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How could I make my family understand and see that I have mental illnesses?

Community Member
Hello, I've been diagnosed with Anxiety, Depression, as well as PTSD. My family struggles to believe that I am suffering from these mental illnesses which are causing me to feel even more left out and alone than I already do. I am currently going to a psychologist and I am on medication as well. I want to go see a psychiatrist to get me the right medication as it is not as effective as it should be. Since I've been diagnosed about 6 months ago, I feel very exposed because my family know and think I must be weird or seeking attention, in which I am not. Since I mentioned I want to see a psychiatrist my mum commented "But there's nothing wrong with you, you're perfectly normal. It's not necessary" When in reality I've been hiding my emotions from society, crying myself to sleep, acting in secret, contemplating harm or running away, abusing substances to help me cope with all this pain, struggling to go to school and work, and even doing my normal morning routine like applying makeup. I tend to hide everything from my family because I know that if I open up to them they will think I'm crazy, or worry about me at night. How can I open up to them in a correct manner so that I don't feel embarrassed or ashamed about my mental illnesses? There are many nights I wish I could call the ambulance because I wish someone else could tell them how serious this is. Thank you, any advice will be appreciated.
1 Reply 1

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Nellsy~

I'd like you to feel you did the right thing and are being made welcome for that post. Here no one is going to say you don't need treatment or everything is normal. Too many of us have been in the same situation.

It's no sort of life crying in bed, using the wrong things or desperately needing to escape. It really does need to get better for you. Actually I'm pretty impressed having those illnesses and actually keeping going to school and work, that would take a pretty determined and responsible person.

I have the same illnesses and had to leave work, and later tried study and found it hard, though I did get there.

It's a common problem about families, their basic misguided ideas about mental health, and how to show them the true picture. You sound as if you have been doing what I did to start with, putting on a mask and not showing how bad things are. That did make things easier to deal with for a short time but overall was probably quite a bad move, as not only did others not realize how serious things were, but it made me feel isolated and less worthy as I had to hide things.

I'm guessing you have already had a conversation with you mother and others, and it has not had much effect. People who have not suffered a mental illness often have no idea, and consequently act as if nothing was wrong. Is there anyone that understands you can talk to?

In your place I'd consider seeing if your doctor can explain it to your mother and perhaps some other family member too. Coming from a professional rather than an offspring could make a lot of difference. Why not talk to your GP about the idea?

Incidentally your psychologist would be unable to prescribe meds, but your GP can, and I presume is the one supplying the current regime. Is it worth explaining where they are falling down to him/her and see if they can be adjusted?

I hope you can come back and talk more