Trigger Warnings: Emotions, change
For my whole life I have always thought that when people are experiencing a hardship or are going through a rough time they talked about it. Apparently this is not the case. I have come to understand that the reason behind this is the mentality that it’s not appropriate to feel your feelings, and express them in a healthy way.
I am here to tell you that that kind of thinking can be very damaging. I know, from experience, that people will avoid talking about their problems, for fear of seeming weak, or the desire to not be pitied. It’s a deeply rooted mindset that has been passed down over the generations. It takes one person to have a major conflict and feel forced to discuss their feelings in order for that pattern to break. This is not healthy, and leads to many more mental health problems than there should be.
If only people would open up and occasionally talk about how they’re feeling. Now, I’m not saying that you have to tell everyone how you’re feeling all the time. One person, every now and then is enough. That person will usually be someone you feel comfortable opening up to, and discussing your problems with; a best friend, close family member, etc.
Also from experience, I know many people can find it really difficult to open up in the first place, who knows if you can trust someone not to judge you or tell someone else what you’re feeling? It is tough to get past that fear, but having that one person can make it a lot easier. When you trust that person, and know that they won’t blab to the world, then it can be so beneficial.
Okay, so now that I’ve opened up, how do I know what to talk about?
Trust me, you’ll know. If you’re considering talking to someone in the first place then there is something very clearly on your mind. After you have decided who to talk to, try to pinpoint what that is. You might work out what you want to talk about, you might not. Often I find that I don’t discover what I really wanted to talk about until I start talking. So if you don’t know what it is, just start with the first thing that’s on your mind, with the knowledge that you want to delve deeper. Honestly, it will follow a natural progression from there.
Once you’re talking, don’t be afraid to stop. I know sometimes you can feel like you’re putting a burden on the other person, feel like they don’t want to hear your problems, or that your problems are too different for them not to judge you. If you’ve picked the right person, then that won’t be an issue. I mean, by all means stop the conversation if you feel like it’s getting too far. There is no pressure for you to talk about more then you’re ready for. But if you start talking and it feels natural and you don’t want to stop, just keep going. Fight that niggle in your gut telling you that the person doesn’t care, because believe me, they do.
Convincing yourself to talk to someone might seem like the hardest part, but pushing back the urge to just laugh it off and pull yourself back is the hardest part. It feels like a natural response, because it’s a defence mechanism. Humans are designed to survive. We will protect ourselves in whatever way we can. Your defence mechanism will kick in if you’re feeling overexposed, because to survive we need to seem like we are strong, and holding in our emotions is a way of putting up that facade.
Listen to your gut, know when to stop, but try to fight just that tiny bit not to push it aside and pretend it doesn’t matter. It’s very important to talk things out sometimes, no matter who you are. In time, it will become natural and you feel free.
Written and illustrated by Charlie Osborne.