Wibu to want to tell the truth about my mental health?

(7 Posts)
coralpig Wed 06-Apr-16 12:25:34

I've been in a very low place for the past few months and I've been seeing different health professionals for my mental health. I have depression and anxiety and, whilst this isn't the first time it has happened, it's pretty bad at the moment.

A few of my colleagues and friends have noticed that I've been away for a while and I've confided in my closest friends but I only really have support from my partner.
Friends have been asking how I am and I find myself vaguely saying that I've been ill. When asked if I'm better now I find myself putting on a brave face, lying and making out that I've had flu or similar. I really want to tell people the truth but worry about changing the dynamic of the conversation, making things awkward or wanting to take the focus away from myself. I don't want to be accused of attention seeking but, similarly, I hate lying and covering things up. A few acquaintances of mine have posted public Facebook messages about their mental health which I admire as very brave, but mutual friends, have labelled as very attention seeking.

It's a bit of a catch 22. When somebody asks you how you are they're not really expecting a detailed/ totally
open response..:" they're just poilte pleasantries. I find myself exhausted and very fearful at the end of the day as I've spent most of my energy into faking my happiness. I can be honest with my partner but I worry about burdening him and I don't want to the gloomy one all the time.

Before anyone suggests: I have a counsellor who see every 3 weeks or so and I see my GP as well. I'm also on meds.

WIBU to be more honest and open about my mental health with my close friends or is that egocentric and selfish?

EveryoneElsie Wed 06-Apr-16 12:33:54

If you are giving people a detailed 2 hour account in response to 'Hi, how are you?' then you are being egocentric and self centered smile

Can you have a few choice phrases you could practice and use? Just short sentences that sum it up.
That way if people are concerned they can ask for more info, or express sympathy or solidarity without being swamped. smile flowers

EveryoneElsie Wed 06-Apr-16 12:34:53

^^Oops too many smiles. (Its my AD's kicking in) blush

Lanark2 Wed 06-Apr-16 12:39:25

Be honest, but use 'managing yourself' and old school language, as in:

Yeah I just needed to time out for a while i've been fucking exhausted.

'I have these periods where I just need to focus on me for a while'

'Been quite upset and exhausted recently, and I had a few things to deal with'.

The old less medical language is much more useful I think. My GP always refers to 'mental health illness'. I say things like 'bereavement, stress, exhausted, pushing it too much' etc.

Its funny though because I did have a relatively asymptomatic flu this winter(along with quite a few people) possibly because I had a flu jab, but was floored for a week. When I told people they assumed it was a euphemism for depression anyway..people are more understanding than you think..and make up their own codes anyway.

AliceScarlett Wed 06-Apr-16 12:41:48

I think it's fine with close friends. Depends on how much you want them to know really.

Waffles80 Wed 06-Apr-16 12:42:27

It can be really hard to open up about mental health because of the stigma associated. That's not right, but it's how it goes so often (and will do until we have a massive societal shift).

I'm not sure faking happiness is the best way you to deal with it though, and it sounds so exhausting. Could a sympathetic manager at work just quietly tell people you're not very well at the moment, give a few details, but add that you don't really want to discuss in detail? That way, people 'know' and are probably (hopefully) less likely to ask intrusive questions. You can respond suitably vaguely with "not so good" or "a bit brighter", depending on how you're feeling.

I absolutely agree that being open and honest about mental health issues can really help de-stigmatise and can also help you feel like you're more in control / not having to keep a huge and burdensome secret.

Elsie reconsider your first sentence. Nowhere does OP suggest giving a two-hour briefing and your comment is both strange and harsh.

elementofsurprise Wed 06-Apr-16 22:06:43

I know exactly what you mean about people asking "how are you?" as a pleasantry, and how frustrating it is to have to follow social convention and smile and say "ok" or "not too bad", at most.
It's even worse if they then add something like "I'm so glad you're happier" and you can't exactly say "Actually I feel shite but I'm just trying to be sociable". Or if they find out you're struggling and say "But you were fine last week!" and act like you're making a fuss about nothing.
Sorry, not very helpful!
Elsie's suggestion of set phrases is a good idea.

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