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How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 22nd 2015, 09:03 AM

Several years ago, I made the decision to reveal my long-running bout with severe depression and suicidal feelings to everyone in my life. This was after many years of essentially keeping it a secret from everyone around me. It was something I thought I would never do, and although it is a subject myself and the people in my life haven't really discussed since that time, I believe not having the feeling of shouldering everything on my own and having the freedom to be more open if necessary has helped to some degree.

I can't really say if keeping everything to myself for so long was a good or bad idea, per se. As I mentioned, I'm glad I did reveal everything eventually, but as for whether or not I should have done so sooner ... who knows?

I was curious as to how many people here have decided to take the same route I did and keep their feelings to themselves or if you are someone who is open to those around you about your depression and other issues you may struggle with? Or perhaps somewhere in between (some know, some don't)?

If you are secretive, is it due to a fear of how those around you will react? Do you wish you could tell friends and family and are you planning to at some point? On the flip side, if you have opened up to people about your struggles, do you regret it or is it a relief not to have to live a "double life" of sorts?

This is obviously a subject I closely relate to due to my own situation and I feel it is very often an important element of depression and suicidal issues (having people in our lives whom we can confide in and trust to help us). I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who is comfortable sharing their story.

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 22nd 2015, 10:44 AM

I am personally very open about it. I don't mind people knowing stuff. The really personal things I do keep to myself though but the things that don't really hurt me to share I share. I have loads of people knowing I'm depressed and some about me having suicidal times.

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 22nd 2015, 03:48 PM

I am quite secretive, especially when it comes to my depression. All my counselors knew about my depression, I don't tell friends or acquaintances. My mum is the only other person, besides those counselors, who knew about my depression.

I use the past tense because I have been in recovery from depression for about three weeks now. It's a big battle that can take years to overcome.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 07:44 AM

No one but here. I've been caught out on self harming before but even that I refused to discuss. Every now and again cutting is brought up by family so no way I want them know what goes on in my head.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 07:49 AM

My three guy best friends know about the depression and self harm. I haven't told the girls because they are sure to over react and I am not sure if I can deal with over reaction, pity or anything of that sort, right now. A few other friends know about my self harm, but that was because of this one particular time when I needed to go to the hospital for a cut. It was over two year ago and I think they have forgotten about it.

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 09:07 AM

I've had anxiety my entire life and depression with suicidal thoughts for half of it (almost 14 years) I'm open about it with everyone I don't know well because I see no harm in sharing it, but I don't tell people who are close to me. For the record, I tried to tell my mom after struggling with suicidal thoughts for 3 years and have actually told her 3 times. These incidents NEVER go well. The first time she told me to "Suck it up" "other people in similar situations do more than you (in terms of working while going to school where I have never held a job, partly because I can't find one and also stress is my main trigger) and they handle it fine."

The second time she told me to "get over it"

After I discovered I have a rare learning disability with the highest suicide rates because anxiety and depression are part of it or at least very common with it, she told me to tell her if I ever felt like doing that. When I reminded her that I had done so twice she said "Well, you were being dramatic" The reason I waited so long to tell her the first time was because I knew she'd react this way. Do I regret it, absolutely. Not only does she react inappropriately every time, but telling her has gotten me nothing but judgement. When I started seeing a psychologist on campus at the faculty's suggestion, I told her (since she was paying what insurance didn't cover)and she tried to talk me out of it and asked if it was even helping.

My dad is A LOT worse, I think he questions whether mental illnesses are really as serious as people say they are. He used to work in a psychiatric hospital (as an orderly) and he told my mom that the women who checked themselves in weren't really sick, "they just wanted a break from their kids." He's extremely judgemental in general and I never tell him anything. With a significant family history of serious mental illness I expected better from both of them.

My friends don't know either because if the subject comes up hypothetically, I know based on what they say about it that I can never tell them such as "people who kill themselves go to hell" I'm not getting into it with them so they'll never know.

I managed to tell the psychologist about the depression when I went for the anxiety, but when he asked about suicidal thoughts, I couldn't bring myself to admit them, later I tried to bring it up again, but I don't think he really "got it." If I end up going back to school I will go back to him and be honest because I think it cost me help I needed. I wish I could tell somebody who could help me when I need it, even if it isn't someone I know because as most people here know, this has been the year from hell and I've dealt with it completely alone.

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 09:30 AM

Thanks for your replies, everyone. And Kate, I'm sorry to hear that your attempts to open up have not gone well. It generally is not easy to try and deal with issues such as these alone. Best wishes to you.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 12:11 PM

This is a good question!

