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Family unsupportive of mental health

Community Member

Hi all,

I am just seeking advice about what to do when you have a family who is very unsupportive of my anxiety. Today we went shopping as a family and it was very, very busy as it was raining so everyone wanted to go to the shops as it's indoor. Anyway, my family was walking really slowly right in the middle of the main path of the shopping centre, and taking up a lot of room so people couldn't get around. I always walk at the back when we go shopping and because of this, people were standing on the back of my shoes and banging into me because of how slow we were going. I asked them so many times to walk faster because there were people behind us but they didn't care. After about an hour at the shops, I started to have an anxiety attack. I couldn't breathe, I felt like I was going to throw up, I was shaking and just felt really delirious and dizzy. I told my parents that I was having an anxiety attack multiple times and they just said, "calm down, you'll be right." So I started to work myself up and then I just pushed past them and speed walked to the food court, which is where we were heading. I sat down and put my earphones in because I was trying to distract myself. They eventually caught up and just sat down eating and chatting normal while I was struggling to breathe, shaking and crying. Then we went home and they all walked off ahead of me. We got into the car and they said, "take your earphones out its rude." So I told them I felt really unwell and couldn't breathe. They didn't reply but instead, started a new conversation. When we got home I slept for 2 hours because I was very tired and upset. When I woke up, I walked into the lounge room where they all were and they started teasing me saying, "oh look she can breathe now!" And were laughing as if it was the newist, funniest episode of the Big Bang theory. They still make a joke about it in every conversation about it and I just feel overall worthless and like my anxiety is pathetic and stupid. I'm too scared to talk to them about it because when I've tried to talk to them about this sort of thing in the past they've just laughed and then make jokes about what I said, still to this day. What should I do? Someone please help. I feel like my family is making my condition even worse.

4 Replies 4

Community Member

Hi Dogsnsushi

It definitely does sound like your family are making it worse. I'm really sorry that you have to go through this.

Do you have a good friends support network?

My family were very much like what your family sound like for the longest time. It took something really dramatic to change them and I wouldn't wish anyone else to go through that dramatic event. A big part of what got me through is that I had good friends. Well not friends - just one friend.

Even right now I am going through a really bad phase and there's no way my family would understand or support me even if they don't laugh at my mental health as much as they used too (I still see them fighting back laughter). I have made arrangements with this friend that every night at the same time he will message and ask me how my day was and what I am doing and I'll be really honest. Like if i cried at work in front of a client I'll tell him.

It doesn't sound like much but having 1 person there to hear you out can really make all the difference.

Don't forget lifeline and beyondblue chat support if it gets bad enough.


Community Member

Hi Dogsnsushi and welcome to the BB forums,

You have made a great choice to speak out here on the forum to seek help with this. I agree, you family’s lack of education about the nature of anxiety is not helping you at all. I too suffer with anxiety, it’s an awful feeling that rears it’s ugly head, and leaves you feeling like rubbish.

Are you getting any help with this from your GP or a Counsellor? If not, then I would suggest a visit to your GP would be a good idea. Ask for a long appointment so you have time to explain what’s going on. Your GP will be able to form a Mental Health Plan for you, which will allow a Medicare rebate for costs to see a Mental Health professional. Don’t be scared about the “mental health plan” thing, it’s the way the government has organised things so people can get financial assistance to see a psychologist. Psychologists are great at dealing with anxiety.

I’m assuming you’re a young person, so perhaps there is a Counsellor at Uni or School that you could go to?

Even if you are getting some assistance, it would seem that your family needs some help in understanding how difficult anxiety is to manage, and some information on how to be supportive towards you. You should mention this when you speak with your GP, Uni/School counsellor. You could even show them your post above, where you have explained everything.

In the meantime, this is YOUR thread, where you can say/write what you want, in an anonymous and confidential way. There are plenty of great people on these forums who can and will offer you support to help you, including me 🙂 All the best, cheers M 🙂

Community Member
Hi Dogsnsushi! You are totally not alone in this! My family think it is weak to be depressed & I should just snap out of it. When I told my mother I felt suicidal at one point she said I was selfish & should just kill myself 😕 My in laws use it as an excuse for their behaviour (I'm crazy & imagine things apparently) & my husband believes I choose to feel this way. Sadly some ppl just suck. Just no you are not alone & there are so many great resources out there now 🙂

Community Member

Don't worry about what your family thinks, seek someone who you can confide in and someone who you are sure with be sympathetic and understanding. Your family doesn't want to make fun of you, they just don't understand your condition. Most of the time when I am out in public, I have a really bad anxiety attack and I often refuse to go anywhere without a sick bag because of this. This is also the reason I reject most invites from friends asking if I want to hang out with them for a few hours. I am only thirteen, so my support and feedback may not be as useful and influential as most of the people replying to your story, but I want to share my opinion of what I think you should do. Make sure you find someone you can talk to about your anxiety because it is essential you feel cared for and understood.

Wishing you all the best, Amelie C