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stigma and mental health

I just wanted to ask on here but are you guys honest about your mental health issues with friends and family and society like are you open about your mental health or do you hide everything? why/why not? 

 

I even though it is no one else's business I always feel like i am carrying around a huge secret because i dont disclose and especially with my friends. anyway thanks in advance for anyone who replies i would love to hear others experiences. 

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Re: stigma and mental health

When I was younger, I never spoke about it with anyone because I was brought up in an environment where mental health was never spoken about or recognised, or seen as a sign of weakness. It wasn't until this year actually that I started to open up about it with close friends that understand what I am going through, and it feels great to be able to share that with certain people I'm close with, even though I can't with my own family. 

I think there have been increased efforts in the past years to reduce stigma around mental health but of course there are still too many people that claim to be supportive, who really just run away when they are faced with the realities of it. I previously had a group of friends who were like this.

I'm so glad I've found people that understand me now, those are the friends worth keeping around!


At the end of the day, not everyone is going to understand the struggles of mental health. I've been in treatment for a year now and I'm finally beginning to accept that my illness is just a part of who I am and I am going to have to learn to manage to live with it. Not everyone will be this understanding - even I refused to believe there was a problem for a long time. 

 

You should open up to those who you feel comfortable with and believe they will understand it, without judgement. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having mental health issues, and you shouldn't feel ashamed/embarrassed about it (even though I'll admit I do feel that way some times). Some people simply just can't relate/understand it as much as others do.

Glad you have found the community here who are amazing and very understanding! 

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Thanks for making this thread, @Eden1717  I think this is a really important discussion to have and I hope more forum users are able to share their thoughts around this. 

I think what @c0penhagen is saying is true that sometimes we share things with others but it can take time for them to really understand our experiences and this can be really challenging. I also think that it can be really difficult feeling like you're keeping something from others but balancing that with knowing that it's your business and you have a right to privacy. Really interested to hear others thoughts Cat Happy 

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Re: stigma and mental health

@Eden1717 it depends.

 

Because my mental health issues affect pretty much every part of my life, there are lots of times when they come up for me, especially when needing to ask for accommodations. 

 

But I have to be really careful about what I do and don't say.

 

Like people are annoying but not dangerous when I mention my autism and depression, so I can mention them when I need to. (There's still judgement though, and that does hurt a bit)

 

I don't mention my anxiety as much because some people like "playing" with it and doing things to purposely make me scared, and I've got a lot of abuse from my brother about it.

 

I can't mention the cPTSD even to mental health professionals because people either flat out ignore it or ask me what could have been that traumatizing in a really obnoxious way. Like they expect me to go over my trauma when they obviously won't believe whatever I say was traumatic.

Which means that I can't ask for accommodations surrounding it. 

Like I can't ask for a violent tv show that's causing flashbacks to be changed over because everyone thinks I'm exaggerating when I say flashbacks because... I'm not a former soldieror something? Idk.

 

I don't talk about my psychosis to people who aren't mental health professionals. Even to other doctors. People make thier views on psychosis very clear and I don't feel safe bringing it up.

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@Eden1717 thanks for posting, this is an important topic- it's great we are having healthy and productive conversations around it!

 

I personally believe in strong boundaries, but I have a strong support network who I call on for help with self-care and positive distraction, or just to tell them I don't feel the greatest. I don't even go into what's bothering me; I just let them know so I can get it off my chest and therefore don't have to 'act' happy or like everything's ok if I don't want too. I do the same for my friends too. 

I hope this helps; I guess what I'm trying to say is, you don't have to tell them about your issues and what it means for you. You can just let them know when you are feeling down/overwhelmed etc so that you can be yourself around them and they can be there for you, even just a bit, in their own way. They don't necessarily have to know why.

 

 

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Hey @Tiny_leaf it's really interesting to hear your insights on this, I think there is a growing understanding of some mental health issues but others not so much and this effects which one's we're comfortable discussing with other people, which I think is what you're saying here, (correct me if i'm wrong!) It's really disappointing that you've had shitty experiences with doctors around psychosis, it's so disheartening and it just should not be the case! I feel like this thread topic is so important to discuss these issues, because things are changing - but not enough, do you agree?

Also @Tay100 I really like what you're saying about boundaries, it can be so helpful to really reflect on what you are and aren't comfortable with so that when the time comes you've already made a decision about what you want to share - and you don't get that "overshare hangover" !

And i think the point you're making about not having to talk about your issues, but instead just talking about how you feel in the moment makes a lot of sense, I reckon that is a great boundary/strategy.

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Thanks for making this thread @Eden1717. It's great to see what others think about this topic. I personally think part of reducing the stigma around mental health is to talk about it more frequently and openly, and I have so much respect for people who are open and honest about it.

 

I currently don't have a diagnosis, but back when I did, I would only talk about it with people who would understand/had experienced the same thing, or my lecturers when I asked for deadline extensions. However, I was open about how I was feeling and my symptoms with my friends, without disclosing my diagnosis (some of them could connect the dots, but the ones who did were also the ones who understand). I also hid it from my family because I was living away from home and didn't want to worry them. And I kept it from my employer because I didn't want to be viewed differently. I didn't feel like I was keeping a secret, I probably wouldn't just walk around telling everyone I have a cold or a serious health condition.

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Hey @November13, I like what you are saying about reducing the stigma around mental health. It is really important and we all still have a lot more work to do. I personally love seeing people on social media sharing their mental health journey Smiley Happy

It sounds like you have been open about your mental health while putting in different boundaries depending on who you are talking to. For a lot of people it is about whether they feel comfortable sharing that information with someone and whether that person is going to be understanding. I know a lot of people can feel obliged or pressured to tell other people, however there is a lot of power in realising that you get to choose who you tell.

When I think about sharing personal information, I try to reflect on a) Will this be helpful for me? b) What response am I hoping for? How likely is this given what I know/past experience?

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@Eden1717 When i was younger i tried to tell my family the issues i was going through but they believed i was making it up which hurt so i stopped telling them, i used to tell my second family all the time if they noticed that i looked sad but now that i've fallen out with em i don't tell anyone at all. I now use music as a alternative way to help me mentally and it pretty much makes me happy

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I've been diagnosed Bipolar I for over 3 years now and have stopped telling people as I have had bad reactions when I do tell people for example, "Seriously?" or "But you seem fine?". Yes, I'm a fine in the sense that I've been in remission for about 2 years but still have the disorder... 

 

At this point, I do not even know whether or not some of my friends know that I have Bipolar I because I cannot recall ever telling them. I just feel uncomfortable disclosing this kind of information to the point where I have not told previous employers or even my university about my condition.