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THREAD NOW CLOSED How do you feel about talking about mental health?

(103 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Aug-11 09:34:36

Time to Change is "England's biggest ever attempt to end stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems". Mumsnet has been asked by Time to Change to find out how you feel about starting a conversation on mental health. The thread is open to everyone, regardless of their experiences with mental health.

Time to Change has released results to a new survey of adults which found that people often talk to their GP (26%) or partner (37%) first before going directly to a close family member, such as a parent or sibling.

They'd like to know what you think and about any experiences you may be able to share. Talking about mental health would include concerns you have about yourself and also about concerns you may have about family and friends.

We have some questions to get you thinking but they would welcome all comments and thoughts.

~ Why do you think it's still so hard for some people to talk openly to families about mental health? Should it be talked about more openly when there is an issue?

~ In your opinion are families the biggest stigmatisers?

~ Who would you speak to first if you were worried about your own mental health?

~ Would you find this difficult? Why?

~ Who would you speak to if you were concerned about the mental health of someone in your family or a friend? Would you find this difficult? Why?

And if you can please do tell us your own experiences of this if you have any.

Thanks
MNHQ
For more information you can also visit their facebook page.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 26-Nov-12 11:27:21

Hi - just spotted these recent posts - this thread is now closed as it's an old thread (and sorry I should have marked it as such before).

If anyone wants any info on mental health issues please do take a look at the Time to Change website

FTRsMammy Wed 21-Nov-12 21:15:18

I suffered from post natal depression for over 2 years after my DS ( soon to be 4 ) was born, I also had in diagnosed PTSD stemming from his traumatic delivery. I'm lucky that my family were amazing, sadly that's because most of them have suffered depression at some point.
My DHs family are much less aware if MH conditions and didn't really know how to be with me or what to say but not because they didn't want to be supportive, they were just out of their comfort zone.
I didn't really discuss my MH with anyone while I was ill, however I'm now very open about it and don't see why I shouldn't be.
If my experience can help someone recognise some symptoms in themselves, then great.
I think it's very difficult to discuss someone else's suspected MH issues as a lot of people are in denial about their own symptoms or simply don't see them as a by-product or their illness.

Tee2072 Tue 28-Aug-12 13:54:14

I thought this looked familiar!

HQ, did anything ever come out of it?

katielou2012 Tue 28-Aug-12 13:52:23

I find it quite easy to talk about my depression I dont know why maybe its because im not ashamed to admit that I have a mental illness. But I understand that a lot of people do as there is a stigma attatched to it, I suffered with adolescent depression when I was 13-17 and then had PND when I had my daughter 21 months ago. I am now off the tabs and back in the real world, I am terrified of having a relapse though. My anxiety seems to be creeping up everyday and Im worrying about the stupidest things. I will have to keep an eye on things as im moving back in with my boyfriend soon back into the house where I suffered my PND so it brings back a lot of bad memories. We will be moving out hopefully next year, I'll just have to keep myself busy smile

orangeandlemons Tue 28-Aug-12 13:46:07

Ialso agree that there are levels of prejudice.

Anxiety and depression are the least stigmatised.
Bipolar and Personality disorder next
Schizophrenia worse of all.

It drives me mad. Justbecasue you can't see an injuryto the mind

orangeandlemons Tue 28-Aug-12 13:44:02

I really think there nees to be a massive push from the whole of society about destigmatising mental illness.

I have had depression and anxiety for about 20 years, usually managed very well wih meds. Overload at work at the start of this year pushed me over. I had to come clean in theworkplace.

Since then loads of people have sought me out to talk about their mh issues. Loads. All desperate to share. All desperate to to know it's not only them. Yet nobody ever said anything before I went under! A huge adcampaign would help!

SirBoobAlot Sun 26-Aug-12 10:27:35

~ Why do you think it's still so hard for some people to talk openly to families about mental health? Should it be talked about more openly when there is an issue?

For exactly the reason that Time For Change are campaigning - stigma. Within my family, three of the ten aunts and uncles I have are taking anti depressants. They've all told me; but not told each other.
Yes it should be talked about more readily. One in four people will suffer from a mental health problem at some time in their lives. Considering the average family is two parents, two children, that's one in every family. All the more reason for it to be out in the open.

~ In your opinion are families the biggest stigmatisers?

