Here are 5 tips for opening up to family and friends during tough times:
#1 Take risks
Opening up to family and friends about what you’re going through can be the hardest thing. It’s a difficult situation and you have a million thoughts running through your mind and some of them aren’t so nice. Such as, what if they don’t understand? What if they judge me or treat me differently? Will they just ignore me and pretend that nothing happened? What if?
Well, the problem with all of these ‘what if’ questions in your head is that first of all: you’re going to drive yourself crazy and just end up feeling worse and secondly: you have to ask yourself, “What if they can help me? What if they listen and don’t judge me?” Because unless you try, you won’t find out. Take the risk.
The payoff might be great.
#2 Speak out
Staying quiet about whether you’re depressed, anxious or anything else, won’t help. Everything you feel and think will just build up until eventually it’ll explode. You can only keep so much locked away.
And of course not every parent, best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend is going to be understanding and that’s something you’re going to have to accept as well. Not everyone is empathetic, as sad as that may be. But you have to try.
(BTW, if they aren’t empathetic or even sympathetic…ditch them. You’ll do yourself a huge favor. If someone can’t be there for you during your lowest, are they even you real friend?)
And when none of your family or friends are there for you or listen when you try to talk to them, go talk to a teacher at your school. It may sound silly, but talking to anyone will help. And the people you least expected to help you, can be the most understanding. So it’s important to keep an open mind.
It’s usually much easier opening up to family and friends when they understand what you’re going through, but if they don’t, don’t remain silent. Speak out and let them know that you’re a person—that you have feelings. Even if they don’t react at first, make sure your words sink in.
#3 Be honest with yourself
It’s important that you know how you’re feeling and that you’re clear on what you’re experiencing and not what others are telling you to feel. Some people may try to help you, but it could in fact just make things worse if they know nothing about your problem. By being genuine with yourself and admitting to feeling a certain way, you can be honest with the people you trust.
Do your own research, read medical articles and blogs on Google, watch videos on YouTube or talk to an expert. In the end, make sure you know for sure what you’re going through and how others can help before talking to friends or family who’s clueless about what you’re going through. It can only benefit you to educate yourself about your situation. More information for an in-depth understanding on your experience can’t possibly hurt since you have nothing to lose.
You don’t want to be in the dark for any longer.
#4 Expect the unexpected
Opening up your heart and mind to family or friends doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be able to help you. After all, you’re the only person that can truly heal yourself.
Expect to be disappointed, because not everyone is going to understand what you’re experiencing or make an effort to be there for you. But also expect the unexpected. One of the people you least suspected to be empathetic towards you, might surprise you. Not everyone in your life will be supportive, but those who are, hold onto them.
Life is full of surprises and you must be able to take the good with the bad.
#5 Mind set is everything
Don’t open up to someone about what you’re going through with a stubborn attitude. If you seek help, you need to be able to take advice.
When talking to someone, don’t have the mind set of ‘It’s my way or the highway’. Yes, you have every right to feel sensitive during this time and even defensive, but don’t leave your door wide open then for anyone to walk through the threshold.
Not everyone is going to want to climb abroad on your journey and you need to be able to make peace with the idea. It might feel like the worst thing ever, but then remind and ask yourself, “Would I even want someone incapable of sympathy/empathy to go with me on this personal journey?” The truth hurts but it’s better than living under false pretenses.
Your mind-set is what can make or break you. The same goes for your perception and overall attitude towards yourself. If you play the victim card and keep blaming others for something that was created by no one else but you, you’re going to keep feeling worse. But if you’re open-minded and try to be positive, your circumstances should improve.
It’ll take time of course to rewire the neurological pathways of the brain to cooperate and create the illusion that all is well even if your physical symptoms show the opposite, but good things come to those who wait. And those who are persistent and determined!
Remember, this is a battle—one you’re fighting alone. You can either be your worst enemy or your best friend.
The choice is up to you.
I really hope this short blog helped you or made you feel better in some way. It’s my only intention. Don’t be too hard on yourself but don’t make excuses either. Look the situation in the eyes because you can do this and you’re much stronger than what you think!
I believe in you. But do you believe in yourself?
Have a lovely day x