Can you remember when you “came out” about your mental health illness?
Have you actually done it or do you keep it to yourself for fear of what others will say.
What factors prevent people from telling their peers about their illnesses?
I saw a post on twitter the other day from a young person who had just told a friend that she was suffering from depression I cannot imagine how hard that must have been especially as that age as the first thing people will tell her is that “you’re too young to be depressed!”
As we all know depression waits until you hit a certain age before it comes along (sigh)
It is such a difficult decision to make about telling people because of the lack of education and ignorance of others, especially those who have never suffered. Having to combat a mental health illness is tough enough but having to do it alone and hide it from loved ones or friends must be awful.
Speaking from my own experience I am happy to tell people that I suffer from depression because I am thick skinned enough not to give a shit about how other people perceive me anymore. Growing up and being called four eyes as well as other names will do that a person eventually.
As someone who has no friends in real life I guess it was easier for me, yes that is a sad fact of my life that the only friends I have are online but I am not the only person in this situation and I am bloody lucky that my wife is so supportive! (when I say I have no friends I do not mean Sheryl as she is my wife AND my best friend, but besides her there is no one) so I didn’t have the problem of coming out to them.
When I was coaching the boys football team I did explain to some of the parents about my depression, especially when I told them that I was quitting because I couldn’t cope with it anymore. Besides one person though not one of the parents from the team has been in touch with me since May when the team folded. In fact she has invited me to her house after my trip to the mental hospital on Thursday as she lives near by.
Do others not bother with me because I told them about my depression?
When I started this blog I had to decide if I wanted to do so anonymously or be open about who I am. I decided to not hide my identity because I wanted people to put a face and a real name to the person writing in the hope that they could identify with me better. That is not to say that blogging with anonymity is a bad thing, it was really just my own personal preference.
It made it easier for me to have my identity out there so that people could look at me and say “if he can do it so can I” but that is just how I work. I am big enough and ugly enough to handle the judgement and ignorance of others, well on my good days at least, and I can hold my head up high.
Mostly the reaction I got from family (those in the family who actually care anyway) was a concern about antidepressants but that mainly came from my uncle’s bad experience with them in the past. I don’t hear from my siblings or parents so the only family that ask about me are my great aunt Betty and my nans Jean and Evelyn as far as the rest of my family go I might as well not exist but then that was the case before I “came out” so it has nothing to do with my depression.
For others though it is not so easy and I feel so much sympathy with anyone in the situation of having to hide their illness from people. It must be even harder for those working and suffering as well and I must admit it is something that does worry me when the time comes that I feel ready for returning to that world. I have vowed to myself though that I will not hide it from anyone in the hope that I can inspire others to open up about it.
How has telling people affected you? Do you feel a sense of relief for telling people or has it made your life more difficult? I would love to know