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Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

Hi @MB95,


I can completely understand the feeling of not being ready to tell family. Reading through your last post, what I am hearing is that you are often the one that is supporting and holding up your family, and that they rely on you to help them and offer support when they need it. Is that correct? A very courageous and noble thing to do for family Heart


Your posts these last few weeks show me that you are such a compassionate, empathetic and caring person- these are just some of the incredible strengths that make you such an amazing support to others around you Heart It's a real gift! But it can be so hard to talk about how you are feeling when you have been the person that other people have come to for help. At the same time, you are deserving of the same support, kindness and compassion that you give others Heart 


So many aspects of your story I can relate to, particularly around the tension between wanting to work on recovery independently, and knowing that my family were starting to see signs something was not right when I wasn't ready to talk about it- I think a lot of ReachOut members can relate to this too! Ultimately, you know yourself and your family better than anyone- do what is right and comfortable for you. You may find, like in my case, if and when you do decide to talk to your family about how you are feeling, that they may have already had an inkling something was going on. 


And yes your dog definitely counts as a family member you are close to! In fact, practicing tough conversations with a pet before speaking to a person can be really helpful too. Dogs are great listeners and you will always get support and love from them!


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Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

Thank you so much for your kind words @Jess1-RO ❤ I'd really lost sight of myself and who I am and what type of person I am and just the other week my psych asked me to list a couple of words that described me. I couldn't actually think of any so she stepped in instead and they are the same three words she used for me which is freaky!! Like we all understand, it's a slow process but I feel like I'm FINALLY making progress and tapping into some of my old strengths 😊


You're not wrong when you say "it can be so hard to talk about how you are feeling when you have been the person that other people have come to for help". I'm just so used to having to be the strong one and hide my own emotions that I find it almost impossible to let others know how I'm really feeling. I don't know, I'm pretty good at covering it up and coming across like I have my shit together so I also worry that people won't take me seriously and might think it's just for attention. Which it defiantly wouldn't be because I actually HATE attention. But it takes me ALOT to open up to someone and trust them so when they don't take me seriously it just hurts and makes it even harder to open up again. I've just been let down so much in the past and made to feel so worthless that I've kind of given up on bothering to share with others because it's like I know it won't end well.. and that hurts in itself because sometimes I just wish I had someone there for me that was willing to care just as much as I do for them. I don't mean to sound needy or selfish either but it would just be nice..


I understand my parents would probably be different because I'm their daughter but it still scares and worries me. I personally believe their mental health is also not great due to a family trauma we all experienced years ago and so I really worry about telling them because I fear they will just blame themselves which I don't want!!! And yes, I've been the one my parents come too.. moreso my mum (my dad doesn't show emotion). And I just don't want my younger siblings to know because I feel like I'm the one that is meant to be strong and protecting them? 


I know that my parents and siblings have definately caught on this past year because with adding my first year of uni stress to the mix I've really struggled to keep my head above water and not show signs of my struggles. I became pretty withdrawn and went off the grid for a bit and my mum keeps messaging me randomly some mornings to say she loves me and hopes I have a good day which she never used to do. So I feel like they're certainly onto me.. 😔


I never thought of practising with my dog 😂 I might have to give it a try! I talk to her quite a bit and it's like she knows everything the way she looks in my eyes and follows me around when I'm upset. She usually makes me cry because it's like she's truly listening but just can't respond. Sometimes I really wish she could!! 


Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

Hi @MB95,

I'm just going to start off by saying that I hope your sleep is alright because I notice some of your posts are at like 1am in the morning! Smiley Tongue (Well that's the time it shows me here in Sydney). So don't forget sleep is important!

But, thank you for checking in with me too, and it's true that i'm doing much better. <3
I definitely get the opening up to your family. What @Jess1-RO is spot on and to add to it, I think that it could even be a matter of them actually knowing (or having a pretty good idea) but not putting pressure on you to come forward. They could approach you directly, but they may realise this could be upsetting or confronting especially if you are used to being the one that helps everyone. So I think they sound like they are being pretty respectful, and those messages your Mum have sent are so cute!

