How To Talk To Your Support Network About Your Depression
Many people who are in recovery have experienced depression. There are many ups and downs in early recovery. For some people, depression is a mental health disorder that needs to be treated by medications, therapy, or other clinical means.
People in your life may want to help you but not know how. They may expect you to “cheer you up” on-demand or try to get you to be social when you really don’t feel up to it. If you suffer from depression, you probably want to talk about it with your support network.
In recovery, depression can feel especially isolating if you don’t share what you’re going through with others. Yet recovering from depression is important! Doing so with the help of others can be very rewarding.
Sharing About Depression With Others
All conversations must start somewhere, but you may worry about how you can kick off a chat about your mental health. In addition, you may wonder if there’s a right way or a wrong way to approach the conversation.
There’s no wrong way, really, but you can do things to help yourself feel more comfortable.
Getting The Conversation Started
Understand that you aren’t obligated to tell anyone about your depression if you’re not comfortable doing so. That includes family, friends, and 12-step support members. Likewise, you’re allowed to keep some information about your life private if you choose to.
If you feel like certain people in your life won't understand will react poorly, the best thing is to protect yourself and do what you need to help yourself.
When you’re ready to talk about your depression, here are some tips on getting the conversation started:
- Choose a day where you’re feeling decent and feel like having a conversation.
- Decide how much information you plan to disclose. For example, you may want your friend to know that you’re depressed, but you may not be ready to announce what medications you’re taking.
- Start by asking somebody you trust – whether it’s a partner, parent, sponsor, or friend – if they can take some time to talk.
- Make sure you go to a place you feel comfortable having a private conversation. For example, maybe you prefer a living room to a coffeehouse or vice versa.
- Decide what help your support person can provide, if any. For example, your loved one will probably want to help you if you’re experiencing depression. Do you want to be able to call them when you’re experiencing insomnia? Or do you need help finding a therapist that takes your insurance? Letting your loved ones know what, if any, assistance they can provide is important.
- Rehearse the conversation in your head if you’re nervous. You can even write down your talking points in case you forget.
- Don’t debate somebody who believes certain stereotypes or thinks that mental illness “isn’t real”; instead, shut the conversation down and practice self-care.
Mental Health, Depression and Addiction
Mental health disorders like depression are common among people who have experienced addiction. Many people describe substance use as a way to “self-medicate” or “feel normal.” However, when a person gets sober, they may feel the symptoms of depression or more intensely.
In treatment, you also may find you need help coping with depression or another mental health disorder. Again, this is a good thing – getting help for a mental health disorder can help you reclaim your life and feel better in general!
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you love needs help with a substance use disorder, we’re here to guide you. Many of our clients also have co-occurring disorders like depression or generalized anxiety. We can help you get the most out of recovery and make a plan for success. Get in touch!
If you or a loved one is looking for an effective drug rehab in San Diego, call 619-363-4767. One of our caring members is ready to answer all of your questions.