It’s not always good to talk

Few of us might wonder about the need to break the silence around mental illness. Countless campaigns have been raised in us that this silence is harmful and that we should try to break it wherever we find it.

Britain speaks It is one of these campaigns. It was launched with the advent of Britain’s Got Talent a few years ago when hosts Ant and Dec paused the show for a minute to allow viewers to talk to each other about their mental health. When the minute was up, You said, “Look, it wasn’t hard, was it?”

Undoubtedly, campaigns like these have helped many people open up about their mental health issues, especially those who have been kept silent due to prejudice and stigma.

However, they can also feed misconceptions about silence in mental illness. They point out that silence in and around mental illness is always bad, rooted in fear and stigma, and any effort to break that is good.

Indeed, silence comes in the case of mental illness Many forms.

Some types of silence are part of mood disorders such as depression. People who have written about their experiences with depression often describe losing their ability to form thoughts and feeling unable to speak.

For example, the author Andrew Solomon recalls He “couldn’t say much”. Elaborating, he writes, “Words, with which I had always been intimate, suddenly seemed so complex, difficult metaphors that the use of them required far more energy than I could muster.”

This aspect of depression is well known in the field of mental health care. Thinking and speaking less are actually two different symptoms of depression. Some Research He even notes that silence is such a reliable symptom that it may be possible to develop automated tools to diagnose depression based on a person’s speech patterns.

Launching Britain’s Get Talking programme.

If you suffer from this type of “depressed silence,” confronting campaigners and people urging you to speak up may not help you, no matter how well-intentioned they may be. After all, the problem isn’t that other people aren’t open to what you have to say or that they might react poorly to it. is that you have nothing to say.

Other types of silence may be a source of strength. Some people with mental illness defiantly shut up because people around them ask unwelcome questions or give them unhelpful input. They may choose wisely to save difficult conversations for their therapist.

Such a choice is not necessarily rooted in stigma. Just because someone means well and knows a few facts about mental health doesn’t mean they’re the right person to talk to about mental illness.

Silence in mental illness can also be good. While some people struggle with thinking and speaking, others struggle with thinking and speaking too much.

This may, for example, be the case for someone with bipolar disorder, who experiences episodes of depression in addition to mania, which often include racing thoughts and a compulsion to speak. For such people, moments of peaceful silence can be a difficult feat, and sometimes they pay a tragically high price.

We rarely hear about these other aspects of silence in mental illness. But therapists have recognized the role of silence in supporting mental health, at least since Donald Winnicott published his seminal paper. The ability to be alone. Silence in some form is an essential component of meditation studies Showed that it can prevent the recurrence of depression.

appropriate conditions

Perhaps the silence I described should be broken under the right circumstances. Since depressed silence seems to form part of the depressive illness, it may be something the patient must break with the help of a mental healthcare professional as part of their recovery. In the same vein, someone may benefit from breaking their peaceful silence in therapy, even if the silence feels good.

For whatever reason, not many people will find these conditions with their family, friends or colleagues, despite the encouragement of a celebrity on TV. The truth is that it is very difficult to talk about mental health issues, even with people who love and support us. Sometimes it’s because of the stigma, but sometimes it’s not.

We must, of course, continue to strive to make it easier for people to open up about their mental health issues in the right place. But we need to get rid of the rhetoric that pressures people to break their silence regardless of why they are silent or whether speaking up will benefit them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *