Tell people how you're feeling

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When you’re feeling at your lowest ebb, the idea that just talking to someone else might help improve your mood can seem laughable. However, I’ve always found this to be one of the best things to do. 

I initially needed to overcome the feelings of guilt that I was being selfish and self-indulgent by going on about my problems to someone else. But soon I realised that opening up about how you’re feeling can be the ultimate win-win: the person you’re sharing with will actually feel uplifted by having had the chance to support you in your hour of need, and you will feel less isolated. Plus, your problems can often seem more manageable once you address them clearly as opposed to grappling with them in the darker corners of your mind. Every time I have spoken to someone suffering from depression, I’ve always come away from the conversation buzzing that I might have been able to be some small help to them. So don’t hold back from being candid about how you’re feeling!

Why does this help?

  • Talking can help you to work out what you’re feeling. Sometimes talking out loud about what’s going on in your head and explaining it to someone else, even if you think it doesn’t make sense, helps you to clarify your thoughts. Sometimes, saying things out loud can make them less scary, as well as helping you to work out what you’re dealing with.  

  • Outreach can help to put things into perspective. If you’ve been keeping things to yourself a situation can seem way more overwhelming than it actually is. The person you tell might help you see the situation in a new or different light.

  • Talking can also help to release tension. Carrying negative thoughts and feelings is draining, and it creates a lot of physical tension too. Talking to someone can be a serious release - and you could feel like a weight has been lifted, literally.

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Tips

  • Who to talk to? To start with, choose one person you can trust and that you feel comfortable with to share how you’re feeling. Consider a friend or family member (if you think they can give you support or can relate to what you’re going through) or if you want to speak to someone else consider a doctor, counsellor, (teacher if you’re at school) or therapist.

  • Tell the people around you. Once you feel a bit more comfortable talking about your depression/anxiety it is a good idea to tell those immediately around you - your closest friends, family and partner. They will only be able to help and support you if they know what’s going on with you.  

  • Consider joining a peer support group. It often helps to talk to people who are going through the same things you’re going through. There are LOADS of peer support groups you can join around the UK (see below) and this can be an excellent forum for you to talk about how you’re feeling with people who really get it.  

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5 things you can do today

1. Choose a friend or family member to confide in about how you’re feeling. If you don’t feel like speaking to them, maybe put down your feelings in a text / email? I often find it very therapeutic to collect my thoughts by doing that.

2. Think about joining a local peer support group. Find your local support group here.

3. Call a support line. These provide total anonymity and support from either trained counsellors or people who have been through depression.

4. Maybe you’d prefer to reach out online? Online depression forums, like Big White Wall, provide a safe and anonymous peer support community which is accessible anytime anywhere.  If an online forum isn’t for you, Depression UK have a pen-friend scheme for members.

5. Listen to other people’s stories. Hearing about other people’s struggles with anxiety and depression can help to make you feel like you’re not alone, and that you’re not always going to feel the way you’re feeling now. Time to Change and Make it OK have lots of personal stories of depression.

Further reading