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When should I tell my parents I'm on anti-depressants?

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    I've been very depressed for the past month or so, it's not a new experience to me, I’ve had periods like this since I was about 14 or 15. But since I've been at university my depression has been a lot worse and much more disabling. I've barely left my bed for the past month; if I do it's usually only to go to the shop to stock up on the junk food I can't stop eating. I get scared to see my housemates because I might have to talk to them, I hate being in crowded places, people (especially happy people) make me angry and nervous. I haven't been able to concentrate on anything so my uni work has gone out the window, and I'm probably going to fail my exam on Monday if I manage to turn up. I'm also pretty much always on the verge of tears, if I see something that reminds me of my family I'll probably start to cry because I miss them and worry about them, I'm constantly worried that my parents are going to die, and the other day I even cried about how sweet-natured and lovely my Labrador is!

    Two weeks ago I went to the drop in clinic at my doctors and broke down in tears to the poor unsuspecting nurse! I told her how I was feeling and she sent me to see the doctor who put me on 5mg cipralex, and told me to see the student life centre about my missed deadlines and to make an appointment with a counsellor. She also filled out a mitigating evidence form for me, so hopefully I will have the late penalty taken off my work so long as I get it in before the end of term. I saw the doctor again this week and she increased my dose to 10mg. So far I've only felt really tired and that's it. I did manage to do a little bit of work today though so I suppose there must be some improvement.

    I also had my reception interview with a counsellor yesterday. I felt pretty calm going in, a bit nervous wondering what we were going to talk about, but nothing major. Then as soon as she started asking me questions about my family I was in tears again. She said it's normal for someone who's had a disrupted childhood to feel the feelings come up again during times of stress, which uni definitely is. My mum had two strokes when I was about 8 so me and my brothers were split up and lived with different family friends for a while whilst she was in Southampton in hospital with my dad. I do feel stupid about saying thats the reason I’m depressed because I have friends who have had much more disrupted childhoods and they are absolutely fine.

    I think my mum sort of knows that I'm not happy, when I was about 15/16 I used to cut myself, my mum found out when I was 17/18 because she saw the scars on my arm, she was really angry and upset and said that she wasn't going to tell my dad because he'd think she'd let him down as my mother. I still have no idea whether my Dad or brothers know, I don’t really show my arms that much so I don’t know if they’ve seen. My counsellor said that I need to tell my parents how I'm feeling because I'm distancing myself from them by not, but I'm really scared to tell my mum in case she blames herself, like she did when I cut myself. Also I'm going travelling this summer, and I don't want to tell them before I go in case they stop me from going somehow. On the other hand I hate keeping it all to myself, I've tried talking to my friends but they don't really understand how depressed I've been and how much it's affected my day-to-day life. Should I tell my parents that I’m on anti-depressants or not? Should I tell them before I go away or after? Any advice would be much appreciated, and thank you for bothering to read all of that!
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    (Original post by theslightlyweird1)
    I've been very depressed for the past month or so, it's not a new experience to me, I’ve had periods like this since I was about 14 or 15. But since I've been at university my depression has been a lot worse and much more disabling. I've barely left my bed for the past month; if I do it's usually only to go to the shop to stock up on the junk food I can't stop eating. I get scared to see my housemates because I might have to talk to them, I hate being in crowded places, people (especially happy people) make me angry and nervous. I haven't been able to concentrate on anything so my uni work has gone out the window, and I'm probably going to fail my exam on Monday if I manage to turn up. I'm also pretty much always on the verge of tears, if I see something that reminds me of my family I'll probably start to cry because I miss them and worry about them, I'm constantly worried that my parents are going to die, and the other day I even cried about how sweet-natured and lovely my Labrador is!

    Two weeks ago I went to the drop in clinic at my doctors and broke down in tears to the poor unsuspecting nurse! I told her how I was feeling and she sent me to see the doctor who put me on 5mg cipralex, and told me to see the student life centre about my missed deadlines and to make an appointment with a counsellor. She also filled out a mitigating evidence form for me, so hopefully I will have the late penalty taken off my work so long as I get it in before the end of term. I saw the doctor again this week and she increased my dose to 10mg. So far I've only felt really tired and that's it. I did manage to do a little bit of work today though so I suppose there must be some improvement.

    I also had my reception interview with a counsellor yesterday. I felt pretty calm going in, a bit nervous wondering what we were going to talk about, but nothing major. Then as soon as she started asking me questions about my family I was in tears again. She said it's normal for someone who's had a disrupted childhood to feel the feelings come up again during times of stress, which uni definitely is. My mum had two strokes when I was about 8 so me and my brothers were split up and lived with different family friends for a while whilst she was in Southampton in hospital with my dad. I do feel stupid about saying thats the reason I’m depressed because I have friends who have had much more disrupted childhoods and they are absolutely fine.

    I think my mum sort of knows that I'm not happy, when I was about 15/16 I used to cut myself, my mum found out when I was 17/18 because she saw the scars on my arm, she was really angry and upset and said that she wasn't going to tell my dad because he'd think she'd let him down as my mother. I still have no idea whether my Dad or brothers know, I don’t really show my arms that much so I don’t know if they’ve seen. My counsellor said that I need to tell my parents how I'm feeling because I'm distancing myself from them by not, but I'm really scared to tell my mum in case she blames herself, like she did when I cut myself. Also I'm going travelling this summer, and I don't want to tell them before I go in case they stop me from going somehow. On the other hand I hate keeping it all to myself, I've tried talking to my friends but they don't really understand how depressed I've been and how much it's affected my day-to-day life. Should I tell my parents that I’m on anti-depressants or not? Should I tell them before I go away or after? Any advice would be much appreciated, and thank you for bothering to read all of that!
    I'm facing up to telling my parents everything about my depression over the next week or so, and I know exactly how you feel in terms of worrying that your mum won't take it very well. It's scary, but everyone keeps telling me I need to tell them - and I think although the short-term effects of it will be horrible, it can only be positive in the long-term. I'd wager that you're in a similar situation, so I think you should probably tell your parents as well.

