If you have ever had any mental health problems I’m sure you know how difficult it is to open up about it. Whenever you are asked “How are you doing?” you find yourself giving a lame but acceptable answer like “same old, everything’s okay” even though you really want to scream out you’re anything but fine. Whenever they ask “what did you do last weekend?” you give them a fake smile and say “nothing special, watched a movie” even though you want to say that actually, you were crying on the floor trying to find reasons to continue living.

It’s always so much easier to just shut up. You don’t have to deal with the reactions of other people when they hear that you’re not quite okay, especially if you know you’ve been such a good liar and they’d otherwise never guess those words could come out of your mouth. 

“You’re always so happy, what happened? Cheer up, stop worrying!”

You worry that other people, especially your family, would be sad and disappointed, even desperate if they heard. You easily start to think that you don’t want to burden them with your problems, they have enough of those. If you have always been a strong-minded person and never want to seem weak, it’s difficult to admit that you need help. Sometimes you are afraid that no one would care. When you are hurt, you try to avoid hurting even more.

There’s plenty of good reasons you tell yourself why you shouldn’t open up. No matter what your personal excuses are, my wild guess is they haven’t helped at all in your healing process. Have they?

“When you are hurt, you try to avoid hurting even more”

I kept quiet for a long time and wore a fake smile that eventually wore me out. I realised that I owe it to myself. I OWE it to myself to finally stop lying and speak my truth. I owe it to myself to admit that life hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows in my head. I realised I deserve to get better and I never will if I keep all that trash inside.

I remember clearly when after one drunken night I took off my mask and confessed to my boyfriend of two months that I’m actually a fucked up mess. Then I told my friends and family. They were sad but supportive. Later I got more problems, started seeing a lovely psychiatrist and I’m no longer shy about it. I started telling co-workers and other people who are not as close to me. I realised something: I’m not alone. So many people around me had been suffering as well. We all have problems, some are small, some are big, some are slowly killing you.

One evening I mentioned to my friends that the shrink in our school had been unprofessionally bad at her job and seeing her didn’t really help me. Two of my friends told me they had had the same experience. What? Who knew? Why didn’t we open up to each other at the time? It probably would’ve been nicer to lean on a friend or at least know that we are not alone. 

There’s a lot of people suffering in silence, trying to find the courage to tell someone. You never know who you could be helping by opening up. It’s about time to start being honest. Life ain’t always easy, mostly it’s challenging. Even after you learn to walk you still keep falling down as you grow, sometimes you can’t get up without a helping hand and it’s okay.

Take your time but know that it’s the right thing to do. You owe it to yourself.

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