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What is honesty and how does it affect your mental health?

Community Champion
Community Champion

I want to discuss what honesty means to you and your health.

People say that they fake being well, or wear a mask so no one knows their pain.Is this being honest.

When we do not admit our flaws and our behaviours does this make it harder to have insight into our illness and harder to get better?

Do we need to be honest with ourselves and others in order to be well.?

Honesty can be a very subjective personal word. What one people feels is being honest another may feel is not.

For many years I was in denial about my illness so I would admit to myself I was ill, I was not honest.

So what does honesty mean to you? So lets start a conversation. All ideas welcome.

Everyone is welcome to comment, new posters, regular posters, I want everyone's ideas.


226 Replies 226

That happens to me too Quirky. I have often been scared the other person will be angry, upset etc if I communicate a concern to them. I am trying to learn who I can be emotionally honest with and who might not be be responsive in a positive way to emotional honesty. I’m also trying to find the right balance of calmness and assertiveness. I think that can make a big difference to how the communication goes down.


 I think when you develop a stronger sense within yourself you can hold your ground in a way that you are protected from responses from others that may not be positive. But also when you have the right balance of calmness and assertiveness things are less likely to escalate in a negative way. I think calmness is kind of catching, so to speak. So it’s like you energetically create the right atmosphere for a positive outcome.


But I know these things are not easy, especially for those of us with past experiences where we haven’t felt entirely safe. So I think when we get to a point we can generate our own sense of safety, that we can take care of ourselves and be ok, we can then feel we handle situations and interactions.


 I’m definitely still learning these things. It feels like a very gradual process of getting stronger and more skilled in communication. I think if you have a successful communication it builds confidence. It’s having that sense of “I’ve got this”, including whatever the outcome may be from the other person’s response. I think it’s learning how not to fear or be triggered by other people’s responses, that all we can be responsible for is ourselves but not their reactions. If we have good intentions and communicate in a kind and honest way, I think that is the best we can do.

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello Grandy, 


Just seeing your post. I know exactly what you mean, that sometimes it’s easier to say you’re fine so people leave you alone. I think I’m learning there’s just a few people I can confide about my mental health to, while with others it is better keeping it to myself. It’s great we have a forum like this where it’s ok to say if we’re not feeling ok.




Community Member

Hi everyone,


It’s just after 6pm on a Sunday and I can now say that I feel well enough to sit up, read and write something about this topic.


For over 30 years I hid and denied the domestic abuse that I was subjected to in my marriage. I hid it so well that people thought I was crazy when I finally revealed it. Only my dear friend who worked in this area came to me and told me that although it took him by surprise, he believed it. Knowing my husband, it made sense to him, as he looked back at my behaviour at work and in my private family life. Sadly I lost this friend in 2023.


When my father became seriously ill and was hospitalised, I went to work, worked very long days and would carry on like nothing. When in fact I was doing daily and sometimes twice daily hospital visits so I could spend time with my dad. I took a couple of days off and only then informed coworkers that my father was seriously ill. My father passed away a day or so later. One of my coworkers, said, oh, you weren’t joking when you said that your dad was seriously ill and dying.


Then following his passing, I kept it together, stayed numb to it all. Wrote and read a beautiful Eulogy at his funeral, attended by 400 people. 

My siblings told me that as I was the “strong one in the family” that I should do the eulogy. I turned to them and told them that I was barely holding together and although they haven’t seen me openly sob and fall apart, basically due to the anti depressants I was taking, I cry in the shower and I cry myself to sleep. Amazingly they looked at me and didn’t say a word. 

When I had a breakdown afterwards, none of them wanted to speak with or see me anymore. The broken down sister was of no use to them. They all had their own problems to deal with. They turned their backs as soon as they realised that I was not well or as strong as they thought or hoped. In fact my brother called me attention seeking. Wow. I had to cut him off to save myself.


