Maybe you’re figuring out how to tell your story.

Most people feel sad, worried, angry or overwhelmed at some stage and working this stuff out can be tricky. Try not to feel pressured into sharing personal information until you’re ready. But If you’re finding it difficult to cope, there are people who can support you.  

Who you tell is totally up to you, depending on who you trust and what kind of support you’re looking for.

How to start

At first, you might share your story with someone you know well – a partner, family member or close friend. Or you might prefer to not tell anyone you’re close to instead, perhaps there’s a teacher, work colleague or manager who you trust to give you valuable support.

The person you choose could help you find and arrange a time to see a professional – they may also be willing to go along with you to the appointment.

Ask yourself a few questions before starting a conversation, such as:

  • Am I comfortable sharing personal information?
  • Does this person have time to listen properly?
  • Do we have a good relationship?
  • Do they need to know?
  • Am I confident they will keep our chat private if I ask them to?
  • When and where is the best time and place to have the conversation?

Two people drinking tea together

Talking with a professional

You might feel confident going straight to a medical professional (whether in person or using online and phone supports, like the Beyond Blue Support Service who will point you in the right direction for further support).

There are a range of professionals who should be able to assist you, including a general practitioner (GP), mental health professional, mental health nurse, community health worker or social worker. This means you have a range of options, and you are in control.

Professionals can support you in various ways, beyond simply telling you what they think is going on and possibly recommending treatment. A mental health professional is trained to help you to understand more about your condition, offer you practical steps to better cope with symptoms and point you in the right direction of other useful people or services.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Knowing more about your condition is likely to help ease your concerns, as well as any worries you may have about how others view your behaviour or experiences.

Remember, if you don’t feel comfortable speaking with a certain person – even if they are a professional – it’s totally fine to try and find someone else who suits you better. If they don’t give you a service you’re happy with, you don’t have to go back.  

Don’t feel pressured to talk if you don’t want to. Be patient – eventually you’ll connect with someone who gives you the support you need.

Someone else in a similar situation

Often, you can find an incredible amount of support simply by turning to the people who may be going through a similar experience. Joining an online forum or peer support group and receiving advice from people who have been where you are can make you feel more validated and less alone.

You don’t have to over-explain or fear judgement as others will get it; they live it every day, too. No matter what you’ve been through, what you say or how you say it, others managing or recovering have likely been through it, seen it before, or heard it from someone else.

And who knows, in time you may be the one offering advice to others.

Related reading: Questions to ask your health professional

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