A few words on carrying problems around in your head, feeling like you can’t share them, and the weight of not sharing things.

Hello and welcome to Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters. It’s a little spot on the site we reserve every Wednesday, to chat about things that may be affecting us, and to just have a chat about things. No miracle cures, and not every piece will be of use to most people. But hopefully over the series of articles we’ve run, they’ll be something that’s helpful to you.

This week’s natter is a pretty simple one. Perhaps on the surface a very obvious one. Yet it’s also something that’s prevalent, and something I’m certainly guilty of, and suspect many others are as well. The bottling up of stuff instead of actually addressing it.

Appreciating we live in a world where some people like and enjoy confrontation – and some give the impression that they thrive on it – I’d still suggest that the majority of us prefer something a bit more polite and less direct than having it out with someone. That way, feelings come away a little less hurt, and there’s a little less on the line. What this sometimes leads to though is things swinging back too far in the other direction. To a situation where many of us decide it’s not worth voicing something, because it’s just easier that way.

All sorts of reasons for this, of course. For me, I still get quite a lot of inferiority complex for a start, and my default position too often is that I’m wrong and that the person I’m talking to knows a lot more about the subject in hand than I do. It got to a point where in a previous job, my manager had to take me aside and have a quiet word about it. I was ceding discussions and points simply because I assumed I wasn’t good or clever enough.

That’s not easy to stop doing, and I’ve never fully managed to put the brakes on myself there. I think as we get older things naturally change and evolve, but even so. I’ve been doing what I do for a long time now, and I’m still guilty of bottling things up or assuming I’m the problem.

I’ve also come into contact with some people over the last few weeks who have been doing this to the point of making themselves really quite ill though. That it took a simple conversation in the end to release some of the fears and stresses they’d kept to themselves. In part, that was on me: I need to make sure that people who work with me feel they can be open, without having their heads chopped off. But also, the bottling things up didn’t help anybody, least of all the person doing it. This piece is inspired by those brilliant people who I won’t name.

As with most chats in this section, much of this is easier to write down than do. Yet I’d still suggest that oftentimes, the fear of opening up and saying something is worse than either the actual, or the mental health impact of not doing so. If you struggle with face to face, write a message, let someone close to you know you’re struggling.

Please as best you can try not to battle difficult times alone. Confide in someone, talk to someone, and find some way just to not have to carry everything by yourself. Just let at least some of what’s bringing you down out a little.

It’s a tough old world at times (said with no understatement), and this one’s a tough problem to turn around too. It is, however tricky it might seem, do-able in most cases though. And we wish you the very, very best, and hope things improve for you.

Take care. We’ll be back next week.

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