In this guest article and as part of Tell Someone Month, regular contributor Kaveeta talks about ‘coming out’.
“Time is the longest distance between two places.” – Tennessee Williams.
You will come to a moment in your life where you feel ready to begin your road to recovery. More often than not, that first step is usually telling someone what it is you’re going through. It sounds simple, but I understand that it’s not the easiest thing to do. So when I was asked to write something for ‘Tell Someone Month’, the above quote by Tennessee Williams quickly came to mind. During this transitional period of your life, time will become your greatest asset. After all, if something is important to you, it’s worth taking the time to do it properly.
If you decide telling someone is the first step for you, deciding who to tell will be your second step. You could choose to tell a friend or your GP first; there aren’t any rules, it comes down to who you feel more confident and comfortable speaking to at the time. Planning what you’re going to say may ease any anxiety you may feel – it could be a case of writing it down or mentally preparing a speech.
When coming out to friends or family members, you need to be somewhere you can sit down and have a conversation; talking and processing information will come in abundance, this isn’t a conversation you want to rush, so location will be important to you both. I wouldn’t show any wounds or scars at this point, it won’t add anything to the conversation – simply expressing how you deal with your feelings is far more important at this stage.
Be prepared for questions and possible hurt feelings. If they should get upset, reassuring them that this is a step forward in recovery will probably help. The reactions may seem silly and less than favourable, but just like us they need time to adjust to what they’ve been told. Whatever happens, opening up once will make opening up again to someone else a lot easier.
Going to see your GP is the recommended route if you want to receive professional help. Taking someone with you could help if you’re feeling particularly nervous, but there isn’t really an easy way to say you hurt yourself to anyone. If your GP surgery is anything like mine, I recommend asking for a longer appointment time than usual. When I first approached my GP, I sat and didn’t say anything for a while before I mustered up enough courage to say how I was feeling, and again when I was asked questions I took time to answer.
Although they’re not specialised in the area of SI, your GP can refer you to the right people who will contact you and assess your needs. More questions will be asked at this stage too, but there’s usually a wait to speak to these people, so you’ll have time to mentally prepare yourself for it.
I like to think of telling someone as going up a ladder: the destination at the top is recovery, and every rung in between is a carefully laid plan of action. It’s important to remember that this isn’t a race, there isn’t a time limit between each step and sometimes you may even find that even your steps have steps!
The reward for ‘coming out‘ is a better quality of life, it may take you a while but when you get to where you wish to be, it will be worth all the work you put in.
Photo credit: kevin dooley