Friday 10 April 2015


- Joycelyn Asare

Expressing your feeling in a way that allows people to understand you, what you’re about, and where you’re coming from does not necessarily require you to physically speak to them about it.

A lot of people in general find expressing their emotions to be one of the most challenging things they can do. But those that suffer from a mental health difficulty may find it somewhat more challenging. People in general tend to want to avoid conflict and potentially stressful situations. People find it easier to avoid talking about something that they think is going to be controversial or difficult for others to understand.

Personally I find speaking to people a challenge, even those that are my best friends or family members. How do you know that by telling a person what or how you’re feeling, they will actually understand what you’re trying to say? That’s a hard thing to judge. I believe that it could be because it’s hard to tell if the person is really listening to what you’re saying. Listening is one of the most important aspects of effective communication. When communicating something difficult, it’s essential that who you’re communicating to is able to listen well - without it, understanding can be hard.

Some people feel that verbal communication is the best way for someone suffering from a mental illness to express their emotions and feelings about their experiences - but that’s not necessarily the case, and there are many other forms of communication that work so much better in terms of showcasing a person’s emotions and experiences. Non-verbal communication is one example: body language, gestures, how we dress or act, even our scent are all important elements of non-verbal communication. Written communication is another example and this can be done through letters, magazines, the internet or other media. And then there are visualizations in various forms of art. Those that find it hard to convey emotion through speech tend to find it easier saying what they feel in a journal, a personal blog, a piece of art, or in their personal sense of style. Personally I tend to express my emotions through the way I dress. I feel that it’s the best way to tell people how I feel on the day because the colours, collaborations of pieces and patterns that I wear all have meaning behind them.

Art is an amazing form of communication: the colours, shapes, lines and the movement on the page can change turn a blank canvas into something that can change your perception of a person, and can help you understand a person’s troubles and what they’re going through.

Music can also act as a form of communication. Music is something that most people turn to when they need a break or need to calm down and it helps because it gets this new mood inside of you, shifts your mood over and replaces it with another mood. Singing along to your favourite songs, or playing a musical instrument, is another way of expressing yourself, as well as writing lyrics. The lyrics of a song combined with the music behind it can convey any emotion you want it to. It can tell a story of a struggle or an achievement - it’s all up to you.

Ultimately, communication is an amazing thing. It comes in many forms, of which speech is only one, and you’re the only one who can determine how you express your emotions and life experiences. Always remember: “The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.” - Susan Jeffers

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