The Embarrassment Tends To Go Away When You Realize You’re Helping Someone

Recently, someone semi-close to me was in a mental health crisis. Something happened that apparently triggered a lot of terrible thoughts and feelings that he had on and off since childhood. I, along with others close to him, spent a week or so trying to help him through this difficult time. Long story short, he was at a loss and felt like he needed some real help before he hurt himself. He felt like he needed to be in an inpatient psychiatric facility, had a lot of fears and questions about it. I could tell he knew that was the right thing for him. I went back and forth in my mind a lot about sharing my own mental health crisis story with him.

It was my duty to share

In some ways, I wanted to keep it to myself since talking about it only reminded me of a terrible time in my life. I was also embarrassed. But in other ways, I felt as though it was my duty to share what I went through with him in order to make him feel less alone. After all, I try to tailor my advocacy towards those who are suffering by letting them know they are not alone. I always try to share vulnerable stories or feelings with you all because I know how difficult and isolating they can be. I try to preach how we need to get rid of stigmas associated with not only IBD but with mental health as well. Yet, when the time came for me to share something with a person in my life who was really struggling, I still had reservations about opening up.

But I did. Not in enormous detail but just enough to let this person know that we all go through hard times and there is no shame in it.

Sharing eliminates the stigma

After I told him that years ago, I voluntarily checked myself into a psychiatric hospital, he asked me a lot of questions. Nothing that was prying, but more of a “what to expect” kind of thing. He then felt comfortable with me calling a place anonymously to ask questions for him. I offered once before, but after I shared this with him, he was actually open to me helping him navigate his situation a little more. We seemed to be able to talk more honestly because the stigma was gone.

When he would make a statement, I would try to respond with “Oh I can understand that. It must make you feel X, Y, Z” and with that, I would get an emphatic “YES! That’s exactly it!”

I could tell it was comforting for him to know there was someone else who understood him and who didn’t judge him for feeling the way he did. So while it was a difficult decision for me to open up about my own experiences, keeping it a secret would have only perpetuated the stigma surrounding mental health issues. After all, if this person was going through something with IBD, I wouldn’t even hesitate to share whatever he wanted to know. Why should mental health issues be any different?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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