If you are wondering whether you should tell a friend or family member about your problem with alcohol, I have some news for you. Most likely they already know. In fact, it is highly likely that almost everyone you know, knows. It is you, who is the last to know. It is called denial friend. Good news is, if you are thinking of talking about your problem - you may have just gotten through one of the most difficult stages of recovery.
The same applies to depression. Feeling like you should let people know you struggle with depression but feeling afraid the stigma may be too much? Know this - most likely the people you know and love are well aware of your depression and are desperate to help you, but don’t know how. They are walking on eggshells and wishing you would just talk about it. Indeed there may be some stigma involved in your choice to talk about your problems, or seek a formal diagnosis, but this perceived judgement is a tiny price to pay for the loads of love and support that could become available to you, when you open up.
I found myself laughing out loud to myself today, as I drove home from work thinking about my last few years of change. I was thinking back to the email I sent my family members saying I had depression issues and was going to be taking medication and would no longer be drinking. It was like I expected them to gasp in disbelief. Much to my surprise, they were not at all surprised. There were no comments like “ You have a what? A drinking problem? I never would have thought….” Nope, not one. And, nobody said, “Are you kidding? You are depressed? Not you…. you are always so together!” That statement did not come my way. Instead it was more like… “Of course we will support you. Glad you are getting help” and “Thanks for sharing.”
So please, my fellow human who struggles with difficult thoughts and cravings to escape - do not go another day thinking you are hiding your dirty little secrets. It is always better to share. You will discover your issues are nothing to be ashamed of and that there is a world of support waiting for you.
There is a secret involved with this blog however - and here it is: It is not the people you expect to help you who will be the ones who help you most. You will be surprised by the miracles that happen when you open up. For me it was the people who gave me “likes” on facebook, with a little message of hope. It was the neighbour who dropped off a newspaper article at my house with a note of encouragement. It was the text that said, “Me too! I read your article and it helped me!” It was the people who started saying hi to me on the street or in the grocery store who never did before - but since speaking up they felt connected and welcomed me in with a smile.
Now, I’m not saying you need to become the poster-person for addiction or depression and start blogging and writing about every little detail (that’s my jam :) but I am saying you will not regret talking with people - a number of different people, with different perspectives, about your problems. It is not a burden to others when you make yourself vulnerable; it is an opportunity to connect and share gifts. It is not likely the person you open up to will have a toolbox of mindfulness techniques to teach you but they may intuitively know how to hold space for you and listen.
If you don’t know where to start, start here. Send me a message and I will write you back. You will be heard.
Much love friends,