Note: Mumsnet has not checked the knowledge, experience or professional qualifications of anyone posting on Mumsnet Talk, so this is not necessarily the best place to seek help if you're feeling seriously distressed or suicidal. Mumsnet cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice and support.

why is depresion such a taboo...

(59 Posts)
pud1 Mon 28-Jan-13 11:58:17

i know this will have been done a thousand times but i just wanted to get the general feeling on why people just dont talk about mh.

i am a very open person ( probably too much) and i have just been put on fluxotene ( dont know the spelling) for mild depression. it has been a wonder. i feel so much better and it has started a snowball of things getting better in my life, i am not as stressed with the dcs so they are calmer, my relationship has improved beyond measure and i am actually known to crack a smile now. since i have been on them i have talked to friends and family about it and have been amazed by the amount of people who are either on them or have been feeling as low as i was. we would not be embarrassed about telling people we take anti-biotics for a physical illness so why not talk about ads in rl.

as i said sorry if this has been done before.

Crawling Mon 28-Jan-13 12:02:23

I suffer pychosis so I dont tell anyone as generally people get scared Ive spoken to lots of people who take anti ds but never had a person say they take anti pyschs people are just to scared to because some people would act with hatred and disdain and when you are unwell you cant really deal with negative opinions.

JustAHolyFool Mon 28-Jan-13 12:04:55

Because a physical illness doesn't cause your personality to change in any way.

We live in a society that emphasises confidence, cheerfulness...even if you are feeling like shit, the stock answer to "how are you?" is "fine". Any deviation from that marks you out as a bit of an oddball.

Look at how people react to people like Andy Murray - not saying he has depression, but he's a bit dour so people hate him. They only like cheery happy people.

Depression is different to a physical illness.

amillionyears Mon 28-Jan-13 19:54:05

I think, at work it is taboo, because a person does not know how an employer, or worse, a future employer will take it, and doesnt want to appear weak or that they may need to take time off work in the future.

A person can be afraid to tell friends and family because they sometimes feel ashamed, and dont want to come across as weak.

Also, the very nature of depression means that often,self confidence is lost, or lessened.

Unfortunatlyanxious Mon 28-Jan-13 22:57:11

Because people are horribly judgemental and MH issues are still quite often laughed at, not believed etc.

I have just had the misfortune of being dumped by a friend apparently I am great when I'm well but when I'm not well I'm not worth the effort.

Stuff like that.

I'm feeling quite depressed recently and I can't bring myself to talk to anyone about it, couldn't even bring myself to start a thread about it because my confidence is low, I feel upset and tired of feeling this way. I don't want to bore or burden friends and family with it. And I think they don't want to hear it, as we've all got problems and mine probably aren't that big, so you think they'll think you're melodramatic, miserable, attention seeking or whatever.

To be fair I think there's a huge percentage of the population on antidepressants at any one time. But hardly anyone talks about it so you think they're all ok.

I think a lot of mine is probably partially due to hormones as I'm 11+3 weeks pregnant, but I'm prone to depression, not on meds because of ttc the baby, and to be honest I could probably do with being on some to help me cope day to day. I feel like a shit boring mum right now and I can't tell anyone because they always try to "fix" things by being really helpful and capable, which just makes me feel more like a useless sad loser, if that makes sense. sad

pud1 Tue 29-Jan-13 10:12:20

James - this is how i felt. not able to talk about it. i also did not have any massive problems that would be a cause. i am probably going to be no help as i dont know if you can medicate whist pg but have you spoken to your doctor or mw about it.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 10:16:24

I've just been diagnosed with bipolar and am not hiding it. It's hard but I'm trying to show no shame so when I've been asked why I'm off work or how I'm feeling I've been brief but honest in my answer.

Some people have obviously ended the conversation quickly and walked away hmm but most have been very supportive and even then gone on to say that they haven't issues but haven't felt able to talk about them.

I'm still getting my head around it myself and I'm not going around with a neon "I have bipolar" sign but I'm not going to lie or be ashamed if I'm asked.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 10:17:19

*haven't issues = have mh issues

WowOoo Tue 29-Jan-13 10:33:13

I suppose because it's in the mind no one can see what it's like.

And some people like me only have experience of mild depression - I'm not even sure if I was depressed. I think it was just a lot of bad circumstances that would make anyone feel down.

A broken leg or flu is visible. You can only deny or exaggerate symptoms to a certain extent. We know more about treatment and what will happen - your leg will heal and your flu will get better.

