How to tell your loved ones you are having trouble
Sometimes it can be hard to realise we need support with the difficulties we are facing. It can feel easier to try and get on with things and just cope on our own. Accepting that we may be struggling can mean that we need to make some changes in our lives. Though this can feel like a relief and sometimes be motivating, it can also be anxiety provoking and challenging. However, acknowledging you are going through a tough time and that you would like for things to be different is a positive step - it’s the start of a journey towards a more fulfilled and meaningful life.
But how do you communicate and open up about your difficulties to those you care about? This can be easier said than done. Sometimes we worry that we may just burden people with our troubles, or that they will judge us for not coping well. Perhaps we think our loved ones won’t understand or will think of us differently. Or that others won’t take us seriously or understand the gravity of the situation. In order to help you take that first step opening up to someone close to you, here are a few things to consider:
- Identify someone in your life you trust and would feel comfortable opening up to. It could be a trusted friend, a family member or perhaps a colleague. Take your time thinking about and making this decision.
Be clear about why you want to talk to someone. What are the benefits of reaching out? How might this person be able to help given your knowledge of them and your relationship?
- Think about what you want to say in advance. Opening up can be difficult and sometimes it can be hard to find the words. Some people find it easier to write down what they would like to say beforehand. If speaking to someone face-to-face seems too daunting right now, maybe you could send an email or a text to start the conversation.
- Choose the right time and place for you and the other person. You need to give yourself enough time to talk and in a place that feels safe and secure. Neither of you want to feel rushed and that the conversation had to be cut short. Don’t worry if there is a delay to finding a time to talk. Often people report that even making the decision to open up to someone can provide some sort of relief and hope.
- Say what you need to say and what help you think you need right now, in the short-term and in the longer term. This can be helpful for both you and the person you’re talking to. Is there any action that needs to be taken immediately? What support do you need that could be provided? How would you like to be helped when you’re feeling distressed? Maybe all you want is for someone to be there and listen. People may want to spring into action and offer solutions - if that’s not what you want, say so! You have the right to proceed in your own time.
- Alternatively, you can try speaking to a health professional such as your GP. Sometimes it can feel easier to open up to someone on the outside at first and then speak to a loved one.
Regardless of how you approach it, reaching out for help can be tough but can help you feel less alone, hopeful, and more connected to others. It is often the first step towards finding the help and support you need to make things better.
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