In a time when we’re told to talk more, it’s ok not to talk…

Mental Health is a topic that has gained increased popularity in recent years. Finally. Thankfully! Although there is still so much stigma, so much misunderstanding around this whole broad topic. One of the things we are increasingly told to do as part of raising awareness is to talk about mental health. The idea being, if someone has a broken arm it would be perfectly natural to head into work and talk to colleagues about what happened, where the accident took place, what it was like having the cast put on etc etc…

Of course with mental health it’s much more difficult. Rather than being a point of interest the person suffering often becomes the elephant in the room, people don’t know what to say, whether to bring it up. And in an attempt to normalise mental health issues and make them a more regular aspect of our daily living we’re encouraged to talk about it. It’s a great idea and Blackdog supports that all of the way…

However, it’s important to point out that also..it’s fine to not talk about it. Because for many people, talking about their mental health and say, why they’ve been off work for the past few months, causes pain. It can raise a whole host of complex emotions and feelings. Going through a period of being unwell can be confusing and very distressing.

So it’s really important to remember, that if you’re suffering you don’t have to feel that you have to wave a flag for mental health. You’re not a failure if you find that you just cannot talk about what’s been happening to you right now and you shouldn’t feel the need to explain it. In fact, it’s completely and entirely acceptable to keep quiet if that’s what helps you get through the day.

The thing with mental health issues is that they are so personal. There may be communality of certain symptoms but the experience each of us has can be so very different. And the pain that can accompany being unwell can sometimes be too much to talk about or comprehend.

It’s good to talk. It’s always good to get support rather than hide yourself away. It’s good to reach out and realise people may have some understanding of what you’ve been through. But if you need to keep quiet, that’s fine too. Whatever you do, try and be kind to youself and never see yourself as a burden. And if you’re trying to support someone who you know has mental health issues – be there for them, be ready to listen. If they don’t want to talk about it understand that be supportive in other ways. Sometimes, just knowing people are there and ready to get involved is more important.

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