When we feel down, we often keep it to ourselves, maybe because we try to be strong and take care of things on our own or maybe because of the stigma associated with dealing with mental health challenges.
Unfortunately, keeping it inside and coping alone is ineffective. Plus, it may end up creating an endless cycle of our depression or anxiety feeding on itself.
Dr. Richard Raskin, a private-practice psychologist in the United States specializing in stress management, thinks that talking through what you’re dealing with can be key to managing it effectively:
It’s important that you don’t let yourself become isolated. To the degree you can reach out, you reach out. Just get the process going with somebody, and then you may be able to add one or more people. Yes, it’s difficult to do this when you are depressed, so it’s best to set up this network during a time when you are feeling well.
Raskin reminds us though that we need to choose our support persons carefully. Some will be more empathetic than others, and empathy is what can keep us going.
Some people are more perceptive than others, and they can read your pain and imagine what you must be going through even though they have never been there. This is the best you can hope for. Even better might be someone who has suffered depression and survived. Both can be tremendously helpful as sounding boards, guardians, counsels, lifelines. Suggest that you stay in touch regularly, like the buddy system.
So, reach out. Find someone you can trust, who will listen and support you. It may make all the difference.