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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.


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.

JustAHolyFool Tue 29-Jan-13 17:08:46

OK, but all this "should" and "shouldn't" is not really helpful. People can't help how they feel and I'm a bit sick of my illness being politicised.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 17:15:25

I have said twice that I understand why you feel like that as I do too.

We shouldnt though. Do you see?

How is that politicing? I should not be made to feel ashamed. I should not be stereotyped. I should not have to conceal my illness. I should not be told I am not 'the future' and I certainly won't bloody "worship" someone for being lucky enough not to have mh hmm (I know it wasn't you that said that.

If you do choose to conceal your illness then that's fine if that's your choice you shouldn't have to though. There's a huge difference.

Glad to hear you sounding so much more positive MrsW smile

I've had depression on and off since I was 15 and am bipolar. It doesn't define me as a person, but it is part of my life and something I need to manage.

I wish that people would be more open about it. I know more people who have died through suicide due to MH problems than all other illnesses put together - quite often young men and women who haven't felt able to talk about what is going on in their head.

No, I don't walk into a room and go "Good morning, my name is Keema and I have bipolar", but if someone asks me why I've been off work or how I am doing then I am open about it.

Being able to talk about it to people is one of the reasons why I am still alive despite just going through an extreme period of severe depression.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 17:22:11

Thanks Keema and thanks for all your support following my diagnosis.

I think I've got my head around it now almost !

MoodyDidIt Tue 29-Jan-13 17:24:07

am glad you are feeling better OP

i have been on ADs for a year and hardly anyone knows as i worry people will think i am weird or something sad yet the irony is, as 1 in 4 suffer from mental health problems, many of my friends could be on them too.

so, no, no idea why its such a taboo but wish it wasnt

JustAHolyFool Tue 29-Jan-13 17:26:25

MrsW, no I DON'T see.

I am ashamed and I am made to feel more ashamed by people who demand that we should be honest in order to break taboos.

amillionyears Tue 29-Jan-13 17:26:25

I can understand that a person with say depression may feel a bit better being around people who are upbeat. It may lift their mood a little. And comedy programmes can be good for that as well.

I also understand that, in the same way as heamoroids, it is not really necessary to tell the whole world if a person has depression.

But, tbh, you sound a little unwell.
Currently, I think there are about 33% who have been, or who will be on ADs in their life. And it is a pretty safe bet, that that will include current MPs, teachers, hospital staff etc etc. They dont need to be carted away.

Do you know that people who have depression, can get well again?

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 17:33:57

Just you have not read my posts.

Do you not see that I am saying that if you CHOOSE to keep it a secret that's fine but you shouldn't HAVE to. There is a huge difference.

I am really baffled that you think you are being "demanded" to be honest. It's about choice. I can't put it any more simpler than that.

JustAHolyFool Tue 29-Jan-13 17:40:10

God, could you be any more patronising. Get over yourself.

amillionyears Tue 29-Jan-13 17:40:40

I think it is up to the individual who they choose to tell.
Just as with the people who get depression, who are all different, so it is with those who havent [yet] got depression.

But I agree with Keema, that those who feel able to be more open about it, I think, helps society as a whole.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 17:45:22

Please don't be so aggressive Just I don't like it.

It's not patronising to point out that you have a choice and a right to exercise that choice.

We are all here for support so there's no need to be aggressive. Your message was nasty and there was no need.

You don't HAVE to say anything you don't want to just like you don't HAVE to hide it if you don't want to.

JustAHolyFool Tue 29-Jan-13 17:45:55

And yours was patronising and I don't like that.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 17:46:25

I'm actually sat here really upset at that last message from you Just

Very uncalled for and unpleasant.

JustAHolyFool Tue 29-Jan-13 17:46:43

And so was yours.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 17:46:55

How was it patronising? You DO have a choice.

JustAHolyFool Tue 29-Jan-13 17:48:19

So you keep saying. Let's just leave it.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 17:48:24

I don't understand how you think I'm being unpleasant! confused

Do you not agree we don't need to say or hide anything we dont want to?

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 17:49:02

You have been very nasty.

Best to leave it. You clearly are being obtuse or are determined to misread my posts.

amillionyears Tue 29-Jan-13 18:30:35

I think what Just is dislikinging is the bit where MrsW said "they shouldnt feel ashamed and neither should I."

And Just feels that MrsW is telling Just how she should feel.

But I think MrsW means that "they shouldnt feel the need to be ashamed amd neither should I because society shouldnt make people feel that way".

Apologies to MrsW, if that is not what she means, and apologies to Just if she doesnt like me trying to sort things out here.

