When it comes to mental illness, one of the most effective ways to understand it is through conversation. I often say that unless you’re chatting with someone who has dealt with mental illness themselves, it’s difficult to convey what exactly it entails.
Talking to someone about a mental illness you’ve both experienced can be one of the most healing processes you will ever encounter. By choosing to open yourself up to someone who has dealt with the same demons, you encourage them to do the same, creating a vulnerable yet trustworthy atmosphere in the process. Hearing someone else’s perspective towards a condition you’ve dealt with yourself can be enlightening in the sense that you may be able to consider your own experiences in an alternate context.
And while chatting with someone who knows what it’s like to deal with a mental illness is a tremendous way to find clarity and healing, it’s also important to educate those who are unfamiliar with it. It may be challenging to attempt to explain a form of mental illness to someone who fails to comprehend it, but education is key when it comes to abolishing the stigma that clouds the topic of mental health.
I’m not at all attempting to suggest that mental illness is water cooler talk. But, it is worthy of conversation, and the more we normalize talking about it, the less uncomfortable it will become. It will arguably be challenging at times, but from my own experience in talking about it with others, the pros outweighs the cons tenfold.
Mental illness isn’t something that should remain on the back burner when it comes to conversation. It demands recognition and acknowledgement. After all, if we’re unwilling to talk about mental illness, how can we expect those who have never dealt with it to understand it?