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3 Ways to Show Empathy for Mental Health Struggles

There is so much that you just can’t tell about a person from what you see from the outside looking in. One thing that I’m certain people don’t see about me is that I’ve been on a mental health journey for most of my life.

I’ve never dealt with depression, and, if we were playing the comparison game (which we are surely not going to EVER do here), my mental health struggles wouldn’t be “as serious as some others’,” but, in my world in certain seasons of life, they’ve felt all consuming. In this week’s vlog, which is up now on my channel, I’m giving you a true glimpse into how my brain works as someone who deals with obsessive compulsive disorder.

I remember when my new-ish therapist (shoutout Kristen!) asked me if I had ever received an OCD diagnosis. Even with my background and training in mental health, a diagnosis like that was the furthest thing from my mind. I truly thought what I was experiencing was “just” anxiety until she and I spent some time walking through what high functioning OCD typically looks like.

Navigating life with this new lens has been incredibly helpful. No one could see my struggle and no one can see this relief. As you encounter others, please remember that.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and if my story inspires you in any way, I hope that you are inspired to be kind in your interactions with others this month and beyond. You truly never know what someone has going on mentally.

Here are 3 easy ways you can show empathy to others as it relates to mental health:

  1. Don’t be quick to judge: Sometimes, I don’t say things out loud out of fear of “sounding crazy.” I know I’m not alone in that. Listen to your friends and loved ones without judgement to give them a safe space to share whatever it is they need to share. Having that safe place, where you can share any and everything that’s on your mind, no matter how it may sound, is so helpful.

  2. Educate yourself: Educate yourself about mental health and about how certain struggles may present for different people. If you have a general understanding for what others are facing, you will be more empathetic and considerate as a result.

  3. Respect boundaries: Please understand that just because I am ready to share about my mental health journey doesn’t mean that everyone else will be. We all have to tell our own stories in our own time, so it’s important to respect everyone’s boundaries – and acknowledge that we all have a unique story to tell that is ours and ours alone.

Hear more about my journey with OCD and get a glimpse into my daily life here:

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