The Impact of Open and Clear Communication by Jess McCaul

The Impact of Open and Clear Communication

by See Change Ambassador, Jess McCaul

 

How many times have you found yourself on the receiving end of the Hey! How are you?’ Irish special, and responded without hesitation good, thanks how are you?, when maybe you werent so good. Maybe you needed to say you know what? Im not okay today I could use a chat, things havent been so great.’ But you didnt want to be a burden or a Debby downer or any of the other numerous negative thoughts that pop through your head telling you to just say I’m good, because that’s what people want to hear right? They dont want to know about how bad youre feeling or why you found it so difficult to get out of bed this morning. They have their own problems. Their own lives. They dont want to know. There are so many excuses we come up with. All of which tends to be a little low expecting of our peers if we truly stopped to think about it. 

 

Humans are social beings; we are wired for connection. We thrive off of it, we crave company and conversation and to be around others. Yet struggling with our mental health can strip us of all that. We can become isolated and lonely whilst were fighting that inner war in our head. Keeping it to ourselves because we dont want to upset anyone or worry them. Wondering how honest is too honest to be when someone asks you how youre doing. A question which seems so innocent and easy but can sometimes be all consuming for someone really struggling with their mental health. 

 

As a society, we have come so far in our attitude towards mental health. The public conversation around depression and anxiety has never been louder. But as individual people, we need to start bypassing our thoughts and beliefs when it comes to talking about our mental health and have these harder’ conversations on a personal level. We need to stop and say what we truly want to say. But why is it so important anyway? 

 

It is so unbelievably important because there is power in sharing how you feel, and it helps challenge that stigma around mental illness. We need to start having these more honest, and let’s be real, sometimes tougher conversations. We owe it to ourselves and each other to show our vulnerability, that everything is not always rosy. To quote Meredith Grey Not everybody has to be happy all the time. That’s not mental health. That’s crap. Mental illness or not, nobody is 100% all the time. And there is no reason to keep pretending we are. Im sorry to say, the secret is out. We all have days where we feel bad, with or without reason. It happens. 

 

For me, Ive found that because Ive become so open about my mental health, that it gives confidence to those around me to talk about how theyre feeling. We dont shy away from the tough’ conversation. But Im very fortunate, I know not every circle is like that. Although it could be. Just small changes here and there like texting a friend and saying I’m not feeling too great, you free for a chat?, can make such a difference. And make you feel less alone. I know for me it does. 

 

The important thing? That we start talking about it. All it takes is one person to start a conversation. To be honest. There is power in that vulnerability and it can inspire those around you. There is nothing wrong with talking about mental illness, all it takes is one person to turn the conversation around. 

 

 

 


If you are having a tough time at the moment and need to reach out for support, please contact any of the following

Shine: phil@shine.ie

 

Samaritans: 116123

 

Pieta House: 1800 247 247

 

YourMentalHealth.ie: 1800 742 444

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