How Do I Explain My Poor Mental Health To My Partner & Children?

The conversation that you have with the adults in your life and the conversation you have with your children in your life is extremely different. One of the things to be mindful of is that there is still so much stigma around mental health and many of us are living with an extreme sense of shame that we then project onto the people in our lives and assume that they are going to be judging and thinking negatively about us in the same way that we think about ourselves. So often this is not the case.

When you are beginning to share with somebody that you are having struggles, you may feel under pressure from yourself to disclose everything – every difficult event that you have experienced, every different trauma that you’ve been through. Just keep it simple – this is a really good place to start. Letting somebody know “you know what, I’m not sure if I’m ok. I think I’ve been struggling with something for a while” or “I’ve been seeking help for something because I’m not really happy about my relationship with food and my body” is ok. At the beginning, this is more than enough information.

Depending on the age of our children, we quite often assume that we don’t need to share things with them because they don’t really know what’s going on. The thing about children is that they pick up on things and are extremely intuitive and sensitive. What they’re not told they make up for themselves. As their worlds are quite biopic, they tend to make these things about them so they can involve themselves as part of the story and the narrative. Sometimes sharing that information with your children can be really empowering for them and frees them up of any responsibility. Letting a young person know “Mummy has been having a bit of a hard time and I am going to find somebody to talk to about it, to see if I can make things better.” It’s so simple and so impactful. This also demonstrates to our children that when things are difficult, we draw on different resources to try and heal ourselves which is a really important lesson to be handed down to our children.