When I first felt depressed (when I was about 12), I thought it was obvious to my family. I was crying all the time, never happy, always felt sick before school. The advice that I was given from my mum was to Ďget over ití and Ďitís just a state of mindí. So I withdrew, and tried to keep everything to myself. I didnít have many friends, and everyone just thought that I was just quiet. I didnít tell anyone. When I was 17, I met a guy, who had mental health issues and when I got to know him more, he opened up to me. I then opened up a bit to him, and he was the first person that understood me and kind of introduced me to the world of mental health because I had no clue about anything. When I went to university, I thought all my problems had disappeared as first year was amazing. By second year, I realised that I did have anxiety issues and possible depression, but I didnít want to admit it to myself. I had friends in uni, but I didnít tell them, not even when I had a panic attack. Iím not sure why, I guess because I felt like the only person who did understand had mental health issues themselves, and I felt like everyone else wouldnít have understood. Within the last year, I opened up to my best friend and my teacher friend about my issues and my past. Maybe it was something I said (or just a coincidence that she is now busy a lot), but I feel my best friend has been distant with me. But my teacher friend has been really supportive. I do wonder whether I should tell a uni friend that I stay in touch with, but Iím not sure, I feel like weíve never talked about feelings and stuff so it would be a bit awkward. Oh and I told a counsellor

Iím very glad that I started opening up to people. It definitely has made things a lot easier, because I felt like I had to live a double life and pretend everything was ok, which was hard because my teacher friend kind of sensed (or at least I get the feeling she did) that something wasnít completely ok. And for my best friend, well, itís made me realise that sheís not the right person to help support me. I donít regret telling her at all though, I mean, why spend time with someone who isnít going to be there for you, when there are others out there who will?

I donít know if I would bother trying to tell family again though. I suspect my brother has anxiety issues now (so a decade after me) and even now, my mum tells him that he is being silly. It would be nice to have family support, but TeenHelp is here for me! And Iím completely open about things on here

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 12:25 PM

Hey there,

No one in my life knows to what extent I suffer with depression. I think some people may have a small inking that I am prone to the occasional spell of depression, but don't think they know how much I struggle every day, especially with feelings of anxiety. I haven't been suicidal for a very long time now, and although I do get the occasional thought I try not to dwell on it and try to focus on the positive things in my life. But in answer to the question, no one really knows. I do regret not being more open and honest about the way I'm feeling, maybe then I would have got a lot more help and support from my family, but now I am in a place where yes I do struggle, but I am managing much better than I was at one point. I have been self-harm free for years now and I don't want to go back to that person I was in the past. I think now and again it would be good to have someone I could speak to in my life. But right now I think I can cope, however if I began to feel as bad as I did in the past then I would definitely speak up and seek support, because it is definitely not a good thing to suffer, no one deserves to feel like that and everyone deserves help, love and support from those close to them.


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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 03:09 PM

Thanks for sharing your stories, Holly and Paige

Holly, I'm sorry to hear that not everyone in your life has been supportive, but I'm glad that you have had people you can be open with (and I completely know what you mean about feeling as if you are living a double life).

Paige, you are absolutely right - nobody deserves to feel alone in dealing with their problems and everyone should have love and support from the people around them. Best wishes.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 04:22 PM

Only my parents and a few friends on the internet... Woops. I told my parents about my moderate to severe depression and suicidal thoughts a year ago, and most of my friends a few days ago. Some were told sooner cx

"Remember your loved and you always will be. This melody will bring you right back home." - Linkin park, The messenger. Stay strong everyone!! You are always strong enough to get through whatever life throws your way, no matter how hard it may seem.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 06:54 PM

I first started developing depression when I was around ten or eleven. At that age, I didn't know about depression and I kept it to myself for years. I was ten when I started self-harming and at the time I didn't really know what I was doing. I kept my abuse to myself for eleven years or so and I actually told someone while dissociative and that is how the cat got out of the bag. I became open about my depression, anxiety, and self-harm in school and my parents did find out eventually and I really regretted that and have since closed myself off from everyone again. I'm open on here, and in therapy, and I struggle to communicate with my parents. I prefer not to because I see them on a daily basis and I instantly regret telling them anything deep. They do know of its existence, but I hide it extremely well and they think I'm doing a lot better than before. Knowing about it and seeing it are two different things and I prefer that they don't see what it's like.

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 08:38 PM

I was around ten also when I first started feeling depressed and started SHing. I kept this a secret for ten years and by this time I already had anxiety had things that happened to me that only I and the people who had harmed me know. I still struggle and although my parents know they don't know that I still go through it today. Not a lot of people know. H everyday struggle and only a few know about the scars and the cuts and the strength it take for me to even be around them no matter how much I enjoy being around them.

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 09:21 PM

I have told my mother and father I am depression, but they don't understand. I refuse to tell the rest of my family because they will end up holding it against me. It's a messed up situation to be. Either my family wont understand or they use it against me somehow.

