How to Stop Suffering in Silence

Four Methods:Breaking the BarriersGetting HelpReducing StigmaFinding Your Voice

Many men and women in the world today are suffering in silence with mental illnesses. They live secret lives marked by depression, anxiety, ADHD, social phobias, bipolar disorder and other debilitating psychiatric conditions.

Other individuals do not suffer from psychiatric disorders, but struggle with making their thoughts and opinions known. They may bend to others because they have not yet found their voices to stand up for themselves and live life on their own terms. If either of these situation sounds like you, learn to speak up about your suffering - finding your voice is the only way to truly heal.

Method 1
Breaking the Barriers

  1. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 1
    Remember that you are not alone. Whether you are suffering from anything from post-traumatic stress disorder to depression, you are not the only one. Though, at night, when you worry or cry yourself to sleep it feels like you are the only soul that feels this way, it's not true. Millions of people have gone through what you have, and many of them channeled the courage to get help.
    • One in 4 adults will suffer from a mental illness in a given year. One in 17 among them are suffering from more serious conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.[1]
    • Oftentimes, mental illness is under diagnosed because of people like you suffering in silence. It may not seem like those around you are suffering, but, there's a 1 in 4 chance of someone else you know having a mental illness, too.
  2. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 2
    Believe that you can get better. You might have the belief that this dark cloud will never disappear from over your head, but it can. Mental illness can arise from a variety of reasons - genetic, biological, environmental, etc. Most cannot be completely cured, per se.[2] However, when you seek treatment early on, the chance of recovery is higher.
    • Despite what many believe, mental illnesses including depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD have research-backed, effective treatment approaches that allow sufferers to some day lead promising lives.[3]
  3. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 3
    Refrain from seeing yourself as weak. One common misconception of people who suffer in silence with psychiatric disorders is the belief that they are weak. "If I cannot handle my own mind, I am weak". This is not true, and persisting in this belief can actually worsen your suffering over time.[4]
    • Mental illness is a treatable condition much like hypertension or diabetes. If you had to go to a doctor for either of these conditions, you probably would not call yourself weak-willed or weak-minded. In the same way, mental health conditions do not translate to weakness.
    • In reality, a person who accepts her inability to cope with life circumstances, and, as a result, turns to a professional for help, is actually strong.
  4. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 4
    Release your need to be in control. You think to yourself that all you have to do is keep it together. Stay busy. Put one foot in front of the other. Ignore my symptoms. Act like nothing is wrong. This endless desire to stay in control is built out of fear that if you stop and really notice your suffering, you might lose your mind. Ask yourself these questions to help you surrender control:[5]
    • What are you afraid of about your mental illness?
    • What do you think will happen if you give up control?
    • Is there a possibility that letting go and getting help could free you?

Method 2
Getting Help

  1. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 5
    Do a cursory search about your illness. One of the major barriers to your getting help for a mental illness is often misinformation. By counting only on our own self-criticisms and the nonchalance of others who are insensitive to mental health suffering, our struggle worsens. Educating yourself about your symptoms or the disorder you are struggling with is the first step towards overcoming self-stigma and others' stigma.[6]
    • Perform a cursory online search of your symptoms or disorder to gain a better understanding of it. Be sure to stick to credible mental health sites, such as the National Institute of Mental Health, PsychCentral, or the American Psychiatric Association.[7][8][9]
  2. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 6
    Join an online support group. Another method you can use to build up your confidence to get help and reduce stigma is logging on to a support group. These groups allow you to hear the personal stories of others who are struggling with similar issues. You might learn helpful information, such as natural remedies to alleviate certain symptoms, practical coping strategies, and get suggestions for effective treatment approaches in these forums.[10][11]
    • Be warned that, once you do see a mental health provider, you should discuss any natural treatment regimens with him before starting. Never try to treat yourself for a mental illness, because, even if someone has the exact same disorder as you, the way others experience that illness may vary slightly from your own experience. Always allow a doctor or therapist to fully evaluate you in order to know which treatment approaches are right for you.
  3. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 7
    See a doctor. Most people begin with their general practitioners when it comes to finally gathering the courage to get help. Simply mentioning any symptoms or concerns you have should be an effective way to initiate a candid discussion with your doctor.[12]
    • Keep in mind, however, that while your family doctor may be able to offer some preliminary suggestions or even write a prescription, it's probably best to ask for a referral to see a mental health specialist.[13] These professionals have specialized experience in treating mental illness, and can offer you the best chance at recovery.

