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Depression as a taboo

Community Member

Hey, this is the first time I’m actually acknowledging the way I feel... even typing this makes me feel like i’m being dramatic in some way, and will probably burden the person who may choose to read this. I’m sorry and thank you.

For a long time I’ve been feeling like every day is such a drag, I have hobbies and I have amazing friends. But for some reason it’s like I want to be disconnected from everything and everyone. I don’t feel like there is a reason for me to wake up even though there are many, I just feel like running but I don’t even know from what. I’ve had 1 panic attack just when I was in year 8 (and now I’m 18) in which I’ve had to be hospitalised just for me overthinking common situations.

Recently I’ve received my ATAR, and it was surprisingly high however it gave me no sense of satisfaction. My parents were delighted and so were my friends. I recieved an offer from my dream university, yet I felt no joy. I always feel like I’m disappointing myself, like I just can’t be happy. A lot of people that are close to me often say that I’m changing into someone who’s ‘boring’ and emotionless, honestly that really stings. The truth is all I feel is darkness and I wouldn’t want anyone to know that, so I just suppress my feelings instead. I try to be happy and cheerful, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

Inside I know that I am depressed but I am way too scared to get help, or even admit it to myself out lout. Signing up here, was probably the biggest step I’ve taken in these few years. About a month ago, my mother asked me if I’m depressed, however she said it in a very undermining tone that made me hesitantly reply, “heck no, I’m no maniac,” to which she responded; “that’s my strong child.” I love my mother, except in our south-Asian culture this is just not really talked about. I just don’t know what to do, this issue is such a taboo amongst my family and makes me feel weak, like I’m disappointing not only myself, but everyone around me. I hate feeling this way but I can’t make it go away, and every day it becomes worse. I just have no idea how to even bring up this topic with anyone I know, because I never tend to talk about the way I feel. But I have to because I can’t go on pretending anymore, and I’m sick of hearing “you’re becoming boring,” and “it’d be nice if you showed some expressions.”


3 Replies 3

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hi Felix, it's a warm welcome to you and a pleasure to be able to talk with you.

I understand that your culture doesn't believe in talking about depression, it maybe taboo or it maybe considered to be non existent or frowned upon and you are not the first person to say this, but each time I feel sorry not only for you but to those other people, because there is no escaping that depression does exist.

This darkness you are facing can be hidden, pretending to be fine, and that maybe OK on the surface, but it's not deep down in how you feel and this is what makes up our personality, how we respond, how we cope and how we are able to go from one day to another.

Even other families don't want any of their kids to say 'I'm depressed mum' because they take it as being as though it's their fault, this maybe the case or alternatively it has nothing to do with them, it's because of other reasons.

The more you keep it hidden away the worse it will become, and the more you are in denial the longer it will take before you start to get the help you need.

Sometimes in life, we have to realise that we're not well, we are not socialising and we can't get through from day to day, that's when you must go and see your doctor to get the help we really need. Geoff.

Community Member

Hello Felix101 and welcome to this forum where we explore our multicultural experiences in regards to mental health.

Thank you for taking the step to open up and share your experience. The more you talk about it, write it down, share it, the more it will help you.

Sometimes there are no particular reasons as to why we feel the way we do. Growing up is tough. Going through puberty is not easy. Being from a culturally and linguistically diverse background family may pose additional expectations on children of migrants who often have to live with one set of rules, beliefs, language etc at home and another in the outside world. This is tough in itself and can affect our mental health and self-image, especially at a time when we desperately seek to fit in, blend and to belong as we form our identity.

I remember how depressed I was when I got accepted to uni while my parents were celebrating and calling everyone to tell the 'news'. They never knew that I was miserable and empty inside and just wished I'd die. I believed that they were proud of me simply because I succeeded, and not for who I was. They were showing off as if I was a new car or some possession or trophy that reflected their great work raising me! I remember wondering if they'd be so proud of me if I didn't pass my VCE or was unemployed etc.

As we grow up it is normal to question motives and to change. Our old friends may not be meeting our needs anymore. We start seeing the world with different eyes. Many of the hidden messages we receive from our families may influence us at a subconscious level.

It's unfortunate but often many parents don't realise the damage they do to their children with their tone of voice and expression. Often they may force their children to actually deny their own feelings and to not open up to them and this often happens cause they're not ready to face reality and listen or wish they are wrong when deep inside they are aware that something is going on. Parents often internalise things too and believe that it is their fault and that whatever issue their child is facing it's because they failed as parents or somehow it is their responsibility. Not many can accept that it's not all about them. A child may suffer and have issues without necessarily being a result of 'bad' parenting.

Sometimes the people closer to us are the ones who understand less. Often, speaking to a professional who is not emotionally invested in us is the best solution. Hope you can do that. 🙂

Community Member

Hey Felix101,

I hope you are feeling better since you wrote this last post. Your story completely echo mine and I am 38. This still affects me since I was a teenager exactly when you wrote your post.

I would say try and take it easy with life, I think the asian culture push us a bit too hard and we climb that success ladder and get to the top and find there is no view but just a shabby room. Enjoy life and do what you can 🙂 Happiness is success

Thanks for your post