    One thing my friend said to me that has helped was that if my mum gets upset and blames herself/my dad/me then that's her problem; it's nothing to do with me and I don't need to listen to her if she's going to make me feel bad about anything. Your parents are only human, and yes, they may react badly. But they'll come round eventually and should be able to support you while you're dealing with this depression, which can only benefit you in the long run.

    Another thing that stuck with me was my head of year telling me that I'm not allowing my mum to be a mother to me unless I tell her everything. Even if your mum takes it badly at first, at the end of the day, she's your mum - she loves you and only wants what's best for you!

    I reckon you'd be better off telling them everything before you go away, because you'll be able to stop worrying about it, and if they react badly you'll be able to get away from home for a bit. Do you have any friends who might be willing to let you crash at their homes for a week or two if you can't face being at home once you've told them? It's important to have that kind of support in place so that you don't feel totally trapped by everything.

    Good luck with everything, I hope it goes well for you :hugs:
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    If you think talking to them about it will make you feel better then make yourself tell them, its nothing to be ashamed of and although they will be upset to find out you are unhappy, they should be glad you are taking steps to try and make yourself feel better. I wouldn't say anything but that is just because I am a private person. You shouldn't feel like it is your duty to tell them or that they have a right to know. If you would rather keep it to yourself then don't say anything.
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    (Original post by bytail)
    I'm facing up to telling my parents everything about my depression over the next week or so, and I know exactly how you feel in terms of worrying that your mum won't take it very well. It's scary, but everyone keeps telling me I need to tell them - and I think although the short-term effects of it will be horrible, it can only be positive in the long-term. I'd wager that you're in a similar situation, so I think you should probably tell your parents as well.

    One thing my friend said to me that has helped was that if my mum gets upset and blames herself/my dad/me then that's her problem; it's nothing to do with me and I don't need to listen to her if she's going to make me feel bad about anything. Your parents are only human, and yes, they may react badly. But they'll come round eventually and should be able to support you while you're dealing with this depression, which can only benefit you in the long run.

    Another thing that stuck with me was my head of year telling me that I'm not allowing my mum to be a mother to me unless I tell her everything. Even if your mum takes it badly at first, at the end of the day, she's your mum - she loves you and only wants what's best for you!

    I reckon you'd be better off telling them everything before you go away, because you'll be able to stop worrying about it, and if they react badly you'll be able to get away from home for a bit. Do you have any friends who might be willing to let you crash at their homes for a week or two if you can't face being at home once you've told them? It's important to have that kind of support in place so that you don't feel totally trapped by everything.

    Good luck with everything, I hope it goes well for you :hugs:
    Thanks for your reply! Everything you said makes sense! I would really like to tell my family, I just don't want them to freak out about it or treat me differently! How are you thinking of broaching the topic with your parents if you don't mind me asking? It's a scary thing to do. When my mum found out I used to self harm I thought she'd send me to a doctor or something but we've just pretended like it never happened, I guess she might do the same again and that wouldn't be too bad!
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    (Original post by theslightlyweird1)
    Thanks for your reply! Everything you said makes sense! I would really like to tell my family, I just don't want them to freak out about it or treat me differently! How are you thinking of broaching the topic with your parents if you don't mind me asking? It's a scary thing to do. When my mum found out I used to self harm I thought she'd send me to a doctor or something but we've just pretended like it never happened, I guess she might do the same again and that wouldn't be too bad!
    Yeah, I feel the same way Knowing that everything will be out in the open after years of keeping it to yourself is so scary. I had a similar experience with my mum funnily enough! She saw some cuts and asked "you're not cutting yourself are you?", I hurriedly answered "no, of course not", and that was the end of it I don't think parents like to admit to themselves that something might be wrong, because inevitably they're going to blame themselves in some way.

    To be honest I have no idea how I'm going to tell them. I think I might just have to sit my mum down and say something along the lines of "I've been diagnosed with depression and put on anti-depressants" and see how it goes from there. She'll be able to ask any questions she wants to, and if she totally freaks out I'll just see if I can go and stay with a friend for a while. In any case, my head of year at college is going to talk to her about it once I've dropped the initial bombshell, so I can leave some of it to her to explain.

    If you don't really want to talk to them, perhaps write it all down and hand it to them, or e-mail them while you're still at uni? That way you won't forget anything or have to deal with your parents panicking half-way through. See if a friend/relative will help you tell them about it if you find it easier to speak to them rather than your parents. Or even phone home and tell them that way; it might be easier if you don't have to physically see them and you have the option of putting the phone down if it gets too much.

    People have told me that my parents will probably be a lot more supportive about it than I think they will, and I guess the thing is that we won't know until we tell them!
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    I've been there. Hid it for 3 years undiagnosed and for about 8 months being diagnosed. I eventually had to tell my mum because I had interrupted my studies and needed financial support and the fact that I wouldn't be getting my exam results with friends meant she would find out. I too believed she would restrict me (make me come home rather than stay in London) or in your case not travel, and while she did ask this - she doesn't have power over me. I do. So I went against her wishes and she couldn't stop me and eventually came round to the idea that I was an adult and if I wanted/thought something was best for me a) it probably was b) she needs to respect that.

    Should you tell them - well there are positives and negatives for both. Many professionals will try and get you to tell your parents, don't let them push you - if you want to do it, do it in your own time. The decision to tell them can only be your choice. Just think through the consequences and keep in mind that they may not act in such a negative way as you feel they might. Good luck whatever your decision

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