An important aspect of mental health is how our illness is perceived by others and the people we go to for support. It is very important for anyone dealing with a mental condition which is stigmatized to develop connections with those who can be trusted and who are non-judgmental. Confiding in the wrong person may result in unsupportive criticism and further escalate the problems.
I know that in my own experiences when I am most depressed I end up venting repeatedly about being single, about my financial problems and about not knowing what I want out of life. Some of the people I have turned to in the past would listen with an open mind, while others got tired of hearing about it and felt all I do is complain about myself and don’t do anything to fix my problems. Hearing criticism like this does more harm than good and just adds guilt on top of everything else. Furthermore, if someone is in a very dark place and they confide in the wrong person, the information they share could potentially be used against them. I have had the unfortunate experience of sharing sensitive information with others who used it against me when our relationship was not at its best. This was incredibly hurtful and caused me to feel ashamed of some of my decisions.
For this reason it is very important for anyone feeling upset or defeated, to not necessarily turn to the first person they encounter for support, but rather confide in someone you know will be sympathetic and understanding to your situation. Mental health issues are cyclical and regardless of how important the issues are we are discussing, they may sound tedious to some individuals, so the people we do open up to should be both patient and sympathetic.
Since moving to Toronto I have made many new connections, some of which are stronger than others, but overall I feel the people I am closest to are caring and non-judgmental. I am very open about my blog with my friends and am comfortable discussing everything I write on here with them. Having a strong support system is vitally important for mental health and I think as people with mental illness grow and better understand their conditions, they will learn to become better judges of character and know who to turn to when the times get tough.
About Mark Rob
Mark Fraser is a 30 year old man who has lived with depression, anxiety and obsessive thought for much of his adult life. Since coming out as gay in high school he's had difficulty relating to others in his community and has experienced self-doubt and a pensive outlook for his future. Mark moved to Toronto in 2012 and has become involved in Second City Improvisation classes as well as personal training in order to maintain his physical and mental health. He has expressed interest in blogging with Healthy Minds as a means of reaching out to others who feel isolated and as a way to express himself in a positive space. You can connect with Mark on Twitter or Facebook.