Should you keep your mental illness a secret? Watch

Anonymous #1
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I have depression and anxiety for about 2 years I also have high functioning autism which if not a mental illness but a developmental disorder apparently. I have been getting treatment for depression due the past year I had cbt which I think just wasn't for me. I am currently on medication.

Thinking about it I regret telling My grandparents about it and my aunt because they are all so against the medication I take going to the extent of hiding it from me (my grandma) when I am visiting her. They all want me to stop taking my medicine and don't seem to understand depression as they probably never had strong urges to commit suicide.

After starting my medicine unpleasant thoughts and thoughts of suicide drastically decreased. I recognised when not taking my medicine when my grandma hid them I would only sleep 5 hours and I would feel very down to the point I would cry.

When I first had bouts of depression I was very ashamed and didn't want to let school know but I eventually did as my therapist persuaded me to. I am very ashamed about having autism also only my closest friends, school, closest family members.

I guess the reason I feel like that is because of the stigma attached and also many people don't seem to understand the conditions themselves very well and thus make unfair judgements.

Share your experiences.
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marinade
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You shouldn't keep mental illness a secret - that leads to isolation and a lot of thoughts that are very negative to your mental health. This is a general point if anyone thinks I am telling people what to do.

That doesn't mean you should tell everyone. It's your choice who you tell and that is a difficult choice often with hard work. Perhaps it could be family, perhaps it could be particular friends or acquaintances.

Some people tell their families/gf/bf/workplace and get really positive stories, a lot of people somewhere in the middle and some negative.

I don't tell my parents (grandparents are all dead now), both of them have mental illness themselves but also have very limited insight into other people and there is the question of how aware they are of it in themselves and other people (almost 0% I would say in my father's case). I volunteer for a mental health charity - my parents have absolutely no idea I do that, nor do most people I know in real life. I don't tell most of my friends (one was really negative about it). I have two friends who I can talk to about mental health stuff and that's good enough for me. I have other strangers that I can talk and listen to about anxiety/depression. At current university I haven't disclosed it to my department/faculty as I think it would be an extremely negative thing. At my last two workplaces some people found out about it as it was disclosed without my permission and until the last year I was there, that was pretty much entirely negative. You get pigeon-holed and people over read you. Mental health disclosure in relationships - 100% negative experiences for me there too.
Last edited by marinade; 1 week ago
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bones-mccoy
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It's down to you really. If you know a particular person won't react well to knowing about your illness then it's perfectly okay not to tell them, especially if they're going to make comments which lead to you feeling worse or get all judgemental. However I don't think keeping everything to yourself is healthy and at least someone should know about your struggles, whether that be a family member, friend, doctor, therapist etc. This is especially important when first starting psychiatric medication as someone else can keep an eye on your behaviour and look for any changes which may signify a decline in someone's mental state as often people do start feeling more suicidal in the first weeks of taking meds.

And I'm sorry to have to say this but if your grandma is hiding your medication then you really need to minimise the amount of contact you have with her, or at least keep medication on you at all times so she has zero access. Not allowing someone to take their prescribed medication is a wholly irresponsible and dangerous thing to do regardless of their personal feelings about the situation.
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