Talking about your mental health with your loved ones is crucial, but with the stigma that still exists, it can seem daunting. Even if you know that a few of your loved ones struggle with mental illness, it can still be a struggle. However, they are your loved ones, and if they love you, they will still love you and want what is best for you. Whenever you are ready to tell them, here are a few tips on how to approach talking to loved ones about your mental health.
1. Set boundaries as to what you share
Your loved ones do not need to know every single detail of what is going on, even they are a close family. You are in control of what you share and nobody is entitled to know anything. If you feel comfortable sharing anything at all, they should be grateful that you trust them. Share however much or little you feel comfortable sharing, and if they prod you for more, tell them that you will reveal more in time.
2. Ask them to not judge you
One of the biggest fears people have about telling their loved ones about their mental health concerns is being judged or being shrugged off. Preface the conversation by saying that you do not want to be judged or necessarily want advice (unless you do, of course). Ask them to just be there and support you unconditionally. Tell them that you are afraid that they will shrug or laugh it off as nothing.
3. Find a quiet and comfortable space
You will feel more comfortable telling your loved ones about your mental health if you are in a space that is comfortable for you. You can choose to talk over coffee, lunch, or dinner. If you do not feel comfortable talking about this in a public space, find a room in your house where you are the most comfortable and talk there. Your comfort level is the most important so that you can share openly.
4. Tell them when you are ready to
You are under no obligation to tell them what is going on. If they hint that something may be up but you do not feel like sharing yet, tell them that you are working things out and have a lot on your mind. Do not let them bribe you into telling them stuff that you are not yet comfortable sharing. There is no rush and you are free to share with them when and if you are ready to.
5. Have a purpose in telling them
Even if it is just for support or the knowledge that your loved one also struggles, having a purpose in telling someone about your mental health concerns can make a huge difference. It can make you more confident and gives you the push you need to get over your nerves of sharing the information. Sometimes, there are tangible needs, like a ride to appointments or accountability, that they may be willing and help you with.