When you're suffering from a mental health problem, be it a short term bout of depression (NOTE, I am not at all minimizing this suffering, its horrible regardless) or a long term psychiatric condition, you already feel like you're fighting yourself on a daily basis. It increases your concern for how other people see you, and decreases your self worth, so even if you wanted to tell someone how you were feeling, you can't see the point; who would be worried?
More than that, there is something very difficult in telling someone you see on a daily basis. I was thirteen when I first went to the doctors requesting some help because of my mood, and because I was thirteen, my mother had to be there. I couldn't look either of them in the eye as I discussed how I felt, because I knew that by her finding out, I would have to face it every day.
To an extent there is a level of "but you always seem so happy when we spend time together" when you tell a family member, which makes it difficult. But I wouldn't say its just down to concern over how they will react, but to the condition having control over you.
I also feel this question is very general - surely it comes down to the individual family members?

~ Who would you speak to first if you were worried about your own mental health?

Now? Probably my CPN as I have weekly / fortnightly mental health appointments. Other than her, probably my friend M who suffers from the same condition as me (Borderline Personality Disorder).

~ Would you find this difficult? Why?

I have nothing to hide from M, because we've been there for each other through the most extreme of emotions before. I probably withhold less from her than I do from my CPN!

~ Who would you speak to if you were concerned about the mental health of someone in your family or a friend? Would you find this difficult? Why?

I would speak to them. I'm very open about the fact I have a mental health condition, because the years of denying it had a detrimental effect on me. So everyone knows I suffer, even if they don't know the details. This has worked in my favor before, because I can use it as an opener - if you're speaking to someone who has a mental health condition, you don't fear the stigma so much. I know this from people on the other side of things too.

~ How does it make you feel if a partner or family member doesn’t seem to be able to talk to you about your mental health problem?

My parents still refuse to accept that I have BPD, and instead refer to it as "your depression". There is so much more to BPD than depression, and it frustrates the hell out of me that they won't see it. They will also say they want to talk, say they want to understand, but then when I let them in even a little bit, they can't cope with it.
I think they also like to say "there there" and expect me to be pacified, then carry on as normal. Like willpower is stronger than the hold my BPD has. I suffer from BPD every day - some days I am stronger. Some days I have to admit defeat. Doesn't mean that every single day isn't a huge effort to keep it together, whether I am smiling or crying, laughing or screaming, I am fighting.

1stbabyat30 Wed 22-Aug-12 10:50:59

I think I have had mental health issues my entire life but I have never had the courage to get it diagnosed with what I know it is - Bipolar. I am a teacher and have left many jobs because I woke up that morning and couldnt get out of the door. In 2009 my parents called a horrid doctor round to the house because I was refusing to get out of bed and go to work. I had built myself up into such a frenzie over the 'thought' of going back throughout the Christmas holiday that I must have been acting quite oddly. He was completely unsupportive and put out and said - "do you want to kill yourself?" me: yes. Him: Ah, it's depression, take these pills.
I didnt take the pills after a week because I prefered the highs than the monotomous way it made me feel. And of course I never went to see the counsellor my mum recommended. I generally tell no one.
I tell my boyfriend and he says don't be silly you're the happiest person I know. It is the great unspoken between my parents. I couldnt very well tell a prospective employer or anyone at work because I work on an agency part time basis - and I need teaching hours. I don't tell anyone. I don't want anyone to think I am looking for attention.
I love the insane highs - that have recently led me to take some massively stupid and inappropriate risks in my life. I could do without the lows.
I once told a very nice boss after I left another job and he said he suffered with depression too - and was very sympathetic - to a point - and then replaced me.

Why do you think it's still so hard for some people to talk openly to families about mental health? Should it be talked about more openly when there is an issue?
Because we are British and don't talk about our feelings - too touchy feely and it makes them uncomfortable.

In your opinion are families the biggest stigmatisers?
No - but my mum would prefer it if I was just 'better' so when she says how are you she really wants me to say Great - not, well I am thinking about running away from everyone and everything. So I say "great".

Who would you speak to first if you were worried about your own mental health?
No one. Just myself.

Would you find this difficult? Why?
I don't think people understand, I don't want to bother people and I don't want to talk about it.

