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15 Ways to Tell Someone You’re Not OK

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It’s not always easy to express when we’re going through a tough time. But opening up about our struggles is a crucial step towards getting the support we need.

Acknowledging our vulnerabilities can be daunting, yet it’s a powerful way to connect with others who might have faced similar challenges. By sharing our experiences, we create a space for empathy and understanding, which are vital for healing and growth.

This act of openness not only helps us process our emotions but also breaks down the stigma surrounding mental health issues. It encourages a culture of openness, where seeking help is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness. Opening up paves the way for a supportive community that fosters resilience and encourages personal development.

Here are 15 ways to communicate to others that you’re not OK:

Simple yet effective ways to communicate your struggles

1. Start with a trusted individual. Choose someone you trust and feel comfortable with as your first point of contact.

2. Use “I” statements. Express your feelings and thoughts using “I” statements to convey your personal experience.

3. Be honest but not overwhelming. Share your feelings honestly, but avoid overwhelming the listener with too much information at once.

Finding the right time and place

4. Choose an appropriate time. Select a time when you and the person you’re talking to are not rushed or distracted.

5. Find a comfortable setting. A quiet and private environment can make the conversation more comfortable.

Using digital communication effectively

6. Consider writing a letter or email. Sometimes writing your thoughts can be easier than speaking them.

7. Use messaging apps. If face-to-face conversations are challenging, consider using messaging apps to communicate.

Seeking professional help

8. Talk to a mental health professional. They can provide a safe space and professional guidance.

9. Consider support groups. Sharing your experiences with others who understand can be incredibly validating.

Creative and indirect methods of expression

10. Use art or music. Creative expression can be a powerful way to convey your feelings when words are hard to find.

11. Journaling. Writing down your thoughts can help you process them and share them later.

Understanding and overcoming barriers to communication

12. Recognise your fears. Understanding what holds you back from communicating can be the first step in overcoming these barriers.

13. Practise self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and recognise that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Preparing for possible reactions

14. Be prepared for different responses. Remember, people may react in various ways, but this does not devalue your feelings.

15. Stay open to help. Be open to different forms of support and understand that help can come in many forms.


Communicating your struggles is a brave and important step in taking care of your mental health. By finding the right way to express your feelings, you can open the door to understanding, support, and healing.

Opening up about your mental health struggles can also foster deeper connections with others, as sharing your experiences invites empathy and strengthens relationships. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and expressing your feelings can help you realise that others may be going through similar challenges. This act of vulnerability often leads to a greater sense of community and belonging.

Articulating your struggles can be a cathartic experience, providing a sense of relief and clarity. Finally, by speaking out, you contribute to breaking the stigma around mental health, encouraging a more open and supportive society.

Abbie Thompson, a passionate writer and mental health advocate, believes in the power of words to bring about positive change.

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