No not that kind of coming out. I’m talking about a completely different kind of admission to what’s going on in my heart and in my mind…
Late last year I was diagnosed with depression. I wasn’t terribly surprised by this, I had known for a long time that something wasn’t right, but after everything that happened with my ex and the set of circumstances I was then landed in afterwards I had been putting how I felt down to what was going on in my life. However, after a while I started to pay a little more attention to the way I was feeling and realised that I found myself in tears over next to nothing everyday. I found it hard to give a ‘normal’ measured response to things completely out of my control, and these were often very minor issues such as plans with a friend being cancelled. I think how isolated I was a lot of the time possibly had a lot to do with it and of course these sorts of feelings can be a real downward spiral.
For months and months though, because I had days where I felt perfectly fine and I was so Proud of myself for how I take care of Snoo by myself and that we had managed to Escape from such a terrible time with her father I told myself I was just having a few bad days…or weeks…or months.
After my doctor diagnosed me and we discussed the course of treatment, I left the surgery feeling lighter somehow. It wasn’t just me being moody or miserable- the chemicals and receptors in my brain were just misbehaving a bit but it could be fixed and with help, I could find a way to feel better.
What threw me into a spiral of near despair though was the realisation of some of my doctors advice- that I should tell the people close to me, so that they could give me the proper support. My relationship with my family has been difficult for the last 10 years or so. I get on fantastically with my Dad but he is the only family member I don’t live as near to and to be quite honest, I had been surprised by my Mother in the last year or more. Everyone handles things differently and of course she doesn’t know the whole story about the ex, but I do believe that if my Snoo was ever in the position I was in, I would have done more. I would have made myself more available to her. I would have given her more support… y’know, obviously from the prison cell I’d be in after beating to death any man who dared bring fear to my child.
I had felt isolated for a long time and felt that, although I’m an adult and a parent myself and I have to stand on my own two feet etc, I had felt a little like maybe they could have been a bit more supportive than they had been.
Now I have a younger brother who ‘came out’ roughly 2 years ago. He and his boyfriend have been together around 2 maybe nearly 3 years now. We had all known for a Long time before he told us that he was gay, I have felt it since he was a child. So nobody was either surprised or really bothered about this ‘admission’, we were mainly just happy that he had felt confident enough with himself and comfortable telling us all.
My ‘coming out’ felt very different. Depression and mental health issues are STILL surrounded by stigma and I admit in the past myself to being quick to judge or just not understanding when I found out that someone I knew suffered with depression. I wasn’t suicidal, I had no thoughts of self harm or the terrible self loathing that many sufferers experience. I just was not in control of my emotions and felt desperately unhappy a lot of the time which I knew was not ‘normal’. If there were a ‘spectrum’ of depression I realise I am incredibly fortunate to be at the less severe end of it.
However because of this I knew my telling my family would be met by scepticism and a barrage of questions. I knew that what a doctor, a health professional had deduced after a number of meetings after a period of weeks spanning into months, and what I had known myself to be very likely, would be met with a line of questioning that followed the logic of disbelief. I feared that I may be accused of being over dramatic, or that I would be told to pull myself together. However I also feared that if they did understand, that if my coming out were met with sympathy and understanding then possibly, even then, nothing would change. That I would still feel rejected and upset that they were not there for me the way I wanted them to be. That I still would not be able to just call my mother (who lives 1/2 a mile away) if myself or Snoo were unwell or I was exhausted and run down or any of those situations and say “Please can you come and help me?”.
Resultingly. I have told my boyfriend and my two best friends that I have depression and am taking medication and have been referred for counselling. I have told my sister and the reaction was pretty much “Oh… right”. She was of course concerned, but she is young and life has not yet taught her how best to handle such information. I know she wanted to be able to say the right thing but simply did not know what that might be.
I have not told anyone else. Much less my mother. I don’t feel it will help. But I feel sad that I am not close enough to them to try and let them help me. I don’t believe it would be ‘the best thing’ and frankly, people knowing makes me feel vulnerable.
I wonder why it is that sexuality, once so much of a greater taboo, is now rightly seen as someone’s right to express love and passion for whoever they want to be with, we completely accept that people are born who they are and that cannot and should not be changed or dictated. But when it comes to mental health so many people still don’t know what to say or even believe in it as an Illness. Interesting how you could take anti-biotics for an infection or any number of things and even though the symptoms are invisible no-one would question it. But with depression, the symptoms are invisible often to everyone but the person suffering and yet it is so often met with an attitude of ‘yes but what’s wrong with you?’.
What do you think? Have any of my fellow readers suffered or are still suffering with depression? Have you told your nearest and dearest and how was it received? I for one feel I am still in the closet with my problems.