Many of us find it hard to ask for support.

It can be difficult finding the right words to describe how you feel – and even harder, finding the right person to talk to. But having the support of others can help you cope with whatever it is you’re experiencing.

Why should I talk to someone?

Talking to someone in a safe space can help you figure out what you’re feeling. It’s a release that helps ease the burden of keeping whatever it is that’s bothering you a secret. By talking to someone and sharing your experience, you’re also forming closer connections with your friends, family, and the people you trust.

If you’re nervous about talking to someone about your feelings, try practising what you will say and how you will say it. Choosing a location that makes you feel relaxed and uninterrupted will also help you remain calm and overcome some of the fears you might have about sharing your feelings.

But I don’t know what to say! What should I say?

A lot of people struggle with this part. It can be overwhelming especially if you’re not sure how to describe what you’re feeling – or if the person you’re talking to understands. Sometimes it helps acknowledging that you don’t know what to say and that it is hard for you to talk about what you’re going through.

"I don’t really know how to say this and I find it really difficult to talk about what I’m feeling."

"This isn’t easy for me to talk about…I will do my best to explain."

Decide what you want to share and try giving examples of what you’re experiencing;

“I used to really look forward to footy training – but when it rolls around each Tuesday night, I just don’t care anymore.”

“I enjoy hanging out with you, but when it comes to catching up, I get so overwhelmed that I don’t want to leave the house. And so, I cancel.”

Be gentle with yourself and take as much time as you need. Share your thoughts and feelings in a way that is comfortable for you.

If you are seeing a GP for the first time and know that you may feel daunted by the experience, a useful tip is to write down how you're feeling ahead of time. Here's a quote from one of our Forum members:

"I frequently suggest to people that they write down their symptoms, feelings, thoughts etc before attending their appointments. That way you can refer to your paper without having to think about what to say. Trying to put into words your thoughts when you are already nervous can make you more nervous. So prepare ahead. The doctor will understand. If you still cannot speak then just give the paper to the doctor to read. I have done this on several occasions and it makes life a bit easier."

I know how I feel but I don’t know what I need

You may need support, or you may just want to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Either way, this conversation is a good opportunity to let people know what you need;

“I don’t need solutions at the moment. I just need someone to listen. I’d just like to keep this between you and me at the moment.”

Communicate as clearly as you can about what support you think you might need;

“I’m not coping, and I need help figuring out what to do about it.”

You or the person you’re talking to may not have the answers, and that's fine.

But what if they’re not helpful?

People process news and information differently. If you ask someone for support and they are not helpful, it can hurt. This could be a sign that the person you’re talking to doesn’t understand what you’re experiencing – it’s not a reflection of you.

Try talking to someone else to get the support you need. Consider talking to your GP or you can also try using spaces like Beyond Blue Forums to share your experience anonymously with other people experiencing something similar to you.

For more tips on how to have a conversation about what you’re feeling, head to the Beyond Blue website.

Related reading: Accidental counselling – when someone confides in you

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