I'll provide one perspective you could choose to look at the whole situation with your family (of course take it or leave it, but it helped me to get in touch with mine). I might do dot points to save the whole essays I like to write Smiley Tongue

- You mentioned you aren't super close but perhaps this is something that could bring you together and be something that helps overcome some of the past family traumas you mentioned.
- You said there wasn't anything much they can do. If you can, try and recognise how helpful some of even the smallest things are - an ear to listen, a contact you (at least) have at 2am when you're down, a shoulder to cry on or even just someone to send a message to make you smile for a moment throughout the day. If you really think about it, I think you'll find those tiny things can actually be life savers and more helpful than originally thought. (well I think so anyway 😃)
- Asking for help can be soooo hard. Maybe try tiny steps first (unrelated things) such as getting your Mum to proof read a Uni assignment or to help wrap a present - anything. Then edge up to the "can I talk to you", "what's your opinion on psychologists" or "Do you have any coping ideas?" etc. etc.
- Them worrying about you. This took me forever to realise (and they'd tell me ALL the time), but they actually worry soooo much more not knowing for sure. If you think about it, without you being even just slightly honest or open, their minds are just left to wonder. For my Mum, that was always her - thinking the worst and worrying i'd never come home again or the police would knock on the door or something. Reassurance goes a long way.
- Them not sharing their issues with you - Tell them outright you want to help and ask how they are. Also recognise that if they don't tell you as much that this could be a great opportunity to focus on yourself. You'll likely recover a little quicker and therefore be able to help them even more later! YOu've got to help yourself before you can help others properly.

I think you should be so proud for opening up to your psych about it and yes, it can be so exhausting but you did it! And crying is honestly a great de-stressor as well so don't see that as a bad thing. Being more open about it and not shutting the idea down is an excellent start.
I think the letter your psych wrote is actually a really thoughtful and good idea. That way you don't have to initiate it either. If you don't mind me asking, is the letter sealed or have you read it?
It could be a good idea to set up a table of pros and cons for giving the letter to your family and you can get some help from us too as there could be things you hadn't thought of!

- Being used to hiding everything is definitely something I can relate to, but having people notice is also a sign that things may be slipping a bit and that's okay. Perhaps you could even talk to someone at work if you get on with them?
- And of course your dog counts! As @Jess1-RO said, they are honestly the best practice and I used to talk to mine every day and they just seem to know don't they!? <3
- When I opened up to my family I was actually so desperate. I was on that line of really needing someone to do something now or I don't care, that's it and ending it all.
- It took me ages and a lot of practise with my dog but I just straight up said, can you find me someone to talk to. They also had a big inkling I wasn't doing well and honestly, she was so relieved to have it confirmed and her worries lessened because I was then going to get some help too. So even if you don't go into detail but just let them know you're getting help.
- The pushing people away I still struggle with and it certainly isn't ridiculous! But I think it's something that will get easier over time. If you can just push through the beginning, things get easier for sure. 😃It's like starting an assignment - you put it off and off and thinking about it makes you anxious but once you just start and write that first paragraph, there's just massive relief and it's so much easier after that.
- Feeling incapable is certainly not something to describe asking for help. And is shows you're even more capable if you can actually because it's not an easy thing.
- I get you wanting to wait until after you've recovered more to tell them, but they may feel like they've let you down through those toughest periods. Like they could have done more or noticed more. Idk but that's what my family told me when I had the same concerns.

It probably took me a solid year when I noticed things weren't great and then when things got very bad, it took about 6 weeks to build up the courage and to practice to basically just blurt out that I want to see someone. That was it. The 6 week build up for a 3 second sentence. And that was the extent of it. She knew I wasn't great at talking so just asked if I was okay, let me know she was there for me and helped set up the appointment. We took it slow and the psych helped to progress the relationship more.

I'm studying Health Science and Mastering in Nursing at the moment and hope to get into some more healthcare policy down the track so keen to help people out!

I'm so sorry, that definitely turned into another essay, but oh well haha 😃

Hope your day's been alright today.

Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

Thankyou so much @Alison5 all that advice is amazing and definately the sorts of things I'm needing to hear at the moment as I've been home for two days now and everytime I talk to my parents I just feel so guilty. I guess I've just learnt to be the strong one so have fallen straight back into that role since being home. I feel like I've hidden it well so far but I'm worried cracks will start to show soon because I'm also not great at lying and my mum asked me yesterday what my meds were for.. I just told her they were part of the iron and B12 stuff I'm needing to take atm and she brought it but I felt absolutely terrible lying to her like that!!! I was so angry at myself. 


When you say it's so much worse with my parents not knowing for sure because their minds are left to wonder.. my psych has said the EXACT same thing to me!! So that part defs stood out because when she said it to me too, it made me feel even worse for not telling them. Because I really don't want to cause them any pain or worry. Did your mum worry when you did confirm it though? Like mine is already suss and has asked me outright if I'm depressed and I lied and said no. So I'm kind of worried that if I do confirm it she'll just stress even more and ask me a thousand questions and want to help when honestly, I know it sounds harsh, but I kind of don't want their help. I just want them to know and then be left to deal with it on my own? Idk. 


I appreciate you comparing asking for help to writing an assignment too because I can totally relate to that with uni.. makes sense I guess.