We have to be selective as to who we share our illness with as not everyone has your back. 🙏🏼

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear Fiatlux,


I very much relate to what you write. I was the one who held it together when my parents needed care in the final years of their lives and I was carrying multiple responsibilities and went through several traumas in that time, while my brother just got on with his life for himself. The few times I requested assistance he blanked me out and didn't help. When I was hit with severe perimenopausal depression in late 2022 and I disclosed to him I was going through a hard time I was labelled an "attention whore". This is after I cared for him when he was in an hysterical breakdown following a relationship breakup and have always been there for him so many times over the years. So I totally understand how your brother labelling you as attention seeking would hurt. I think sometimes they actually feel guilty about their failure to step up and take responsibility, but instead of owning that guilt it is projected onto the person who has actually been the strong one carrying the load of responsibilities. I rarely contact my brother now. He contacts me as I think he still wants a sibling relationship. He also sometimes sends me something that is meant to be supportive (e.g. connected to an interest I have or issue I'm dealing with) a short while after he has said something awful, judgemental and cutting, like he realises he may have crossed a line and I might permanently go no contact. But I find myself questioning if this is genuine or manipulative which in itself concerns me. It is possibly both with my brother as I think part of him cares and part of him wants to avoid anything to do with emotions in himself and others.


What I have learned is the most genuine and kind people we have in our lives are the ones we can be emotionally honest with, without fear of judgement or ridicule. I've also detached from friendships now that were one-sided and just have a few, lovely friends I know I can trust without question. We can share and be open-hearted with one another knowing our hearts are safe. We are not going to be hurt by one another in the places we are vulnerable, and that is real friendship. You just don't have to question whether you are safe or not with true friends. One of those true friends recently got in contact with me after she experienced a recent loss and I was able to support her. Likewise, she has been there for me when I've experienced a loss. I only want those genuine people and relationships in my life now.


So I very much agree we have to be selective about who we share vulnerabilities such as our mental health with. I am learning to use my body to judge this. My body will give me a very bad, visceral feeling if a person cannot be trusted in this way. I used to override that feeling but I am learning to absolutely listen to it. The body speaks to us and is our intuition and it will tell us if something is off with a person or situation. I think that wisdom in the body can then translate into wise action in the world in terms of the choices we make.


So thinking back to the theme of this post, I think we need to be honest with ourselves and also others, but choose to withhold information from those we cannot trust to treat us kindly and respectfully, especially in relation to our mental and physical health and wellbeing. I think to be well we need to protect our boundaries and care for ourselves, and cultivate and nurture relationships that are genuinely caring and reciprocal. There may be others we need to distance ourselves from or go no contact with if they are actually harmful to us.


So go my thoughts. Sorry for long post!



Thanks everyone for you interesting and honest comments. 
I am tired now but will write more later. 
I have learnt to be honest to myself even if I can’t be honest with others. 

Hi Quirky,

Being honest with myself was where I began with dealing with my mental health. Before seeing any psychiatrist I first had to be honest with myself enough to know I had problems I couldn't deal with alone.

Being honest with others is much more difficult because we cannot control how others will react & respond. We might try to predict, based on our relationship with them, but there still may be unexpected reactions & responses to honesty.

Being open to how someone may respond to our honesty, you could feel vulnerable, exposed & sensitive to every nuance of their response. You have to risk your worst fears about how someone might respond to your honesty. During the time working up to being honest, you could feel afraid, stressed & worried, doubting yourself, & well, I don't know what else.

I've found, even when being honest has not been recieved as I'd like, I have felt better within myself, just knowing I have tried. If someone doesn't want to hear, rejects what  I have to say, is angry, hurt, or whatever they feel, I can't be sorry about that - well, yes, when I've had to hurt someone with my honesty, I am sorry about that.

When I've said a little about my mental health to my sis, I feel I've had a mixed response. I'm not sure how to describe her response, except that it neighter brought us closer nor pushed us further apart. I'm not sure what it means, whether she cares or not, or is unwilling to offer support - that'w what it feels like. We're sisters genetically, but not in relationship, & that's what I have to accept.

Ah, but, as I often say, it (her response)  could have been worse.

Do I try to be more open & honest with her? I don't know. I'm not sure what we'd gain.

Anyway, there's my thoughts of the moment.

Hugzies, & thanks for the topic, which I only saw the other day....Food for deep thought.


Today it occurred to me that if I was more honest with rude, awful people that I would have a lot less stress and anxiety in my life.


Since the recent pandemic ending, I have become less tolerant to abuse. Either from family, friends and especially strangers. Even business clients, I no longer tolerate their bullying behaviour. I no longer need to accept their coercive control behaviour and I have turned people away and refused to provide service to them. I am fortunate in that respect that I am not desperate for more work.


Being honest in these situations is a relief. 

Keep honest and healthy people. Respectfully, Fiatlux 🙏🏼