Mental Illness: It Matters If You Tell! |Trauma and Anxiety

February 3, 2011 Kate White

"It'll go away, it just needs time, then I won't have to worry anymore...

It wasn't a big deal, or if it was it doesn't matter now. It's over. I'm fine, and I have all these anxiety coping skills. What's there to talk about anyway?"

I can't count the number of times I've thought that way about my mental health.

The message of silence is one that trauma survivors, and those with mental illness receive loud and clear, from society and often very directly from those closest to them. Most internalize it so deeply that it's years before they realize it isn't their voice. That it never was. That it doesn't have to be.

Coping with mental illness, PTSD and anxiety disorders

Ensuring a person with mental illness feels sufficiently complicit in their disease that their silence is virtually guaranteed is about the most effective way of ensuring nobody else has to deal with any of it that I can possibly think of.

Worst of all, in my opinion, when it's trauma we're talking about. As if the trauma itself wasn't enough now everywhere I look there's this message that the best thing I can do is bury my head in the sand and pretend this profoundly life altering experience never really happened in the first place?!

Trauma: It's important to tell

Because it's your story. Because in all the messages to shut up, stay quiet, don't bother, I've never once heard the true voice of a whole and emotionally healthy person speaking.

Life only has meaning when we are able to process it sufficient that it becomes part of our story, a piece that fits into the puzzle of our lives.

When we are able to speak of the difficulties in our lives, they stop simply being problems and start to become ways to know ourselves - Something that tells us something about who we are, about what life is, and something we don't have to be so terribly afraid and anxious about anymore.

Mental illness: it isn't just my problem

The way traumatic experience, in fact the way mental illness in general, is treated says a lot about each of us, and about the society we live in.

Sometimes people will tell me how they just brushed it off, all the anxiety and stress. Got on with it. I can only think about the pain underlying that statement. If you're just getting on with things, that isn't life. Yeah, sure, you dealt with it by not dealing with it. And that's achievement? Er, well done?

You can't brush off an anxiety disorder

You can brush off spilling your coffee at a presentation but brushing off an anxiety disorder it's, well it's such a closing off of experience. It must be hard, and I think it can make you hard, inside.

I tell my story because I don't want to get to a place like that; I don't want to wake up in 5 or 10 years and think, if only I'd dealt with that. If only I'd just told someone!

Yes, it's hard but it's not impossible. And it helps. OH, it's such a relief, to finally jump off that cliff and say it was what it was. This happened, maybe it's still happening. I don't know why. It hurts every day, and it changed things and I don't understand, not yet. But I'm willing to try.

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APA Reference
White, K. (2011, February 3). Mental Illness: It Matters If You Tell! |Trauma and Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 15 from

Author: Kate White

Dr Musli Ferati
February, 17 2011 at 6:58 am

You Ms. White has right when you told that every person with mental disorders unconcscientious feeling a guilty to sicken. In order to medicate the psychic illness this fact should be considered seriously. On the other side the nature of mental difficulty depends on sociocultural features and the structure of personality of sickness person. For the first ones, traumatic experiences are determinant factors. It is normally to react to provocative events, but recurrent and burdensome daily exhaustion damage our psychic integrity. Thus, it began step by step the psychopatologic process of mental disorders, directly to be conditioned of individual characteristic. An alleviation of spiritual suffering is to practice to share the same embarrassement to someone. This suggestion is stressing prodigiously in the above article.

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