Ask Liz!: How Do I Tell My Friends and Family that I’m Struggling with Mental Illness?

“How do I tell my friends and family that I’m struggling with mental illness?” Anonymous

Dearest Anonymous,

For some of us, it’s easy and some it’s not. Some of our family and friends can already tell/know and are there for support. Others not so much. That’s where you can decide who to tell. You don’t have to tell everybody in your life, but it’s helpful to figure out who will be there for support.

When I personally tell people about my generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), I of course get anxious, but just straight up say something similar to this: “I have to tell you something. I have generalized anxiety disorder. It different then the “normal” anxiety everyone experiences. I am anxious a lot of the time. I wanted to tell you because you’re important to me and I know that this is a part of me that I can’t always hide. Some things you might see me do: fidgeting, picking at my nails, shaking my legs, over thinking/stuck in my head, etc.”

Explain what your mental illness is. They might not know what the illness is or have stereotypes of the specific illness. Explain how it affects you and what they might see. Express what support you’ll need from them.

A good resource is to look at NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness). Each state has a chapter, but they offer some really great insights as well as offer a lot of groups as well. This article specifically talks about disclosing to others. Take a peak!

As Always, Love and Light,

Liz

If you or anyone you know is struggling please reach out to the statewide crisis hotline at 1-888-568-1112

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