How are you?

We know what the person asking wants, a simple “I’m good thanks” and then to move on.

We don’t want to ruin the mood, we don’t want to be a whiner or say what’s really going on.

Humans are social creatures first and foremost. It’s been fundamental for our survival as a species. Australia’s culture values stoicism and being “tough”.

Adding petrol to the flames is the relentless positivity we can all see by scrolling through social media. The pressure to be positive can be insidious.

This often means we self-censor. No one wants to be a “whiner” or “misery guts”. When our voice, opinions and what we think is right goes against the societal tide, the truth can be the first casualty.

If that truth is we are in need of a mental health day, our own wellness can easily be the next.

Thankfully, our brains are malleable and adaptable. Our stigma and shame are not set in stone and there are some real ways anyone can deal with them.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is a tool using a psychologically valid process to drag those anxiety, shame and stigma inducing thoughts out of the dark corners of our minds and dismantle them bit by bit. This means that stigma and shame won’t snowball, breaking you down and burning you out. After a CBT session, you can get nagging anxiety and shame-inducing monkeys off your back and be assertive enough to ask for what you really need.

The great thing is, once you’ve had a few goes with your psychologist, you can do it by yourself absolutely free!

Here’s how you start:

1. Go to your GP and ask for a mental health plan

2. Find a psychologist

3. Ask them to show you how to use cognitive behaviour therapy

How different would our lives be, if we could talk about the things we need to talk about, without fear? With the right help, this doesn’t have to stay a hypothetical. Don’t let shame and stigma linger. You can go onward and upward, in truth.

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