Method 3
Reducing Stigma

  1. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 8
    Stop perpetuating stigmas. Mental health stigma remains the number one reason many people do not get the treatment they need. Worrying that you will be viewed or treated negatively by family, friends, or society actually keeps you from getting better. Feeling shame about your illness or isolating yourself because of it perpetuates stigma. The only way to overcome this stigma is to build your knowledge and self-confidence about your illness by getting treatment.[14]
    • Research shows that when people see effective outcomes for mental illnesses and know people who have been successfully treated, they are less likely to stigmatize or discriminate.[15]
    • Another way to reduce stigma is to stop associating yourself with the disorder. Instead of saying "I'm ADHD", you should say "I have ADHD".[16]
  2. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 9
    Confide in a friend.[17] This step is optional, although it is highly recommended. Facing mental illness in isolation is a lonely ordeal. Breaking the barriers and getting help means that you should no longer suffer in silence. Reach out for support. Try to find someone in your life who usually supports you without judgment and share some details of what you're going through.
    • Remember that talking to others about mental illness is a great way to reduce stigma and misinformation.[18] Involving others in your life might also help going to the doctor become less frightening.
  3. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 10
    Be an advocate. After you have become more accepting of your condition, another way to overcome your own tendency to suffer in silence is to speak out and influence others to get help, too. Research either a regional advocacy group or a national group (or both) and figure out how you can get involved.[19][20]
    • Spreading awareness and educating others about mental illness can help fight stigma and discrimination that may be keeping another suffering in silence.[21]

Method 4
Finding Your Voice

  1. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 11
    Admit the issue. When it comes to living a satisfying life, silence about what you want is the enemy. In order to find your voice and stop suffering in silence, you must acknowledge that you are not using your voice. Awareness of the problem is the first step towards changing it. Here are some signs that you may not be using your voice:
    • You often get stuck with work no one else wants to do.
    • Other people get credit for your work or ideas.
    • You often do things because others want to, but not for yourself.
    • You feel dissatisfied because you are not living life on your own terms.
  2. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 12
    Identify your values.[22] Your personal values are the beliefs, ideas, and principles that guide your decisions. Think of your values like a road map--they direct us down the life path that we want to be on. If you often feel like you are suffering in silence, you may be living against your personal values.
    • If your personal values are unclear, you can learn to identify your values by completing an inventory.[23][24]
  3. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 13
    Learn assertive communication. Assertiveness gives you the opportunity to be more open, honest, and direct in your communication. This will allow others to recognize your needs and so that you can feel as if your voice is being heard. Practicing assertiveness can help you overcome suffering in silence and boost self-confidence.[25]
  4. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 14
    Use your body language to express your needs. When you are talking to another person, turn towards him. Stand with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Have a pleasant, but firm, facial expression. Speak with a calm and soft voice, but be sure it is not overly quiet or whiney.[26]
  5. Image titled Stop Suffering in Silence Step 15
    Take ownership of your wants and needs. Phrase your words in the form of "I" statements. This involves stating needs in a way that allows you to take ownership of them while minimizing defensiveness of others.[27]
    • For example, instead of saying "You never listen to me!", you could say "I would appreciate it if you would allow me to finish talking before you interrupt or change the subject."

Sources and Citations

Show more... (24)

Article Info

Categories: Managing Negative Feelings