Who would you speak to if you were concerned about the mental health of someone in your family or a friend? Would you find this difficult? Why?
I would talk to their partner or another one of their close friends. I wouldnt find it difficult at all because I wouldnt want to live with the guilt if anything happened - and I think it's much easier for people to stick up for other people rather than themselves.

unquietmind Wed 04-Apr-12 09:41:01

Additional question - family

My mum experiences mental health illness, but does not like to accept it. We cannot talk about it because she is embarrassed and feels that others think she is less capable because she had a severe episode about 14 years ago. My dad is verbally abusive and was physically abusive, and doesnt understand (from my view) appropriate human relationships so I would never talk to him about mental health. I told him once what I was doing for a living and he said "What do you want to work with them for?" (Circa 2003) although his views are not as outspoken now ( I dont know why, I dont even ask him as I dont want to know). My dad abused my whole family and I believe this has contributed to our family silence.

My uncle committed suicide after experiencing depression for most of his life. My great grandfather also committed suicide. One of my grandmothers suffered in silence for years and had troubles with my grandfather who refused medication for his experiences. As you can see its a lot going on but no one talks about it. Everyone knows what I do and how open I try to be about things but still no one talks about it. Its like it never happened, although its there all the time, its never alluded to, its like a communal secret, to not discuss, and especially not share with friends or outside the house (so dont tell anyone.............)

My partner has come from a mixed background of struggle and strife and sometimes he gets fed up of my complicated lot, but he does his best. I know hes got my back even if he cant understand why I havent let go of something, or something else is bothering me or others.

unquietmind Wed 04-Apr-12 09:31:36

Thank you to everyone here for being so open, which I think is really important. I was looking through the open threads, and noticed this one was still going.

~ Why do you think it's still so hard for some people to talk openly to families about mental health? Should it be talked about more openly when there is an issue?

As I work in the mental health sector, I see a lot of people, and I cant say whether more people involve their families or not. Occassionally it is really nice and you meet a family member or members who are really supportive, aware, understand etc. I think the issue is not enough awareness - and even when there is awareness about mental health, no one thinks its will happen to themselves or loved ones. People may not talk to their families as they have a greater awareness of what their families are like - they may worry about their privacy, being laughed at or called hurtful names in jest, have their liberties taken or their independence decreased.

~ In your opinion are families the biggest stigmatisers?

No, I think lots of groups stigmatise, it is just harder for the person to remove themselves from the stigma of a family member than a stranger.

~ Who would you speak to first if you were worried about your own mental health?

My partner. I wouldnt talk to my work colleagues as there is an expectation and unsaid rule that we can make it through all the tough times without distress, and we should pretend to be strong even if we are not.

~ Would you find this difficult? Why?

I do not find it difficult as I am used to it. My partner is very supportive.

~ Who would you speak to if you were concerned about the mental health of someone in your family or a friend? Would you find this difficult? Why?

Duty social worker / GP / A&E Crisis staff / Mind / Rethink - but Im fortunate to know these organisations exist. I wouldnt find talking to services difficult but I may find it harder to talk to a family member as its harder to be objective and remove yourself emotionally from the situation and be helpful and supportive when you are closer to a person than when you are an employee.

Tamoo Thu 27-Oct-11 14:54:05

I feel empathy that they might not feel they know what to do, in practical terms.

I feel angry that they are incapable of saying something simple like, I love you, and I care about what happens to you.

And very angry (in hindsight) when they find it easy to ignore or minimise something which is huge. Especially for kids/teenagers. I feel better able to cope as an adult, but as a teenage I was in an awful state, I remember one night in particular, I won't go into details but I was damaged physically, my dad came home in the middle of the night from work and I sat waiting so relieved that I was about to be noticed/taken seriously, he got there, looked at my injuries and just sent me back to bed. This kind of thing must go on all the time with children and teenagers who aren't able to communicate effectively and whose parents can't/won't deal with mental health problems.

Tamoo Thu 27-Oct-11 14:46:54

I've had ongoing problems with depression, self-harm and eating disorders also some PTSD (don't self-harm any more).

Family were not useful. I only attempted to tell them, once, but they were very much of the 'pull yourself together' frame of mind. I still think this is the case, tbh; people's approaches to mental health issues can be wildly varied and staggering. I had a bad period recently and for the first time ever I said to a very, very close friend I am having a small breakdown - I didn't ask for anything, no help in anyway, was just informing him as to why I was being uncommunicative. His reply? "Bollocks". I was so shocked. He just didn't believe me, or took it personally, I don't know? That was a friend with whom I talked to daily about ups and downs but as soon as I labelled them as 'mental health issues' he 'turned'.

