By Johnathan Jena
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” -Sigmund Freud
When faced with a potential struggle that we identify, it is often our base instinct to protect ourselves.
We live in a society today in which despite the knowledge having gained in understanding psychosis, we as a general public still foster an environment in which acceptance takes a backseat to fear and repression.
As a result, we often choose to hide the things in ourselves that we feel will hurt others, even if that very weight is consuming us.
According to a study by the Australian Government Mental Health Commission, “three in every four people with a mental illness felt that they are labeled by their illness and are seen as part of a stereotyped group, where negative attitudes create prejudice that can lead to negative actions and discrimination against them.”
When we hold such a piece of ourselves inside out of fear of stigmatization from others, we are not only being dishonest to ourselves, but cradling the very seed which will grow as a cancer of shame and insecurity within us.
Despite the tendency to hide our innermost secrets, there are things which can ease the decision to open up about trauma:
First, begin talking with close, trusted friends: In whatever you say, even if you are not comfortable with sharing every detail, make what you choose to say and authentic to your experience. When dealing with these issues, watering down your struggles will only stop those who can help you from understanding the extent of your ache.
Secondly, the expectation of fear is always worse than fear itself:
So often, we assume the worst and dwell on the “what-if’s” when faced with adversity, allowing it to paralyze us, instead of focusing on the possibility of good resulting from it.
Lastly, remember that you are not alone in what you go through: It can be hard for people to be honest to others when dealing with intimate topics, as they feel they are weak for needing help.
It is important to remember that no one person can handle everything on their own and asking for help is not a sign of weakness, as much as it is a signal that you believe in yourself enough to feel deserving of improvement.
For those who know or are supporting someone with these kinds of struggles, it is important to create an environment where they are not seen as monsters or lesser beings for expressing their inner darkness.
This is because that every expression of darkness during such trying times shows you that they are actively fighting for themselves, which is something worth celebrating.
Additionally, to those in social settings (regardless of your experience with stress or mental trauma), it is essential to remember that clarity and understanding of each other’s battles comes not through stamping out the ignorance of others, but through cultivating acceptance with ourselves.
By accepting to acknowledge rather than to accuse, to support the hurting rather than stigmatizing them, we can remember that darkness and adversity do not make someone worthy of fear and isolation, but worthy of even greater acceptance and honesty.
It can be hard to break the surface of repression on both ends, because it is often difficult to admit to our weaknesses.
However, when honesty can eventually prevail over the fear of feeling different, we can find when faced with struggles that is perfectly okay because we grow and support each other as equals.