Mental health: can we “chat” about everything with anyone?
On this January 25, a certain telecommunications company encourages us to speak openly about mental health so that the subject is no longer taboo. If the cause is just, can we really give ourselves up to anyone? Aren't we saying too much? Métro has looked into the matter.
When you face a mental health issue, talking about it is often essential and sometimes even vital, but you can also fear making yourself vulnerable. To ensure that our confidences cannot be turned against us, we must take into account the interlocutor we have in front of us.
“The first thing to validate, thus underlines psychologist Aglaé Lemarchand, it’s the close bond we have with the person. You also have to ask yourself: does she support me or does she tend to criticize me?”
When I open up about my emotions, is it ever later used against me to illustrate how “unstable” or “unreasonable” I am? In such a case, the relationship does not seem very healthy, notes psychologist Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier; better to abstain. In short, before being able to express our difficulties, “we must feel confident, secure and know that we have enough space to express ourselves and be truly listened to”.
Saying too much?
Whether we talk about our mental health with a loved one or with a casual acquaintance, it is important to set limits. We can very well address our problems without wanting to say everything and without necessarily being comfortable if we find ourselves bombarded with questions.
“If I don't feel comfortable, I can keep it vague by simply saying 'I'm facing more challenges right now' or explaining that I don't feel like discussing this or that aspect of the situation”, illustrates Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier.
“Telling can sometimes be difficult for us and for the person listening to us; we can therefore simply name what happened to us. Going into the smallest details is not useful for our recovery”, adds Aglaé Lemarchand.
As the conversation is a dialogue, the other also has the right to set his limits and they must be respected in order to do not fall into what is called trauma dumpingor the act of “unloading” on another person one's emotions related to a traumatic experience without the other being prepared for it.
To ensure that our confidant has the ability to hear what we have to say, we can simply say “I've been through something difficult, it's a little intense, do I can you talk about it?” suggest the two psychologists. We can also remain attentive to the person's reactions, to their non-verbal, let them react and stop if we feel that they seem to want to end the conversation.
Mental health and work
Finally, can we talk about mental health with our co-workers? Should we share the issues we encounter with our employer? Well yes, it can be relevant in order to better reconcile your work with your difficulties, but there again, nothing obliges us to go into details, underlines Aglaé Lemarchand.
“No need to say everything, but it can be useful to explain that we started psychotherapy to be able, for example, to free ourselves from time slots during the day to go to our consultations,” adds Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier.
If our mental health is affecting our performance at work through symptoms such as fatigue or difficulty concentrating, talking about it can also help with understanding. “In any case, we don't necessarily need to mention the personal reasons behind all this, but explaining how it affects us can really be relevant”, explains the psychologist.
And for As far as colleagues are concerned, “when it's a person you're less close to or with whom you don't want to open up, you can remain vague by only explaining that you're facing challenges”, if you wish .
For assistance, contact:
Info-Social at 811 (or 911 in case of emergency)
Let's Talk Suicide Canada 1 866 277-3553 or 1 866 CALL