I've just been diagnosed with depression by my counselor. I'll have to see a doctor about it so they can maybe prescribe me some medication, which the counselor cannot do. I'm ashamed of it and I'm scared of this diagnosis interfering with my future in a negative way.
The thing is I'm covered still by my mother's medication assurance so she'll know once she receives her receipt that I'm dealing with depression and taking medication for it. I either have to tell her or she'll learn it all by herself and I'm not sure that is such a good idea.
But, I'm scared of her reaction. I'm scared of her telling the entire family that I'm dealing with a mental illness. I'm just ashamed of it.
What has been your own experience with depression ?
I'm sorry this is so difficult for you, but it may help to know that depression is the common cold of mental illness. Millions of people have it, and many take medication for it. Even some very well-known celebrities have depression and take medication for it. I understand that some people still view depression or any mental illness with a lot of stigma, though. Might you ask your counselor for advice on how to talk to your mother? Talking to family about mental illness isn't an entirely unusual problem for clients, so it's likely your counselor has had to advise clients how to handle those situations before.
I do think that it's best to have that talk and get the help you need rather than to quit just to avoid talking to your mother. Depression can be debilitating, but medication helps many people cope with the symptoms of it so they can continue to function in their daily lives. Of course, it's not a quick fix. Usually it takes a few weeks for the medication to start working, and you may need to try a few different pills before you find one that works for you.
Also, you've mentioned in the past that you sometimes drink a fair amount; that's something I would highly recommend not doing as alcohol is a depressant.
This has a listing of online support groups for depression. You may find it useful as a place to connect with others who are dealing with similar problems.
[ 07-15-2009, 06:56 PM: Message edited by: orca ]
-------------------- Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007
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I was depressed for quite a few years. No actual diagnosis, which always bothered me at the time since self diagnosis is bad and all that, but retroactively I really don't know what else suicidal thoughts and my constantly sad and uncaring attitude could be.
There's been a wave of suicide in my hometown and my high school, and on the drive home from college this year with my mother I did tell her that I used to be very depressed. She was incredibly supportive and I learned some interesting things about her.
It is hard to share these things, especially with people who have never experienced it before, and I've noticed those people tend to not really "get" it. But I've also noticed they do try.
When I finally started talking about it I was told that it was the step in the right direction and I believe that's true. So, good for you for taking that step. The next step is never easier than the last, but as cheesey as this sounds, they all get you somewhere.
BlackCat: I'm sorry that you had such a hard time. It does seem like talking to your mother about this has helped you a great deal though - and that's a great place to start. It seems that not meeting with someone that could give a more medical outlook has bothered you in the past, is this something that still bothers you? And if so, do you think you would be willing to seek out counseling in your area? This may be something you can talk with your mom about, since it sounds like she's been really supportive thus far, and we'd be happy to help you find some resources in your area if that's something you'd like help with. As well, know that we're here as support too, if you ever feel like talking more we'd be glad to offer what support and resources we can for you.
-------------------- "Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon Posts: 3429 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2008
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I thought I'd share some of my experiences with you. I was first diagnosed with depression a couple of years ago. I can relate to some of the things you're feeling. I felt ashamed to tell anyone. I felt weak and like a failure because I needed help. I felt like I wasn't entitled to be depressed because other people had so many more problems than I had. I was scared that they would put this on my university record (-they didnt!).
It took me 6 months after the diagnosis to tell my family. I told them over the phone and it was hard. At first, my mother didnt understand what depression was. She asked if I was having a "nervous breakdown" and was on Valium. She couldn't believe that her daughter was on Prozac. Worst of all, she blamed herself. But after it got worse, it got better. Mostly, I think they were relieved that I had told them what was happening. Previously, they knew that something was really wrong with their noncommunicative daughter but didn't know what, which was understandably scary for them.
One idea I do have about telling parents (my GP suggested) is leaving them something to read. We have quite a good pamphlet called "What to do when someone you love is depressed". I know it can be hard to say the words and this can help to start the conversation, at least.
Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to mental illnesses. But what I strongly feel is that we shouldn't have to be ashamed. It's not shameful to name what you have. It's not shameful to ask for the help and support you need. It's a strong thing to do. That's also something I'd hope my patients understand when they talk with me.
I used to think that needing medication and counselling was a sign of weakness that I needed to hide from people. Now I think of it as a way that I actively take care of myself to keep myself well...so that I can continue taking care of and helping other people. In our job, we spend so many hours a week dealing with other people's problems and illnesses. Even when we are completely well ourselves, I think it's very reasonable and sensible to take an hour now and then to talk through our own issues. It's quite a stressful course in addition to all the other things we go through in life and I'd bet you'd find many of your classmates have dealt with depression as well.
Hopefully, some of what I've said is of use to you . Take care (also you, BlackCat).
-------------------- "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."
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