Communicating what’s going on with you
When things feel really hard, it can be difficult to put into words what we want and need. Start slowly to find ways of sharing what and how you feel. Think about various ways in which you could communicate - speaking, therapy, writing letters or emails, messaging, art - whichever form helps you communicate.
Getting involved with others to gain support has been scientifically proven to counteract the effects of stress. Support networks are vital for recognizing the signs and symptoms that someone is struggling and can really help during hard times.
There are a couple of things you might want to pay attention to before you disclose your mental health difficulties to someone. No matter the outcome, remember that speaking up about your abuse was a brave and difficult decision.
- Choosing who to talk to: Think of individuals who support and give you space to make decisions for yourself. You want the person to be reliable and trustworthy to create a safe space for yourself.
- Being clear on what you expect of the person: Do you need someone to just listen and be by your side or do you wish for practical advice or help? Understanding your own expectations will make it easier for you to communicate with your trusted person.
- How to communicate: You may be used to texting and calling friends to discuss anything, but when it is something as sensitive as mental health, do what feels right to you. If you have built trust with someone, you can talk to them via text or call but if you’re not sure, a face to face conversation at the beginning might be better. You can select a time where you can speak privately and without interruption. Remember that it is up to you to share what you are comfortable talking about. A face to face conversation might also ensure that it is a safe space and your information is kept confidential. The individual cannot share your conversation through a screen shot or otherwise without your consent.
- Create a self-care plan and show it to your friends so they can check in with you on how you are doing. An example of this is a self-care plan in getting better.
- You might want to think about going to therapy (either private or group) if it’s possible. It can be helpful to talk to others who have similar experiences, including those who are a bit further on in their journey.
Disclaimer: This guide has not been put together by mental health professionals. It is not intended to be medical advice. It has been crowdsourced by survivors and volunteers of Chayn. Care has been taken in reflecting the experiences and knowledge of people around the world, including therapists but information in this guide should be taken instead of certified medical advice. Please seek professional support.
Getting better & moving on: A guide for mental healing after abuse and trauma by CHAYN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.