I answer a lot of questions about DiD and PTSD. I answer questions about anxiety, trauma, depression, rape, and self-injury. I talk to people about verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and even spiritual abuse.

Sometimes, I don’t want to talk about it any more.

Sometimes, I don’t want to answer people’s questions.

So, what do you do when that’s the case? What do you do when you’d rather talk about puppies, or hockey, or fashion, or literally anything but mental illness?

1. Say So!
This may seem simple, but it is most often the most difficult. As people with mental illnesses it can feel like our job to take advantage of others wanting to learn more. We can feel guilty for not taking the opportunity to make others aware of what people like us deal with. But it isn’t exclusively our responsibility. Besides, we are complex and vibrant human beings and shouldn’t be boxed-in by our mental health. So say it!

“I would like to talk about ______ instead. Maybe I can answer your questions another time.”

2. Offer Trusted Alternative Resources
I am always on the look out for articles and organizations that I can point people towards. It helps me feel like I am contributing to the big picture. What good is it for people to simply know more if they can’t put it to use? It takes some of the pressure off of me to have all the answers when I can say,

“I don’t know but you can visit this website to learn more.”

That way I can know people I care about are learning from credible sources and not weird sites or organizations that could be harmful. It is more frustrating to undo that damage than to answer questions. You can always direct them to my website! www.cathyterranova.com
It also makes others feel like I am taking their concern seriously, even if I don’t want to talk about it just then. I want you to know! But I don’t always want to have to talk about it.

3. Make a Plan to Talk Another Time
Validate their concerns by letting them know you will be happy to answer their questions but make a boundary for yourself. This way you will know going into the conversation that it may be hard for you and you can prepare and the other person has the set knowledge that they will be able to ask you questions at a later time. This will free their mind to move on to something else because they won’t be worried that they missed their chance to ask.

4. Be Patient
It can be hard for people to get up the courage to ask questions when they know you have a mental illness. Often people tell me that they feel insensitive in asking, but they don’t want to make bigger mistakes later. It’s important to remind them that you are willing to answer questions or provide resources, but if the time isn’t right, don’t feel pressured to talk about it.


Remember that you never have to talk about anything you don’t want to! Your mental health can feel like a personal and sensitive issue and it can be no fun to talk about but hopefully, with time, it can be less scary to open up about things you struggle with. You aren’t alone and since invisible illness is invisible, you never know who could be struggling right along side you!




photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/9504588@N05/2446669440″>ROFLCon: The Internet Cult Leaders- Talk – 4 . 27 . 08</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

abuse, advice, anxiety, Boundaries, C-PTSD, care giving, comfort, complex trauma, courage, depression, family, friends, Grace, healing, hope, invisible illness, Life, love, mental illness, patience, PTSD, recovery, rethink trauma, special needs, therapy, Trauma