I think this is important to understand because so often we assume that someone with negative thoughts or doubts about themselves and the people around them just needs to be shown some contradictory information and they’ll move away from it. For many of us, that is true. I can say “I’m bad at this”, or distrust people but if someone were to offer some contradictory facts I might be swayed fro that thinking.
When I was dealing with major depression? There was never enough contradictory evidence that would cause me to rethink my feelings, they were too powerful and they were too much a part of me.
Mental health issues can strike anyone, anywhere. We wouldn’t see the numbers of people dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. if mental health issues were only a result of group identity. They aren’t. People you know are included in those numbers, whether they’ve told you or not. While that fact should remind us that mental…
We all have the ability to create these moments of connection. Unfortunately, too many of us choose not to. That is to our own detriment as well as the other people we could impact.
They can’t go down to the local community college and sign up for a class where they can practice explaining all of the complexities of their mental health in simple terms. They’re experimenting with what works, what is comfortable, what is confusing, etc. Give them some space to do that and know that when they are still at this uncomfortable level they trust you to be someone they want to talk to.
Don’t ruin it for them by being dismissive or not listening. They need you to listen and they need practice in telling their stories. Be the same place for that.