How to Open Up To Your Loved Ones About Your Mental Health?
This is what we often hear when opening up about our emotional struggles. What hurts most is it comes from those we love— such as our family or relatives.
As we spend time with them, we may do ourselves a favor and recreate a home that nurtures rather than destroys our well-being. Here’s how we can open to our loved ones about our mental health.
1. Plan what to talk about.
Planning about what, where, and how you’ll address your struggles helps you overcome the triggers surrounding the topic. You may list the following points to not miss anything during the conversation:
- How you truly feel and why
- What your family member/s have to do with those feelings/experiences
- How can you work on those issues
It’s best to do it casually during an intimate gathering or family dinner. You may also have a private, one-on-one conversation with the family member you’d like to speak with.
2. Address objections
Stigma exists because of lack of awareness. Addressing these objections can help your family understand your mental health concerns better:
|“Wala mani saunang panahon.”
|“Naa ni sauna, pero mas na educate and na aware lang ang mga tao karon.” (Mental illnesses have always existed. It’s just that people are more educated and aware now.)
|“Tapulan lang jod ka/sila.”
|“Na overwhelm sila and nahurot na ilang energy pagtry ug survive. Mao gamay nalang ilang energy pag trabaho.” (They’re overwhelmed or have exhausted their energy trying to survive; thus, have less energy to work.)
|“Huna-huna rana nimo/nila.”
|“Tinuod ang mental illness ug maka affect pd ni sa akong physical health ug relationships.”
–Mental health can affect physical health and relationships.
When talking about your mental health, you should understand your family’s mentality. This helps you communicate your issues more effectively. Empathizing makes you realize that:
- Boomers might be unsupportive because they are unaware of the importance of mental well-being.
- They might be unresponsive to your emotional needs because they didn’t have them and weren’t able to fulfill their own needs as well.
- They might’ve treated you unfairly because they have also been neglected by their parents during childhood, which most likely affected their adult behavior.
- They might belittle your mental health issues because they’re more concerned about making money, surviving, or providing your physical needs.
Their lack of awareness and own struggles won’t excuse their behavior. However, empathizing helps you get your point straight and make yourself clear to them.
4. Be vulnerable.
Instead of avoiding awkward conversations about how you feel, face them. You can show your family that being emotional and sensitive is okay. You can initiate vulnerability by saying:
- “I’m battling with my insecurities and it hurt me when you said I’m not enough.”
- “I’m feeling very down lately but I hesitate to express because every time I do, you say I’m OA.”
- “I know I had my own issues. I’m trying to heal but it won’t help if you constantly bring up the past.”
While vulnerability is difficult, it can be powerful. It fosters intimacy in families because it tells how much you entrust your thoughts and emotions to them.
Raising awareness and breaking the stigma attached to mental health can start in our families, but it still is a challenge.
Our families might feel close to us, but this doesn’t guarantee that they are familiar with our struggles or ready to support our healing. Let’s give them time to slowly process the information or perhaps get a mental health professional to help them with the difficult conversations.
Our psychologists and psychiatrists here are Gestalt Wellness Institute are available from 9 am-11 pm Mondays to Saturdays. We provide specialized and quality multidisciplinary services as a collaborative, efficient, and sustainable mental health institution committed to self-discovery and expansion.
Call us: (032) 345 4610