, you have to keep the lines of communication open! No matter what is wrong. Mental illness can be a tricky thing and you can feel things you never thought you would. If it’s urgent or dangerous, someone needs to know. If you don’t trust your family, use doctors or anyone else. Trust your friends; they have your back.

Angel Powell

Angel Powell is a freelance writer, editor and disability activist. Her bylines have appeared in The Billfold, HelloGiggles and Literally, Darling. You can follow her on Twitter @angelbrittanyxo

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