Due to society’s favour of stoicism and “composure”, it can feel like we’re alone in the vast ocean of difficult emotions. Feeling alone isn’t easy, and can worsen your symptoms. Thus, it’s vital to note that one of the most effective ways you can rise above the waves of the depression is through reaching for help. Something that hinders us from seeking assistance is we don’t know exactly how to reach out. Below is a step-by-step guide to reaching out and vocalising your emotions.
Set Aside “You”-Time
It’s important that we find a space to truly be with ourselves. We need not to catch up with time, but with our mental & physical health. Whether it’s an exercise class, an hour set aside for journaling, or gardening, make sure it’s a time simply for US. During this time, we can think clearly about our situation and how we’d like to approach it. It is also important to allocate a certain amount of time to thinking about this situation, as there is a very fine line between reflection and dwelling.
Be Honest With Yourself
Oftentimes, we know exactly what to say to who in order to hear the things we want to hear. While this is indeed reaching out for companionship, it is not the most effective way to start your healing process. Before finding someone we want an honest opinion from, we need to first and foremost be honest with ourselves. This could look like admitting more fault than you initially thought, confronting unhealthy patterns we continue, or toxic traits that we tend to exude in difficult situations. We’re all human. While it may be unpleasant to face hard truths, this can truly help jumpstart our healing process and make it easier to communicate the story to others.
Pick & Choose
Our issues are ours. No matter how deeply difficult or frivolous we deem them, that is up to us. When choosing to reach out to someone, it’s important to think whether they will make the issue about them. This could look like providing unsolicited advice, minimising our experience in comparison to theirs, or simply dismissing us. This type of energy is not conducive to our healing. You can usually spot these people by their patterns. Conversely, if there is someone who constantly checks in with us and actually processes things we say, chances are they care about what we’re going through.
When we don’t address our feelings and leave them unchecked, we can often spiral further. Heavy thoughts are difficult to put into words. It is worth taking the time to sit with your feelings and arrange them, so as to understand your pain, as well as how to express it. Something many professionals suggest is to write an essay plan, especially if this is the first time you’re planning to share your emotions. For example “I am being affected by….. And this makes me feel… I would appreciate some advice/words of encouragement.” This format can help you articulate what is bothering you, how it is influencing your mental health, and what kind of support you would like.