Mental health and wellbeing is very close to our hearts, and while we truly aim to have an always-on approach to covering all aspects of mental health, we have chosen to shine an extra bright light on #WorldMentalHealth today, and for the rest of October.
We bring you The Big Burn Out — a content series made up of honest personal essays, expert advice and practical recommendations.
Depression is an isolating experience to go through. Oftentimes, it can take you away from doing the things you once love or enjoyed. And as Dr. Susan George, MD, says, that is the time to seek professional help. But along with that step, discussing depression with your family, especially your parents, is also important. So, it is crucial to emphasise the value of confiding in people you trust about it. It can be difficult to overcome and for many, sometimes it can be hard to admit to even themselves that they have it, let alone to people they are close to and love. However, it is important to seek support and after all, those who love you are the best for the job.
Remember, there is nothing to be ashamed about
Do not take away from your feelings, emotions, and hardships. Don't pepper your feelings with lightness. Everyone is entitled to feel a certain way, and though depression is something to notice and help fix, there is still nothing to be ashamed about. The beginning to healing is acknowledging, so instead of feeling embarrassed about it, be proud of yourself for taking that step forward to positive change. After all, depression and anxiety often root in perception, so starting to change detrimental patterns of perception can be the beginning to feeling better!
Give an overview on your emotions
If giving too much detail about what you are going through seems too overwhelming at first, don't feel the need to divulge all the dirty details — that is what professional therapy is usually good for. But do your best to explain why and how you feel the way you do. Practising this monologue first to yourself will give you a little extra prep and the necessary confidence.
Be open to their thoughts
Sometimes it is hard to absorb other people's preconceived opinions on something like depression, but be patient. Remember, that your parents love you, and their thoughts only come from a place of sincerity. So they might be grappling for solutions that can help. Also, depression affects around 40 million adults in the United States alone and is increasingly less taboo to discuss, so odds are they have had some experience going through it at one point or another or know someone who has. Don't discredit their experience.
Resolve in seeking help
If medicine or therapy has always been something that you have strayed away from when feeling depressed, it is likely time to move on from that. Discussing such things with your parents will automatically put them into the mode to help, so already being willing to agree to that will make the process easier. It's for the best.
For those of you who perhaps come from a family where such emotional topics aren't always discussed or understood, explaining such a thing in your life to them will seem even more challenging. Oftentimes, families who do not divulge in such personal details consist of people who are more comfortable with facts. If this is your scenario, bring facts about depression to the table, so they can see from a medical standpoint how common it is and what is needed to make a positive change. Do your research to help them help you.
It's OK to cry it out
It's OK to feel vulnerable, so let those tears flow. Sometimes a good cry is therapeutic in and of itself, and since you are confiding in the people who you love and trust, they will be there to help support you. Be open in your feelings, and it will give some insight into your inner struggle. Again, don't stray from being authentic. There is truly nothing to be ashamed about.
If it's not your parents, you need to confide in someone
Everyone's relationships are different with their families and friends. If you don't think your parents are the audience, it is absolutely necessary to your health and well-being that you share your depression issues with someone you trust. Dr. George also recommends that to help a person with depression, "be a supportive and non-judgmental listener." So, to that sentiment, pick a person in your life you feel comfortable with who would approach your needs with those qualities. You don't need to go through this alone, so protect yourself and find the support you need.
All in all, remember this: you are not a burden. You are a special and important person going through something. It is human to need help sometimes, so let those who love you have their hand in it.