There is nobody I can talk to in my family, even my mum who has been hospitalised for depression. The thing is, people can be treated for mental health issues without ever learning how to discuss it, and without their families ever learning how to approach it....I think if your friend or family member has cancer you can read about it or google, but when it's mental illness, it's somehow not so tangible for a lot of people. Also I at some level I think people suspect it's either one of two extremes: a) malingering, or b) 'dangerous' mental illness that makes you a threat to their wellbeing. Maybe that's my personal experience. Visible media campaigns are useful, I guess, to counteract this (we had 'See Me' in Scotland, not sure if it was national?).

Nowadays I don't speak to anyone about my mental wellbeing. I have one friend who has a history of severe depression. I occasionally mention things to her in a 'light' manner but am very aware of not wanting to burden her or trigger anything.

I wouldn't go to GP because their first reaction is to prescribe ADs. I took these when I was younger and although they alleviated the symptoms they did nothing to address the cause, in fact they made it possible for everyone to actively ignore the cause. Also they interfered greatly in my creative life which is very important to me and a therapeutic outlet in itself. I took myself off ADs. Counselling? Would love it, but there is such a long wait on the NHS, thousands of people more deserving/in a more acute stage of need than myself, and I doubt that even if I got some counselling it would ever be enough. One of the first things I would buy with a lottery win actually is a couple of hours once a fortnight with a therapist, just to talk things out.

I would definitely approach someone if I was concerned for their mental health, in fact because of my history I feel I am always on the lookout for this type of thing. I know that having someone care, having someone ready to listen and to believe in the significance/intensity of your feelings can be so important. Also I know how hard it is to find that easily. Services like the Samaritans are so important, there should be more, similar, and more funding for different types of mental health facilities. So many people are like me - no family to speak to, few friends/inappropriate friends, unable to take any recuperation time during very bad periods due to commitments of work and children. I would love some 'emergency assistance' once in a while that wasn't medication.

Shakey1500 Sun 25-Sep-11 23:07:16

I have no qualms whatsoever about talking about my mental health.

I too, had a breakdown which resulted in a stay in a psychiatric hospital.

A previous poster (apologies for forgetting name) said the only rational thought in her head was to kill herself. I totally understand that, alongside the calm, rational way to go about it and not understanding why other people couldn't see it.

I do not discuss it much with my family (especially my mother, bad relationship) as it is evident they are embarrased, do not understand and are the epitomy of the problem of it being a closed book.

I am going to write this next bit in capitals to emphasise the depth/strength of my feelings on the matter-

IN MY EXPERIENCE, THE MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN THIS COUNTRY IS ABSOLUTELY APPALLING. THERE IS NO CONSISTENCY WHATSOEVER. FOR SUCH A "FORWARD NATION" WE ARE SEVERELY LACKING.

The "care" "treatment" I received was shocking. And despite me absolutely knowing I had PND ( two years after my breakdown) after the birth of my son I adamantly refused to voice it as I have no confidence in the system whatsoever.

I am happy to talk the hind legs off a donkey to anyone who will listen discuss any of these matters.

Energumene Fri 16-Sep-11 13:08:48

We'd also like to find out how it makes you feel if a partner or family member doesn’t seem to be able to talk to you about your mental health problem?

That depends very much on the family member. I've never discussed it with either of my half-sisters, but it's not an issue. Doesn't mean we're not close, but there is a sizeable age gap so it simply doesn't come up. Well, one day it might, but not yet.

With Dad, on the other hand, it's hard to say whether him talking about it or not being able to talk about it is hardest. Most of the time he would like to stick his fingers in his ears and sing loudly to drown out anything I might say about it. I used to find this hurtful, but actually I think it's more that he's concerned he may be at the root of the problem - he is, to an extent - and probably avoids the topic either out of guilt or fear of confrontation. On the other hand, when he does feel that he 'ought' to be talking to me about it, the things he says are so bloody crass that on the whole it might be better if he said nothing.

buterflies Tue 13-Sep-11 10:30:33

It is hard for me to talk to family about mental illness at the moment in particular as I have recurrant bouts of depression and so does my mum. So I feel I cant talk to her for fear of upsetting her and making her worse. My dad and brother dont understand and sometimes make fun of my mum and myself.

I feel weak, stupid and a fraud. I have had a good upbringing so why am I like this?

