Talking to someone about how you are feeling can be hard. Opening up and expressing how you feel can leave you feeling vulnerable. Sometimes it can be hard to find the words. On top of this, many women worry about what others may think about them as a person and/or mother. But the truth is that one way or another everyone has their struggles and admitting to yours only makes you human.
When it comes to talking to a health professional, remember that whilst this may be a big step and something new for you, and whilst you may feel like the only one who has experienced these emotions, your health professional sees people with all sorts of emotions every single day. This is what they trained for years to do and it is why they are there.
In going to see them, they are likely to ask you why you are there. You can start with explaining what prompted you to come – it may be by describing specific symptoms, telling them of thoughts you are having, or what you are finding difficult right now in your life. Or you can just explain that you want to thrive during this stage of your life and feel like you’re not doing so right now.
Your health professional will likely ask you specific questions to try and understand your situation further and assess what is wrong. Be honest. Remember, your mental health professional cannot rely on blood tests or scans to help you – he or she can only rely on what you tell them in order to assess what’s wrong and provide you with help.
Once you start to open up, you may be surprised by how helpful it can be to verbalise how you are feeling to an objective, neutral and non-judgmental person who is trained at listening. Also, don’t be surprised if you feel like your progress is gradual. It can take time for you to feel better, uncover your strengths and get new skills to use to deal with the challenges that you face.
Finally, it might take more than one attempt to find a health professional who you feel comfortable with, but it is well worth the investment into the most important person there is – YOU!
Whilst the first step can be hard, without taking the first step, things are unlikely to change. Others cannot provide you with the support that you need if they don’t know what’s wrong.
So how do you begin that conversation?
One strategy may be to ask questions such as “Have you ever felt this way? Or have you ever heard about that?” You can even refer to this website and say, the other day I was reading about this…
These are all productive and safe ways to open up the conversation and assess whether you feel comfortable to take the next step by talking about your own experiences and feelings.