Self-disclosure is a step in our mental health recovery. But how do we disclose? How much is too much when it comes to sharing? These are valid questions when it comes to self-disclosure.
First off, what should we share? Well, share what you feel comfortable sharing. There are different levels of self-disclosure.
- The Bare Minimum. In this level of self-disclosure, you share the least amount of information needed for someone to understand. This can be a diagnosis, feelings, or even events that occurred.
- Selective Disclosure. In this level of self-disclosure, you share a tad more information. The difference between this level and the prior is a bit more of your life is shared. You might also share symptoms you’ve been experiencing.
- Therapeutic Disclosure. In this level of self-disclosure, you share what could’ve led up to the diagnosis. This level of disclosure is mostly used in a therapeutic setting. Most of the times, disclosure is within small chunks of times.
- V Structure Disclosure. In this level of self-disclosure, you share your story in a v-format. You share a bit about yourself, hobbies. You can talk about a bit of your childhood. You then talk about how you found out your first signs of mental health challenges. You don’t have to share everything. The next part is the lowest point in the v-format; the dark days. You share the dark point but also your turning point. What made you seek for help? Then you discuss your path towards recovery. Share healthy coping skills and support. What achievements did you achieve? Then you talk about where you are now. This format of self-disclosure is usually in a formal setting with an audience. You may have a call to action, or motivating conclusion, to move people to act upon your story.
- Broadcasting. This is where as much information is shared to a whole audience. Very little is left to imagination to what happened. There is a precaution when it comes to this level of disclosure as to not trigger anyone when it comes to your story.
Where and who should I disclose to?
Location is key. If we are new in our recovery journey, it is best to choose a private place. We want to feel safe when we discuss our challenges. In addition, it should be a place where you feel at ease. If needed, have a cup of tea and discuss it with a close friend.
If we feel confident and are long in our recovery and we feel comfortable disclosing, we can join an organization dedicated to advocating for mental health.
Last thing is timing. You have to feel it’s the right time to talk about what you are going through. No one can force you to talk about your struggles.
If needed, rehearse what you want to talk about. If you feel like certain subjects are hard to talk about, perhaps it’s best to not disclose that part of your life.
Be ready for questions that the person might ask. You don’t have to answer all of them. Only the ones you feel comfortable talking about. And if you feel a certain subject triggers questions you are not comfortable with answering, then it’s best to not discuss that subject.
If you have any questions, I am willing to talk about it.