I was totally shocked when a friend told me she'd been on ADs. So, you're right.
She didn't want to tell anyone but her Dh.
I suppose she must have felt it was private and maybe she felt ashamed or weak. She's better now.
I'm glad you are feeling better smile

springbanana Tue 29-Jan-13 10:38:57

But why you have to tell people? I don't people happily are sharing the info that they have hemorroids. In my opinion mental problems are in the same category. You can share the information with people who you think will be helpful or understanding, but why tell the rest?

If someone I barele know tells me thay have some mh problem and take meds, I answer "oh, good that you take meds and you are on the mend". Then I will change subject. I have mh problems too, but I am not sharing them with people. For me internet, close friends,doctors and DP are enough. These are the people I would share my hemorroids as well :D. well if really necessary...

I don't really have anyhing against mh people but I just prefer healthy people. I really admire people who have never had any mh problems. They are rare and really deserve to be wordshipped.

springbanana Tue 29-Jan-13 10:53:57

just had a thught why i think as i think. I am afraid that they are as messed up as I and think as I do. I do not want to mix people like me. If the person is healthy this is minimised.

Unfortunatlyanxious Tue 29-Jan-13 12:51:03

Unfortunately more people than I would want to know now do because I have been off work for five weeks and the Doctor has just signed me off again. I didn't get help when I should have, this means I have become very ill. I was afraid of the stigma.

I think being with people who really understand is helpful but we also need time away from our problems. Unfortunately the one person who I would like to get away from is myself.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 15:44:34

Springbanana I don't really understand your posts.

I tell people if they ask. Why should I be ashamed or lie?

springbanana Tue 29-Jan-13 15:55:46

I don't ask. You may mention to me if you wish, but do not expect me to talk more. This, actually, could be one reason why some people do not want to talk about mh. It might be too close to them.

springbanana Tue 29-Jan-13 15:57:11

in real life, i mean.

hoho.

JustAHolyFool Tue 29-Jan-13 15:58:16

I think there IS a lot of shame though, MrsWolowitzerables . At the end of the day, you are essentially outside the norm. In most societies, that is a source of shame.

I'm not saying it should be like that. But for me, I feel ashamed that I can't behave like others.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 16:12:01

But that's not right though. We shouldn't feel ashamed. People with asthma, diabetes or thyroid disease don't feel shame so why should we?

I do feel embarrassed but I won't hide my illness or lie about it to prevent others feeling a little comfortable or quashing their stereotypes of people with mh issues.

There's a really good campaign called "Time to Talk, Time to Change". It's all about speaking out about mental health and breaking down the stigma. I think that's a great thing and if more people were open about mh then it wouldn't be such a taboo IYSWIM.

I understand why people feel embarrassed, as I also feel ashamed but I don't deserve to. I won't hide or lie about my condition to confirm to social norms and expectations of silence around mh.

< stubborn defiant>

JustAHolyFool Tue 29-Jan-13 16:19:37

But people saying "you shouldn't feel ashamed" just makes it worse, to be honest.

I DO feel ashamed. Saying I shouldn't doesn't make that go away.

springbanana Tue 29-Jan-13 16:24:16

I was ashamed when I had hemorroids and I did not want to share with my workmates. I think the people who are unaffected are the future.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 16:39:10

I totally disagree spring I have bipolar. It doesn't mean that I can't be part of 'the future'. I'm very offended at your suggestion that people with mh issues are somehow lesser than those without mh issues.

Yes I have more obstacles to overcome but fuck me, I WILL overcome them to achieve what I want to. I am not defective. I am ill.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 16:42:42

Justaholy I said that I understand why people feel ashamed as I have feelings of shame.

I won't lie about my illness to conceal it though. It's part of who I am and part of my life. I get a lot if inspiration from people like Stephen Fry who talk so candidly and openly about their mh issues. I really hope I can be as honest as them as hopefully that may, in some small part, help to diminish some stigma and stereotypes along the way.

JustAHolyFool Tue 29-Jan-13 17:00:04

Well I feel totally differently. I AM defective. I have a personality disorder, which means there is just something wrong with ME.

springbanana Tue 29-Jan-13 17:04:32

I share you a secret. The amount of affected will just increase and the healthy was will start to struggle to take care of us all. The difficult decision will be made. All the affected ones are to be sent away.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 17:07:15

I'm sorry you feel that way.

I don't feel defective. I don't think someone with asthma is defective or isn't fit to be 'the future' and there is something wrong with them. They may have difficulties being the same as everyone else and struggle to so things that other people may do. That means they are 'essentially outside of the norm'.

They shouldn't feel ashamed and neither should I. I will not allow my disorder to define me. If depression is a black dog I'm going to get that fucker on a leash. I will not be ashamed or secretive about something I cannot help.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now