Thursday, January 19, 2012

Talking to Someone

While medications play a very important role in the treatment of mental illness, they form only part of the solution. When you find the right medications they can help control the highs, lows & anxiety that is there, but being able too find someone to talk to about any issues you have can be a godsend. It is also one of the hardest steps sufferers can take. But once you make the decision you need help, who do you talk to?

When I finally admitted to myself that I needed help, I was in my GP's waiting room so he was the first I spoke to. Since then I've seen psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors & spoken to many different people. The hardest part is getting 'comfortable' enough with someone to be able to open right up. Even now I find it hard to open up to professionals, family & friends - they know I have problems, but I just can't talk openly with them.

To my surprise, the people I have found easiest to talk to are other sufferers. The same is true for others I've worked with & spoken to. When you talk to someone you don't know or who haven't been through something similar there seems to be the constant thoughts of 'are they judging me?', 'do they really understand what I'm saying & what I mean?' or, worst of all, 'am I behaving as they expect me to behave?'.

But when talking to someone who has 'been there, done that', you just feel that yes, they do know what it's like to be you. It just seems so much easier to open up & be truthful with someone who knows what it's like. Yes, it's not the best solution & any ideas or suggestions they have to help you should be fully researched because no matter how similar their situation may have been, it is still NOT your situation.

I've also found it easier to talk to people who are not involved in my life in any way - strangers who can't judge you based on what they know of you, or discuss your problems with others you may know. This is where the internet & telephone help lines can be of great benefit, even just to get something out, or seek that little bit of advice/help that you might need right at that time.

In my worst times, I will even talk to myself. Not literally, but through writing. Poems, stories or even just notes to myself, putting my feelings, thoughts & emotions down on paper. Just to get them outside myself so I can study them or shake them off perhaps. It is at times a place I can find comfort when I'm not comfortable with talking to anyone else. Even writing this blog is a form of release for me.

My problem with writing is that it has become associated with my worst down times. My friends & family know that if I'm writing, it's not a good sign for my current mental state. It is a habit I'm trying to change, to move my creativity from just the bad & into the good as well. It is a slow process but I feel I'm making progress - I'm writing this blog when I'm not really at my worst and, hopefully, it will help keep me from sinking down.

So talk to someone, there are many different options available. Professionals may be able to provide more direct help than any others, but if you're finding you can't open up fully to them, then seek somewhere that you can as well. An anonymous phone call or a one off post in a forum is better than nothing. Even just writing notes to yourself can help get things out & improve your outlook.

It is a process, learning to talk to people. It probably won't be easy at first, but you can & do get used to it. As you talk more & more to someone you're comfortable with, it makes it easier to be open with those you aren't. And the more you can tell your doctor/counsellor about what you are thinking & feeling, the more direct help they can provide to get your situation under some control.

Take care.

The information contained in blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.

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