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Family won’t let me talk - undermining my illness

Community Member

Hi everyone! Just feeling a bit frustrated at the moment. It seems every time I bring up my depression or anxiety no-one in my family wants to listen and they just want to change the subject or literally get away from me.

It is as though they think I am just whining about the same old subject and they don’t want to hear about it. I feel I want to talk about it as it is my everyday life! I’m not sure why they don’t want to listen but it seems like selfish reasons to me. They don’t want to hear all that negativity.

Miraculously both of my eldest sisters let me know this week that they have had depression but they were able to come out of it on their own. Haha My eldest has let me know she had depression when she broke up with her husband and currently suffers from anxiety also! Amazing.

My sister just above me in age who is much more responsible also just told me she also has anxiety. And when she caught a plane recently, because the guy next to her was fearful, he also suffered from anxiety.

It is very frustrating when I have had both since 17 and I know they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

All of a sudden, you get sad = depression, you feel stressed and overwhelmed, must = anxiety. No doctors or medication necessary though you just definitely have it.

All of this is insulting to me after having Major Depression and Major Anxiety for the last 26 years. If only I could give them (they are beautiful sisters) but if only I could give them one day of anxiety or depression just so they could understand.

4 Replies 4

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Juliet

I truly feel for you so much as you manage to the best of your ability the intense challenges that come with overwhelming levels of depression and anxiety.

I find the way people relate to depression, for a start, to be interesting. Being a gal who managed to make it out of about 15 years in depression, I'd say there are a couple of key factors involved when it comes to the way we experience depression - the depth of the experience and the length of the experience. Being able to compare long term depression with brief periods where I can feel the depressing nature of my challenges, I have to say nothing compares with long term depression. It becomes seriously exhausting over months and years and has a definite overall 'Life will always be this way' kind of feel to it. While I face a couple of depressing factors in my life right now, the mantra 'Ride the wave until it disperses' makes things a little easier. Nothing like 15 years of being on the same wave or wavelength. While I can still feel the depths of a brief depression and how seriously dark it can get, I don't feel the length factor.

At 51, it was only in the last year that I experienced a couple of separate weeks of intense anxiety. Again, while I felt the impact, the intensity, a couple of weeks out of my life was much easier to manage than years of experiencing that. I imagine years of anxiety must be incredibly exhausting to manage. I imagine it's also incredibly fearful, fearing when then next panic attack will come on. I really do feel for you so very much.

I've found, from my experience, most of the people who don't want to discuss mental health issues haven't been there and/or don't believe in them or else they've developed the idea 'We should keep things to our self and try and work it out on our own'. Most of the people who are open to discussing mental health issues have been there or are there. Wanting to make better sense of them is natural for a lot of people who are trying to work themself and life out or want to help others do that.

People not wanting to hear 'negativity', hmm, yes. Frustrating, hey. For a sensitive person who's sensitive enough to feel their thoughts/internal dialogue, feel their internal imagery, feel their stressors, triggers, the words and actions of others, their own nervous system etc, it's a challenge. It's a hard thing to master, being a feeler, being a sensitive. Being insensitive works well for others; this way, they don't have to feel as much.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Juliet, you have contributed so much on the forums it's sad to hear your concerns.

There could be several reasons why this is happening, and even though your sisters may also have anxiety and depression, they don't believe or want to think, that what you are suffering could be any worse than what they themselves have and don't want to hear from you.

Another situation is that because they are suffering they don't want you to tell them, because this could mean that most of the family have a MI condition and what would all the others think, so again don't want to hear from you.

This applies especially with your parents who pay no attention to what any of you have to say, because how would their friends be thinking as in some circles MI might not be called 'taboo' but when it comes to family it still is.

You can't compare depression and anxiety with someone else to what you are suffering from, so their rate that it's 9/10, might not seem that way to you, whereas yours is 12/10 may seem not to be true for them, only we can tell how we actually feel.

Sometimes it upsets us that the family members we love don't want to help us get through this.

I'm very sorry.

My best.


Community Champion
Community Champion


Just to add my 2c worth...

my brother does not like to talk about it either. From that point on, I made sure not to talk to him about it. There are many possible reasons for him not wanting to "help".

Would it be nice if he could listen?

Yes, I guess so.

So you frustration with this situation makes sense.

Are there friends you can talk to instead? That is, if you need to vent about this things or work out some way forward.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Juliet,

I'm sorry this happening and for the way you are feeling.

I think it's hard for other people to truly understand what we are going through unless they have been through it themselves.

You know what you are going through and you know that it's very real and that's enough.

Can I ask if you are currently receiving professional help for what you are going through?

We are here to support you.