Talk about it
It’s hard to get through anxiety and depression by yourself. Find the right person, find the words, and take action. The support of others can help you recover.
Here are some tips for having the conversation about how you’re feeling.
Why you might talk with others
- For support and understanding
- To connect with others with similar experiences
- To help you figure out what to do about how you’re feeling
- To ease the burden of keeping it a secret.
If you decide to talk, be prepared
- Find the right person to talk with who is likely to be understanding. This might be someone you are close with, or someone more removed from your life, such as a health professional.
- Be gentle with yourself and take it slowly.
- Accept that people will react in different ways.
- If people are not helpful in their reaction, this is a reflection on their lack of understanding.
I’ve been pretending things are going okay, but I’m actually feeling very low and not really coping.
It is your experience – you are in control of how much you tell others.
I might get upset talking to you about this, but I just want to let you know that I have depression.
Talk when you are ready about what is important to you. It could be a spontaneous conversation or it might be planned. Write an email or letter if talking is too hard at first.
This isn’t easy for me to talk about… I will do my best to explain.
Decide what you want to share and say it in a way that is comfortable to you. It might help to practice how you will say it.
It’s left me with no motivation or energy to even get out of bed in the morning and I just feel completely overwhelmed in social situations.
Explain how you have been feeling and how it has affected your day to day life.
I am feeling tired and irritable all the time.
Keep talking. Have as many conversations as you need to. If possible, identify a range of people you can talk to so support is available when you need it, and you don’t feel like you’re relying too much on any one person.
I don’t need solutions at the moment. I just need someone to listen while I download.
You may need to be clear that you don’t need help with anything in particular but just having someone listen is helpful.
I’m not coping, and I need help figuring out what to do about it.
Communicate as clearly as you’re able to what support you need at the moment. Explain that this might change over time.
Thank you for your kind offer but I think I am OK for now. I appreciate your concern.
Understand and try to accept that not everyone will be able or willing to support you. Try to appreciate their efforts, no matter how small.
If you’re interested, there’s information about depression on the beyondblue website.
Help others understand more about anxiety or depression. Be open to answering their questions as best you can. Remember that understanding can take time.
I’d just like to keep this between you and me at the moment.
Be clear about your privacy. Tell the people who you trust will support you.
What if I get a bad reaction?
A negative reaction can be difficult to cope with, but if you feel able to, talk with them about their reaction and how it affects you. Let them know what would be more helpful.
Consider giving them information about anxiety and depression to help them understand more about what you are experiencing and how they can best support you. Try to accept that it may take time for them to fully understand what you are going through and some people may never be able to understand.
Talk to someone else to get the support you need.
What if I feel like I have no one to talk to?
Think about the people around you. Is there someone who has shown you support in the past? Is there someone more removed from your life that has had a similar experience? You might be surprised to find there are people out there ready to support you.
Talk to your local doctor. They can help you to find other support options. Talk to the beyondblue Support Service (1300 22 4636) or visit beyondblue’s online forums where people share their experiences of anxiety and depression with each other.