When I returned to work after being diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I started to share my mental health story.
It was a big step, and these considerations from Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, resonate with my thought process before I first shared my story.
❓Consideration #1: Why am I sharing this?
It's essential to understand your reasons for sharing. When I decided to be open, it was because I believed that, as a senior leader, I could help to break mental health stigma by being open about my experience rather than hiding it. I realised this could be a positive outcome from my challenges.
🎯 Consideration #2: What outcome am I hoping for?
I struggled in silence for years without recognising my depression. My hope through sharing was that other people would feel less alone in their struggles. I hoped they would see that recovery and thriving are possible and that there is no weakness or shame in needing help.
🧠 Consideration #3: What emotions am I feeling?
This is an important question. When considering being open, there were two things that I thought about.
- where am I in my recovery? Am I in a good place, or will I be sharing open wounds?
- how do I feel about sharing? I was afraid, and it was important to acknowledge this, but I felt positive that I would make a positive difference.
Being vulnerable and sharing a mental health story is not easy. It's not necessary that everyone shares their story, and certainly not every aspect of that story. These guidelines are a good starting point to decide whether to share and how.