As for the letter my psych has written, it's not sealed. She wrote it up and sent it to me via email so I could choose to do what I wanted with it. She's been encouraging me for ages to try and tell my parents what's been going on and refuses to go into any of my 'traumas' until I have appropriate supports set up. So I know it's something she is really hoping I'll do, she's not pressuring me but she's made it clear that she wants me to create a support network for myself before we get into the real shit. I haven't been doing too great the past week so I actually emailed the other psych I see seems mine is on holidays now and she also suggested a pros and cons list so I'll probably write one up sometime over the weekend and see where that gets me. So while I'm writing it I'll definately take all of your amazing advice on board!! 


I knew you'd be studying something within the health field - you're totally made for helping others!!! 😍


Also, please don't ever apologize for long messages because I love them! And I truly appreciate the time it takes you to write them, so thank you!! ❤


My days are starting to look more positive than they have been thank god! I HATE the shit days when there seems to be nothing you can do to snap out of them. It's been a tough week but I'm getting there so thanks! I hope you've had a lovely day today too and managed to do something nice for yourself! 

Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

@MB95  Sometimes it is easy to stress and worry about others finding out but in my experience people who are close to you often already know or at least have an idea that something isn’t right, and sometimes it is actually a relief to them to find out what it is and they may not be a surprised as you think...

Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

Thanks @Eden1717 ❤

Something tells me my parents aren't going to find it surprising if I do end up telling them.. but it just makes it all real which is the scary part I'm trying so hard to come to terms with at the moment!!

Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

@MB95  So it is more of a not wanting to accept it for yourself or not wanting to acknowledge it that is hard for you? Like you are keeping yourself in denial by not telling your family so you can pretend it isn’t happening? Is that what you mean? Do you know why you are having trouble coming to terms with it? 

Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

I hadn't really thought of it as denial @Eden1717 but yeah, I don't want to be stressing them out by telling them and it also makes it more real for me which I guess I'm struggling with because I'm still finding it hard to accept. Like idk, I feel like I'm slowly starting to accept that after thinking it was in my head for so long that my mental issues are in fact a real thing and that I do need help for it. But it's like admitting it to my family makes it real? Idk. It's weird and probably doesn't make any sense. Cause it doesn't make sense to me either 😂

Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

Hey @MB95

I'm so glad to see you getting so much support from the community!! 

It totally makes sense that you are feeling stressed about telling your parents. While our family can often be our biggest source of love and support, they can also often be the hardest people to open up to. As paradoxical as this seems, it's often because we don't want to worry, or cause stress for those we love. It also totally make sense that it feels like that speaking about it can make it seem more really and scary, especially if those you love see your mental illness is something that is scary. 

One way you can bring it up it a less confronting way could be to talk more about what support you need and how you are feeling. If clinical labels don't sit well with you, you don't have to use them Smiley Happy You can still gain the support you need by saying things like "Is it ok if I spend some more time with you?", "I'm feeling a little under pressure right now, would you be able to help me with some things?", or even "I'm feeling a little sad at the moment, and I could use some comfort". This allows you to be open and honest about the most important aspects of your mental illness (how you feel and the support you need), without necessarily over-alarming those you love. Let us know if this helps!

Re: Lonely and just wanting someone to care..

Hi @MB95,

When I did tell my Mum about the depression and my feelings, she was honestly so relieved. Because then she knew exactly what it was. She could research it (that made her feel helpful and better) and she wasn’t left thinking the worst.
My Mum didn’t really ask questions and I just sort of brought things up to her. So little bits at a time. If she did ask too much I’d just say I didn’t know and I was tired or something. You could always say your working it out with your psych to stop the conversation too.

I definitely get wanting to do it on your own, but you are anyway! You’re the one seeing the psych and taking the meds and that won’t change. They’ll just be some extra support when your psych is away or you’re feeling down and need to call someone. And really, mental illness or not, this is what family is for. If you can think of it that way, it may help to reach out when you need it.

Regarding the letter, I just thought that I’m sure your psych explained how much you care for them and don’t want to make them involved etc. So to give it to them could actually help make boundary’s if/when you do tell them. So they know you’re not wanting a thousand questions when you tell them. You could write it at the end so you don’t have to speak at all.

I remember writing a letter to my Mum when I was having fairly negative thoughts and basically wrote that please don’t ask me questions when you’ve finished reading because it was hard enough to give it to you. To just space questions out a bit and if I don’t want to answer, not to push me. That sort of thing so that it wasn’t too overwhelming at once. I was so proud after I gave it to her and it was a good decision.

You mentioned writing a pros and cons list. How’d that go?

I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year! Take care of yourself and we’re here if you need some help with telling your family 💜😊