TJ raises an interesting point about talking to our friends about our mental health struggles. It’s not just about stigma, sometimes, it simply doesn’t fit into the “fun” relationship we’ve always had with them.
“I understand that some won’t understand this. After all, if you’re friends with someone, you should be comfortable sharing anything and everything with them. I do get that. But that’s never how I’ve seen things. I want my interactions with friends to be fun, and by its very nature, it’s difficult to make any discussion concerning mental health “fun.””
I do understand this. I don’t make a habit of talking about my mental health when I get to spend time with friends, even though many of them read this blog and know about my history. Mostly, that’s because we’ve bonded for years over other things like work, shared interests, music, etc. Talking about mental health just hasn’t been what we’ve done in the past when we’re together and it’s comfortable to simply slide right back into those same roles when we are together.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Talking about mental health doesn’t have to occur each and every time we communicate with friends. We all get to have fun nights out without having that deep of a conversation. But, talking about it some of the time lets everyone in the group know that, when they need it, they can talk about it.
I fear that sliding back into those comfortable roles and never talking about it makes it too easy to communicate the opposite when we never mean to. Why not at least mention it occasionally to send the message that it’s normal and safe?