MrsWolowitzerables Tue 29-Jan-13 18:37:01

Yes amillion that's exactly what I mean.


Someone demanding the right to feel ashamed is a new one on me.

I won't tell you not to feel ashamed just, but some of what you say is why I detest "Personality disorder" diagnoses as the very term suggests that someone, somehow is defective as a person's personality is who they are.

Frankly the DSM has a lot to answer for and I strongly believe that it's time they looked again at that group of conditions and did a better job at defining and categorising them. Borderline personality disorder, for example has a lot of traits similar to PTSD and depression, but the name does nothing to define how complex a condition it can be.

stephrick Tue 29-Jan-13 19:07:28

I had depression after my partner passed away, I knew what it was but didn't go to my doctor until a year later, the GP made me do a depression quiz, he asked me questions and the right response would win a prize of anti despressants. Still depressed, after my experience with gp very reluctant to go back, the worse thing was he came to our home when DP was in last stages of cancer.

spanky2 Tue 29-Jan-13 19:09:55

I did the depression quiz and won the prize!grin

spanky2 Tue 29-Jan-13 19:12:04

Stephrick I think you should see a different more sympathetic gp. Maybe get some bereavement counselling . I am really sorry for your loss it must have been a terrible time .thanks

Spero Tue 29-Jan-13 19:16:25

I was a bit alarmed to hear that spring thinks the 'affected' will be rounded up and sent away... As far as I can see we all have problems. My mental health is excellent but I have a physical disability. Not so long ago I would indeed have been 'sent away'.

Things are getting better. Not that long ago people were shut away in institutions. There is much more understanding and better treatment now. I have found people quite happy to admit they are taking or have taken ads. It's a high proportion of people I know.

stephrick Tue 29-Jan-13 19:24:39

DP passed away four and a half years ago, haven't been back for three and a half years, I live in a village so no choice, I could go to the town practice but all the GP's visited the home, bereavement counselling was a bust, especially for my youngest DS who was 10 at the time, he kept calling Ds by the wrong name, I ended it after the second session, this was a hospice counsellor.

Crawling Tue 29-Jan-13 19:54:42

I also view my mh as private im not going to just walk up to someone and say I have scizoaffective disorder ask me how it effects my life.

Plus I really am struggeling so much with the severity of my own mi that I just cant take negative opinions. Its not worth the risk.

Crawling Tue 29-Jan-13 20:00:25

I also dont think most people would be interested its like my endometriosis I doubt anyone but close family cares.

amillionyears Tue 29-Jan-13 20:31:30

I think a lot of people care in life. Trouble is, it is difficult to tell who, until they are tested out.

Crawling Tue 29-Jan-13 20:41:05

Thats very very true amillionyears

WithanAnotE Wed 30-Jan-13 08:22:58

My boss laughed when I said I was still attending therapy during my 'return to work' interview angry. I felt totally humiliated. HR staff were also appalling, as in, get rid quick shock.
I suspect that the, "news" has also been leaked........
Fortunately, my friends have been great.
I agree though with the poster that said it can affect personality. It can be a little daunting when people you know act differently or hallucinate. And, to be fair, it can be very hard work too.

annach Fri 01-Feb-13 15:13:40

I'm glad you started this thread.
I've often wondered the same thing.
But actually, serious illness, physical or mental, is some sort of taboo generally, isn't it? No one wants to hear how ill someone else is, or how difficult illness makes their life. Generally, people don't want others to offload and whine at them because they're only just keeping their own heads above surface, whether they're ill or not, and haven't the surplus energy or empathy to take on anyone else's woes.
Serious physical illness does sometimes change people's personality too. It can make them grumpy or drowsy or dopey or whiney. It's hard work being close to sick people.
But there is a taboo over and above all this. I'm sick of it. Wished today i could ring up a friend and just say: tablets seem to have stopped working and I feel like mud. But we're all on here instead, telling strangers.

Tensixtysix Sat 02-Feb-13 19:17:16

It's because deep down they have it as well and can only deal with theirs.

I don't have the feeling it's a taboo, at all. But then I was lucky to grow up in a home environment where we talked freely and honestly about such things when and if the subject arose, so maybe my view is skewed.
But just as people don't go on endlessly about their physical illnesses, you don't go on about depression, but neither would you hesitate to mention it if it were least, I doubt you would avoid it for the reason of a potential unfriendly reaction. Because I very much doubt you would get one. It's just not an interesting topic of conversation- problems, so that's why it's not more talked about IMHO.
Agree with springbanana (apart from the last bit- don't want to worship anyone just for being healthy, thanks!).

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