I speak to my GP first as she is quite clued up on mental health

My depression embarrasses me. I like to think I am a strong person but obviously I am not.

nickschick Fri 02-Sep-11 21:39:57

Being totally honest it upsets me that my dh finds my 'issues' hard to understand/a weakness and he belittles them and so whats a perfectly ordinary rant about wet towels on a bedroom floor gets twisted into me thinking -is it me?

I had a crap childhood I cant change that I didnt choose it and if I had a choice I certainly wouldnt want it .....Dh seems to think whats in the past is gone and you must get over it -not a option I have at 4am when my hearts pounding and im afraid to move off the bottom stair.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 02-Sep-11 11:13:49

Time to Change have asked us to say "We would like to thank all of you for adding your posts and for being so open about mental health. We'd also like to find out how it makes you feel if a partner or family member doesn’t seem to be able to talk to you about your mental health problem? Do add any additional comments here" Thanks, MNHQ

busybee1983 Thu 01-Sep-11 08:22:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheOriginalFAB Wed 31-Aug-11 19:33:07

Makes sense to me. Physical things are much easier to control than emotional.

PlentyOfPubgardens Wed 31-Aug-11 19:27:30

Yes, I think the stigma comes in a few flavours - there's the not knowing what to say/do for the best (and so ignoring the person), the attitude that mental illness is not real illness and then there's the perception of people with mental illness as mad and/or dangerous (less common these days).

We recently had mental health first aid training where I work (small MH/arts charity) and it was tremendously helpful not only for learning about what to say/do in various crisis situations but also for the more general conversations it opened up around mental distress and how common it is. The course leader said they are expanding across all sorts of work sectors, not just MH services, and the aim is for MH first aid courses to become as common as regular first aid courses. I think initiatives like this can do a huge amount to reduce stigma.

The other sort of stigma - MH problems not being seen as real illness is I think on the rise, largely because of this government's cynical tactics of getting us all to fight amongst ourselves about who the 'scroungers' are so we don't notice they've given all our money to the fucking banks.

<breathes ... smile>

An unrelated thought: I think (and this is a very personal opinion, possibly not fully worked out) mental illness will always be more frightening than physical illness because of the way we site our sense of self with our minds/personalities. Mental illness strikes at your sense of self in a way a broken leg, for example, never does. Does that make sense to anybody?

TheOriginalFAB Wed 31-Aug-11 17:46:05

I find it hard dealing with my MH problems at the moment as one can get ignored as people don't know what to say when you are feeling low. One can get called attention seeking and still too many people think you can just snap yourself out of it.

BodyOfEeyore Wed 31-Aug-11 14:58:28

In my experience, you worry about telling family for a variety of reasons: will they think it is their fault and feel guilty? Will they tell other family members who will either gossip or look down on you? Will they criticise? Will you get the unhelpful 'pull yourself together' or 'what have you got to worry about' replies?

I think it certainly does need to be talked about more openly so that family members can understand what is going on and can be educated at how best to help.

I think families don't help with regard to stigmatising. They are the people closest you you, and the people whose opinions matter most. When they don't understand and criticise it hinders the sufferer.

When I was worried about my own mental health I spoke to my boss first as I had a breakdown at work. It was very hard as I had been bottling thingsup for a long time and those around me (work and my partner) could see that something was wrong. It was an embarrassing time and ruined my career.

If I was concerned about a family member or friend I would speak to others around us, which I wouldn't find difficult. Then I would speak to the person concerned, which I would find hard because I know it can feel like an intrusion and they may not be ready to face up to it.

PlentyOfPubgardens Wed 31-Aug-11 14:09:50

Time to Change has released results to a new survey of adults which found that people often talk to their GP (26%) or partner (37%) first before going directly to a close family member, such as a parent or sibling.

The more I read this, the odder it seems. Why is 'partner' not considered a close family member? Aren't most people closer to their partner than their birth relatives? Perhaps I'm unusual confused

I think the overall aim of reducing stigma is a good one but I'm a little cautious about the idea that openness within families is always a good thing. Some people avoid talking about their MH issues with their relatives for very good, self-preserving reasons which have little to do with stigma.

PlentyOfPubgardens Wed 31-Aug-11 11:33:18

I have suffered bouts of depression and anxiety throughout my adult life. The worst was in my early 20s when I spent some time in hospital.

