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It’s not easy to tell your most beloved people about your struggles and sufferings. There’s always a fear of being judged or ostracized by them. And even if you know that they will be empathetic towards you, the fear still lingers in your mind. And if you are met with empathy, there’s a fear that your diagnosis won’t be understood.

If you have been worrying about how to talk to someone about your depression, then know that you’re courageous and not alone. It can be challenging to open up and talk about your struggles with someone and deciding that you wish to share them with a loved one can be a big step.

If you’re thinking about talking to a friend about depression, then I have a guide for you. Keep reading to learn why we find it challenging to talk about depression, why we should talk about it, and what steps you should take when thinking about disclosing your depression with friends.

Why is it so Difficult to Talk About Depression?

Misconceptions about mental health have always been there and unfortunately, we have let these misconceptions guide our thinking. Many people, despite the awareness of mental health, refuse to talk about it openly as they fear judgment. Other reasons why it can be difficult to talk about depression can include;

Mental health stigma: Because of the stigma about mental health, many people fear being judged or rejected by their family and friends if they disclose their diagnosis.

Social isolation: Depression has many behavioral symptoms, including social isolation. When you withdraw from your loved ones, it can be even more challenging to share what you’re going through.

Shame and embarrassment: Because of the misconceptions and misrepresentations of mental illnesses in our culture and society, it’s easy to feel ashamed and embarrassed about having depression.

Why Should You Talk About Depression?

The idea of talking about your depression with someone – especially someone you trust – can be downright scary. However, deciding that you want to talk to a friend about depression can be a big part of the healing process. And more so, when you’re met with support and empathy.

Did you know that according to a study by NAMI, it was found that talking to someone, especially to someone sympathetic can reduce your stress and boost your mood? So, not only do you have someone willing to share your struggles but also validation and a support net that you can lean on when things get too rough.

When you’re met with support, it becomes easier for you to share your emergency plan or crisis plan with your loved ones in case you need immediate mental help. This is also a good way to ensure that if or when your depression hits severely, you have a support system ready to intervene on your behalf.

Things to Consider…

People who genuinely care about you will be empathetic about your situation or understanding of your condition. Even then, there will be people who won’t understand what depression is or how it is affecting you. They may want to help you but would not know how to or they might believe those misconceptions that would cloud their thinking.

Because of this, you need to know that it’s OK if people don’t understand. Not everyone will be able to understand what you’re struggling with, but if you choose to talk to your friends about depression, make sure you choose people who will be empathetic, if not supportive.

Just because your friends may not understand what you’re going through, doesn’t mean that they are uncaring or unloving towards you.

Another thing you should consider is how many people you should disclose your depression to. Of course, this number may vary from person to person. Some people may want to tell one or two people in their life, while others may want to involve a group of people. You know best, so trust your gut.

Also, keep in mind that as you decide to talk to someone about depression, you consider how you feel about your diagnosis. If you’re not ready to accept your condition, you can’t expect others to do it for you. When you’re OK with your diagnosis, only then can you talk about it with others without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.

How to Talk to Your Friends About Depression?

After you’ve decided to talk to your friends about depression, here are some things you can keep in mind if you ever feel uncertain or anxious.

1.Pick The Right Place And Time

Pick a place, day, and time when you feel like talking to someone. Do not force yourself to talk, but do so when you feel up for it – mentally and emotionally. Time and place matter a lot, more than you might think. Choose a casual place too. You can choose to sit in a restaurant, have a cup of coffee or take a walk in the park. Try to do something together with your friends. This will provide you with a distraction as well as a chance to gather your thoughts.

2.Think About How Much You Want To Disclose

You don’t have to disclose everything you’re feeling. You can choose to share as little or as much as you want. There are no right or wrong ways or any guidelines that can tell you what to do and what not. Don’t feel responsible to share everything and if you’re not comfortable answering their questions, politely say no or give a simple response of, “I do not wish to talk about it in detail, yet.”

3. Prepare Beforehand

The best thing you can do before talking to friends about depression is to prepare a script in advance. There might be some things you wish to talk about and some you want to avoid so make sure you have it written down in case you need help. Do not worry about what others will think, just remind yourself that they care about you and wish to support you.

4. If They Offer Help, Take It

If your friends offer you help, allow them to help you. Close friends would want to help you feel better so let them know what they can do for you. Maybe you need them to listen to you or just keep you company some days. Whatever it is you need, ask them for help. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but one of strength.

5. Know What to Respond With

Please know that however your friends respond, it is just a reaction and not a reflection of who you are to them. It’s not their fault if they fail to support you or understand you. Avoid arguing or debating with them.

It’s not your responsibility to teach them or defend your condition. It is just what it is. If you feel the need, set some boundaries and remind them that you’re getting the help you need and all you need from them is support and encouragement.

What Next?

It’s OK to talk about mental health and it’s not something you should feel shameful or embarrassed about. You never know; maybe your friends will open up about their struggles too if they see and hear you talking about yours.

If you are struggling with your depressive thoughts and are constantly worried about how to talk to friends about depression, then you can speak to your therapist about it. They can offer you tips and guidance to talk to your friends about depression.

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If or when you decide to open up and talk about depression with friends, family, or coworkers, make sure you don’t force yourself, do it out of obligation, or feel like this is something you should be ashamed of. Talking about depression isn’t a sign of weakness but strength, so stay strong.

Hopefully, the tips in this article will help you talk to your friends about depression. For more, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Take Care!

The post How Should I Talk to My Friends About Depression? | Things to Consider appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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