I tried telling my mother, but she says I'm not depressed. I've tried telling my father, but he got angry with me. I don't have anyone to turn to when it comes to family. And I think that is why my depression is worse. I have no one in my personal life what understands and wants to help. It's either suck it up, deny I am depressed, ignore me, or just use it against me and treat me like a horrible person. Maybe I am overreacting with that last part, but I have had family bad mouth me before in the past and this seems right up their alley if I were to tell them.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 09:45 PM

My girlfriend knows, my parents know (though propably don't understand the situation fully) and few of my closest friends know. Aside from that I just don't feel like telling anybody, too much bother for too little potential gain...

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 10:50 PM

Up until a few months back I was pretty closed up about it. I don't go around talking about it now, but Im getting out of hospital and im more than happy to post my achievement of being discharged after two years in hospital on FB and to tell people. If they don't like me for it, they don't mean anything to me. If they accpet it (which they have) then they accept me too and it proves they're my real friends.

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 25th 2015, 11:15 PM

Most people in my life know and most accept it and help me through it.

But then there are some who have distance themselves from me. And one that blame me when the relationship fails because they didn't reach out.

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 26th 2015, 12:46 AM

In the last four years, I tried to be more open about my depression and other mental health issues, and all of those who I told are now no longer in my life except for my partner. I've now decided to keep it more private, as nobody else can help me but myself.

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 26th 2015, 12:51 AM

I appreciate everyone who has shared their story here. A recurring theme seems to be that people are comfortable opening up and being themselves on TH and it's nice that this community exists to provide that kind of help and support.

Everybody's story is different, unique, and, above all else - important.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 26th 2015, 01:14 AM

Too many people for my liking know about my mental illness, to be honest. My immediate family are aware of it. My closest friends also know about it, and, brutal honesty once more, sometimes I really wish they didn't. They're always asking me to be open about it and it just puts more pressure on me because I don't know how to talk about how I feel or how to reach out to people. It makes me feel terrible because they're wonderful people who I really think might actually care but I just can't talk about it and I end up causing them more pain or stress on top of what they already have.

Oh and literally everyone at school knows me as "that freak who self harms in the bathrooms" so I suppose they count too.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 26th 2015, 09:44 PM

I remember with my depression and self-harm I was selectively secretive about it for a number of years, and then I stopped caring who knew. Now that I don't have depression and have been clean for a year from cutting, I no longer have a problem sharing my story with others.

Though I do wish I had told more people my story as I was going through it.

With my anxiety condition now, I wish I could tell more people. My close friends and my boyfriend know about it but I find it hard to talk about with others. I know the more support you can get, the better it is for your condition!

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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 27th 2015, 03:04 AM

I've only told two close friends about my depression (outright told one [online] and kind of inferred with the other [real life]) and tried telling my girlfriend about my anxiety, but I don't really think she understood what I meant. My dad would probably just get mad at me and my mom would just ask me about it everyday which I think would be more annoying than helpful. I don't really want anyone to know because I feel they'll just be jerks about it, but I guess they wouldn't really be my friends then. I don't think anyone can really tell, though, since I'm good at hiding it. I don't think anyone would help anyways and it's just easier to keep inside because the only person I can really trust to not tell everyone is myself. I'm also just worried of what other people will think of me if they find out.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 29th 2015, 06:02 PM

First of all, I'm happy to hear everything went well when you told some folks about your issues! I'm happy to hear it helped.

Myself, I am 21 years old, first got extremely depressed when I was 11 and had alot of suicidal thoughts until I was around 19. I never opened up about any of it to anyone, until this week actually! I just kept it all inside for years and years and years, and tried to distract myself with hobbies, which worked well, but I was always lonely. I don't regret not opening to anyone about it, because even though I was really alone, it still made me a stronger person.

I opened up this week to a guy I really like alot. He was going through some issues and wasn't telling me, so I opened up to him about it and he opened up back a bit. It felt pretty good, but I haven't told anyone else about any of it other than him.

My reasons not to open up to folks? I guess fear as to how they will see me after. I'm kind of a clown, make alot of jokes and get alot of laughs from friends and family, I just don't want to damage that for them or me ha. Plus I don't want people to think along the lines of "well atleast im not him". i'd rather avoid all that. Even if it's only a possibility, Im still into game theory! The possible positive outcomes aren't worth the possible negative to me in my personal situation. I am happy I opened up to that guy though, because he understood, and it brought us closer.
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Re: How Many People in Your Life Are Aware? - April 29th 2015, 09:09 PM

Thanks for all your stories, everyone. Hidden11: Thank you for your supportive words and I'm glad your own recent decision to open up about your struggles has turned out well overall. Continued best wishes to you.
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