My sister (2 years older than me) was very ill with anorexia in her pre-teens and my mum was really put through the mill by various psychiatrists and therapists - in those days, a mentally ill child was The Mother's Fault - it was all very Freudian hmm

I recognise what startAfire says about roles in a family. When my sister was ill, I was very much cast as the quiet one who caused no trouble and stayed cheerful. My mum was not to be upset and my dad's role was to protect her. If I did something to upset mum (such as being upset myself) I'd have him to answer to. He'd generally shout and send me to my room.

Because of this dynamic, my parents have always been the last people to know when I've been unwell. Not so much stigma, just fear of causing upset. When I was in hospital they worked really hard to be supportive but my mum was so upset, in floods of tears every time she visited which made things really difficult. I would feel comfortable talking to my sister but she doesn't talk about her own past illness so it's difficult to start the conversation.

I think whether MH issues should be talked about more openly within families depends very much on the family dynamics. Some people, sadly, are better off having as little to do with their families as possible. For others, the family can be a huge source of support.

IME the biggest stigmatisers are employers - especially potential employers. People get really worried about those occupational health questionaires - what it's legal for them to ask you and what is done with that information. Then there's having to explain yawning gaps on your CV and potential difficulties getting references if you've left previous jobs because of MH issues.

If I was worried about my own mental health I'd talk to my best friend and my partner. BF also has MH issues and we are very good at looking out for each other. DP has had MH problems in the past too so I wouldn't find this difficult. I'd also probably post on MN or a more specialist support forum. Sometimes, anonymity can be the only way to create a space where it's possible to talk about really difficult feelings. I am frequently amazed by the generosity of strangers on the internet, in terms of support, information and advice. It can help restore your faith in human nature.

If I was worried about someone else's mental health I'd speak to them directly in the first instance. If I was still worried, I'd speak to someone else close to the person, if there was somebody I could be reasonably sure would be supportive (see stuff above about families). I'd find this more difficult than talking about my own MH. I'd be wary of overstepping the bounds of somebody's privacy. Unless somebody was obviously a danger to themselves or others, I'd proceed with caution I think.

Isthreetoomany Wed 31-Aug-11 09:54:51

I had an eating disorder as a teenager and, after having been fine for over a decade and through previous pregnancies, I am now struggling again whilst pregnant with my third child. My family never really knew about the ED when I was a teenager, partly because I was so secretive but also partly because my mum has food issues herself and the whole thing is not ever spoken about. My husband is unaware that I am struggling again, although I have managed to speak to my GP.

Re the questions:

Why do you think it's still so hard for some people to talk openly to families about mental health? Should it be talked about more openly when there is an issue?
Ideally I think it should be talked about, but as others have mentioned I think parents find it very hard to accept that their child has a mental health issue and how that may reflect upon them. I worry that my family would think that I am weak, that I am not a good parent and that I would pass my food issues on to my children. And I think that they would always believe that about me after I had told them, i.e. even if I recovered again they would always see me in that light - likely to have a problem again.

In your opinion are families the biggest stigmatisers? Yes in my case family are the biggest stigmatisers. My sister had some different mental health issues as a teenager, and at the time my dad was angry that I had discussed her issues with my then boyfriend - he made it very clear that he felt it was a very private issue and I should only be discussing it within the immediate family (not that we were actually discussing it much within the family!!)

Who would you speak to first if you were worried about your own mental health? My GP is the first real life person I would speak to, although I have also found the mental health section of MN very useful. I do find it hard to speak to GPs as I feel ashamed and find it very hard to start a conversation off if I want to talk about a mental health issue, although the ones that I have spoken to have all been very supportive. I have known myself to go to the GP planning to talk about my ED, but then when I get there chicken out and just talk about some other random health niggle that I have had for months and go away again! I also tend to hope that things will get better on their own, without me having to talk to anyone about it too much. Unlike many others, I still do not feel able to speak to my husband about it as I worry that he will also see me in a different light if I admit that I have a problem. I do not want him to monitor my eating in any way or worry about me; I want to have an equal relationship where he does not need to feel that he is 'looking after me' in any way. Not telling him has affected me getting access to counselling as I do not have anyone to help with picking children up from school/playschool which may clash with appointment times -although I have not told my GP this is the reason why I refused counselling as I felt I would look silly saying I couldn't talk to my husband.

Who would you speak to if you were concerned about the mental health of someone in your family or a friend? Would you find this difficult? Why? I would hope that I would be able to talk to the friend direct, but I imagine I would find this hard in practice - as I am generally so rubbish at talking about mental health issues myself.

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