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Disclosing Issues


Good day, you beautiful people. Hope you are good. And if you're not, I hope you have someone you can share that with so that you're not alone with that not goodness. But that means opening up about it, doesn't it? And the longer you leave it, the more difficult that gets. It's a story that I hear from lots of clients. And even though it destigmatises mental health problems and raises awareness, on the whole, people don't usually mention anything about their mental health for months, maybe even years into their problem. Shame though, cuz the more people do. The less stigma there is in admitting that there is more to health problems than just having diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure.

No one bats an eyelid if someone replies to a Hi mate, how you doing? conversation with something like, Ugh, found out why I've been feeling so crappy lately. I've got diabetes. Because it's quite common. One in 16 people, apparently in the uk, will have said something like that to somebody and it sparks a conversation about it.

And twice that many people have asthma, which is why to be having a chat with somebody in a pub and they pull out their inhaler it doesn't raise any eyebrows. It might start a conversation about it, but there's no judgment. People just think. Your lungs aren't the best. You need an inhaler. That's interesting.

And that's it. One in six people have high blood pressure and again, How you doing mate? Hmm. Actually I've been feeling a bit crap lately, but I've found out why. I've got high blood pressure. I'm gonna get some treatment so things can get better now. That's great. Somebody might say, I thought you hadn't been your usual happy self lately.

Glad to hear you doing something about it. Imagine that conversation, but instead of high blood pressure, it's anxiety and depression, because the statistics are about the same for those. Anxiety and depression are just as common as high blood pressure is. And when something is just as normal, we need to have those sorts of conversations.

Cuz if we don't normalize what is normal, then we have a mismatch in the way that we see the world and the way that the world actually is, which of course then contributes to the stigma of having a mental health problem. Discussing, disclosing, even simply considering mental health problems in the same way that we do physical health problems is gonna take some adjustment.

It's gonna take some time, but the ball has to be pushed before it starts to roll, doesn't it? So how do we do this? What's the best way to disclose that we have some sort of mental health problem? Someone wrote into the Therapy Natters show asking that back in August, I think it was. Me and Fiona had a bit of a natter about that.

If you want to go and listen to that, you can. Actually, did you know I make a podcast with another therapist? Well, I do, and have done for nearly a year now. Go and find it. It's called Therapy Natters. It's there in every podcast app that exists. There's a new episode every single Wednesday. Go and have a listen.

So, people ask me about disclosing their issues sometimes because it's no secret that it's good to talk. That's something I've said a lot. They know it, but often people say that they don't want to tell people cuz they're expecting hostility, they're expecting rejection, maybe even from their friends.

Yet we don't expect that if we drop into a conversation that we've got high blood pressure, that people then are never gonna invite us out for a walk in case we are too slow. Cuz the side effects of medication can make us lightheaded or drowsy. It's gonna be that they might understand us better now, when we thank them for their invite and say, Oh, not today mate, if that's okay.

And exactly the same should be happening for when we have mental health problems. And it starts by having conversations about it. It starts by weighing up the benefits and negatives of telling your friends, your family, your colleagues, because there are no rules. You do what you want, but don't just look at the benefits and negatives of talking about it.

Also think about the benefits and negatives of not talking about it with these people. So test the water by mentioning some symptoms. That's often a good idea. Talk about sleeplessness, talk about insomnia, lethargy, crying over some rubbish advert. Make something up if you have to, to shoehorn your symptoms into a conversation and tell them that you've been struggling for a while, but you didn't wanna bother anyone, which probably made the issue worse.

If your friends don't understand that then maybe you need new friends. But that's for another episode. Anyway, that's five minutes, time's up. Enjoy your weekend. Join me on Patreon if you want to hear more about this or if you need some extra help. But if not, I'll speak to you next week. Bye for now.