How Can Families Discuss Mental Health Openly?

Can you imagine if a loved one developed a physical illness, and rather than address it when the symptoms first emerged, nobody talked about it?

Can you imagine a physical illness was only discussed when the symptoms got so bad–that was the moment people tried to fix it?

Unfortunately, this happens all too often with mental health.

Normal Isn’t Normal

There’s this silly notion that “normal” exists. It’s defined as a place where nothing’s ever wrong with you. You’re able to glide through life handling all your responsibilities and challenges, no sweat.

When it comes to our inner way of functioning, most strive to be this type of “normal.”

Unfortunately, people suffer so much in an ill-fated attempt to appear “normal.” They ignore their feelings. They may have an uncomfortable thought, and freak out – bury it deep and think there’s something wrong with them, I must be such a bad awful evil person to think that…

Here’s the reality: normal is going through ups and downs. It’s normal after a traumatic incident to have PTSD. It’s normal for mental health to suffer if you’re not getting your needs met, or aren’t taking proper care of yourself.

But… there is a way to get closer to that coveted state, the normal we’re all striving for. And… are you ready for it? It involves discussing mental health, openly.

You Are Not How You Feel

As a feeler of feelings, it’s as easy to identify as the feeling you feel… say that ten times fast!

Those who suffer from anxiety or depression can quickly get swallowed by the dark stain of that emotion, and feel powerless as it bleeds into other areas of their life.

With something so big and powerful it’s easy to forget: You may be experiencing depression, but you are still you. You are not depression, just as a person with cancer is not cancer.

Through learning to separate the self from the feeling, it becomes easier to discuss them openly. There’s less shame. Understanding the transient nature of feelings – realizing they come and go and allowing those feelings to be there without labeling them as “bad,” or trying to resist or deny them – can make them less scary and overwhelming.

Encourage each other to share how you feel. Understand that sometimes sadness, worry, overwhelm – there’s a place for those feelings. Encourage each other to share how you feel. Understand that sometimes sadness, worry, overwhelm – there’s a place for those feelings.

It’s okay to talk about it.

It can be tempting to jump straight to the positive or trying to shame yourself out of feeling a certain way. However, avoiding these “negative” feelings damages the relationship to self. By doing this over a period of time, people lose their connection to themselves and ultimately stop trusting themselves.

How to Discuss Mental Health Openly

Some emotions are pleasant, some are awful. Yet, the awful one’s aren’t “bad.” They are part of the whole human experience. By encouraging your family to be more open about how they feel – the good and the bad – it becomes easier to connect with each other, the relationship to one another deepens.

Family therapy is an excellent way to open up the discussion around mental health.  When people are connected to their own emotional well-being, it becomes easier for them to share what’s going on. If they feel like something is becoming too overwhelming, they can recognize it earlier and seek help.

This is especially important for those with kids. Teaching them to remain in tune with their feelings and share their internal experience can alert you to any signs they may be struggling or could benefit from some professional support.

Family therapy is an excellent way to open up the discussion around mental health. We offer individual and family counseling in Roseville and Fair Oaks – two convenient Northern California locations.

Remember, taking care of ourselves and each other is a profound act of love. Call us anytime – we’re here whenever you need us.

Therapy in Roseville, CA, Fair Oaks, CA, or Online in California:

If you are ready to change your life for the better, we can help. To begin therapy at our Sacramento area locations or online, follow these steps:

Services Offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:

Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include, anxiety treatment, therapy for children,  teen therapy, depression treatment, and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.