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Parents want to help

Community Member
I'm having a depression episode and have recently moved back to my home town but I'm finding it hard to explain or open up to my parents as their responses lately have been not helpful. reactions like "everything will look brighter tomorrow " or "whats the matter now!" are becoming hurtful. I would like advice on how to help them understand and support me in a healthy way. I know they love me and want to help.
3 Replies 3

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi smileyk, welcome

I dont know your age do I'll answer the best I can.

Parents often dont kniw how to handle some situations. You also will find it difficult to change that part of them.

80% of people are naive to the effects of mental illness. Tell some that you are depressed and they might say "cheer up then". This is mentioned in the following thread (use google)

Topic: they just dont understand, why?-beyondblue

Sad to say that results in people with mental illness communicating with their own types, fellow sufferers, to get some empathy. It is the way it is.

So try to understand, it isnt that they dont love you, they just dont get it.

Seek out meditation groups, talk on this forum and read what you can.

Tony WK

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Smileyk,

It's hard for people who haven't experienced mental illness to empathise with it or offer realistic solutions. I'm sure they care but it's just unfortunate that they can't really offer sound advice. Mental illness is just baffling to some people and you may have to look elsewhere for real sources of advice. Do you have any other avenues available? E.g. a therapist, spoken to a GP, supportive friends etc.?

Try looking beyond them and try not to blame them, like I said, mental illness is just a strange burden when it's viewed outside the lens by somebody that doesn't relate.


Community Member

Hi smileyk,

I so understand the battle with trying to get people around you to understand how to talk to you or understand you when you're struggling with depression. The thing is, you may be subconsciously expecting that if you explain depression in a certain way that they'll be able to tell you the things you need to hear. In reality, professionals know how to do this best.

In my experience with depression, I didn't share everything with my psychologist and instead used my friends as therapists, always waiting on them to say the right thing so I would feel better. They eventually stopped saying anything at all, and I realised that all I really wanted them to say was, "I love you, I'm here and you will be okay."

By telling you that "Everything will look brighter tomorrow," they are supporting you. They're trying to say what they think you need to hear! Whether it be tough love that translates as a lack of understanding, then sobeit - tough love it still love.

If you feel they genuinely don't understand the severity of depression and how it can impact your life, then it's up to you whether you want to let them in on the details. You can sit them down and clearly explain that it's an illness and that you're struggling - and then the freedom of what you let them in on is up to you. Just depends on whether you feel its worth it.

If you believe that them understanding will actually be beneficial then I encourage you to explain it to them. I know that when people didn't understand me, I wanted them to understand because I was furious that they didn't - that's not the right reason to explain the ins and outs of an illness. The right reason may be because you want to feel supported by someone close to you, you need someone to look out for warning signs, etc.

Imagine if you couldn't see cerebral palsey. There's already a lack of understanding as it is, but take away the psychicality of it and most of the world becomes naive. Unfortunately, this is how it is for mental illness in many cases.

The best person to take this question to would be a counsellor or psychologist, but if you feel as if you're making the right call, then I encourage you to put that into action.

If they don't understand after all of it, it would do good to reassure them that them trying to support you is helpful! It definitely doesn't sound like they don't love you.