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How open are you about your mh issues?

(28 Posts)
mamaduckbone Sun 27-Oct-13 23:14:24

I was just wondering how open people are about their mh problems in rl?

My dh is undergoing therapy for severe anxiety and ptsd linked to childhood abuse, and it's been a very tough year for us as a family as well as obviously for him.

The only people who know anything about this apart from me are his family, who are the main cause of his problems so as expected are keeping their distance.

He doesn't want anyone else to know and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to hold it all together on his behalf and I can't help.but think that

AdmiralData Tue 12-Nov-13 16:47:18

I'm fairly open about my GAD and OCD Op, but have regretted my 'openness' recently. My now exboss asked why I wasnt returning from maternity leave so I told her and since then when I go back to the shop I worked in my coworkers go out the back and ignore me hmm if they have to stay out shop front they seem to think I am invisible. My mil doesn't seem bothered, my fil is very supportive (suffers from severe depression), my dad is great but is emotionally closed (bless him) so just says 'get some fresh air for a minute and take your medication'. My husband is my rock and very very understanding. I think maybe peoples ability to talk about their MH issues depends on what their families/friends attitudes are re: mental health? I believe the stigma attached is huge.

mamaduckbone Sat 02-Nov-13 13:39:23

No. He has been left with permanent tinnitus and hated the way they made him feel so he's steering clear now.
He is making real progress under a very good therapist, but we're some way off yet.

ColouringInQueen Thu 31-Oct-13 20:27:03

Oh that's a pity. Did he try an alternative?

mamaduckbone Thu 31-Oct-13 20:25:20

Dh had a really bad experience with ADs...I'm glad your Dh had more luck.

ColouringInQueen Thu 31-Oct-13 19:14:45

No problem. He is really well grin He started ADs (sertraline) and CBT (ended up with 2 courses) which suited him well and has had a big impact. He also had some support via a charity called The Richmond Fellowship who help people with MH probs get back into the workplace and operate more effectively and in a way that sustains good mental health. All good.

Take care x

mamaduckbone Thu 31-Oct-13 14:40:23

Thank you so much colouringinqueen - how are things with your dp now?

ColouringInQueen Wed 30-Oct-13 23:00:44

Hi mama I was in your shoes last year and I believe its really important that you have at least one person that you can be honest with. As you say its a huge strain on the family and particularly on you. And while you say you don't feel entitled to feel pissed, it is ok to be pissed off/angry etc - those are your completely understandable feelings and it is better to express them in some way whether its smashing plates (as a good friend of mine does!) or going for a run.

Sorry that probably sounds v bossy, but in the nicest way, please do try and find a way of sharing how you're feeling with one other person, and all best wishes.

mamaduckbone Wed 30-Oct-13 12:14:26

No, I wouldn't really feel comfortable getting counselling myself - I don't think it's necessary really. It would just be nice to be able to let off steam occasionally. And for people around us to know the reason why we're a bit crap at keeping in touch etc.
We're in a bit of a bubble and I think I'm losing perspective.

Wallison Tue 29-Oct-13 23:31:18

I tell people if I consider them good friends. That can mean telling 'new' people if they become good friends, which I have to judge carefully - it's kind of like 'coming out' and I have been burned a few times by people turning their backs on me when I disclosed my diagnosis. Although I did recently meet someone who was completely open about her own difficulties shortly after getting to know her socially and that spurred me into letting her know that I was a fellow traveller. I don't feel comfortable with talking about it with people I don't know very well/trust, but then I don't think I'd be completely comfortable with talking about any big health issue with anyone I don't know very well/trust.

OP, I know it's easy for me to say but please don't feel that you aren't entitled to your own feelings because you are - your life doesn't stop just because you are in a supportive role. Would you feel comfortable with getting some counselling yourself? There's no shame in finding your situation difficult, and you need to look after yourself as well as support your DH.

Brittapie Tue 29-Oct-13 23:16:46

You are still allowed to have bad moods, he is still your DH, not a china doll, You just need to cut him a bit of slack.

mamaduckbone Tue 29-Oct-13 22:05:31

Thank you sporktacular I'll certainly take a look. I hope you're getting the help you need...the same to everyone else who has posted. It really shouldn't be the case that you have to keep your illness secret because of how people might perceive you differently but I can see why people do.
I so want to be supportive but often don't know how. Dh says being my normal self is the best thing I can do as that keeps things more normal for him but id like to understand more, and that's hard when you come from a normal loving functional family background.

I do feel that I'm not entitled to be upset or pissed off though, especially not with him, as I'm not going through what he's going through. Then if I do snap or I'm in a bad mood or whatever I feel hugely guilty because I'm meant to be the together one.

IBelieveInAngles Tue 29-Oct-13 03:40:27

Not very. My family won't admit it, although I talk to my mum. It's 'she's going to CBT' not 'she's got GAD and OCD' ifyswim- they are open about it, but can't get to the point where they actually say it. I also have told a few close friends, but not my best friends- I worry too much what they'll think.

sporktacular Tue 29-Oct-13 02:22:42

Oh crap. I also have PTSD due to childhood stuff, and I usually don't tell people unless I have to and am then often v embarrassed/self conscious about it, worried that they'll ask me "what the trauma was", or whatever.

But I also have a personal policy, which I try to live up to, of outing myself when I'm told that there is someone else in my social circle who is having similar problems, has been brave enough to tell me or be "out" generally, and may need the support of me also being "out".

So, hello Mumsnet, I have C-PTSD.

Having done that I can now say things for the OP like:
-you're not alone
-message me about it if you like
-lots of stuff online is for combat veterans or single-trauma PTSD, but there is one site that I've found pretty good so far, and it has a "supporters" section for you as well as stuff that your OH might find useful
- the biggest problem I've had with talking to people at work has really been my own discomfort with doing so. They have actually been fine about it, on the whole.

Brittapie Tue 29-Oct-13 02:01:02

I tell people a lot. Partially because of thinking it shouldn't be a secret, it is an illness like any other. Partially because it is the main reason I can hardly work. Partially because I have bipolar, so when up I have no brain/mouth filter. And partially because there are often times when I just can't hide it - I sometimes look very stereotypically mental :-(

mamaduckbone Mon 28-Oct-13 11:01:54

Thank you for your honest responses and sorry not to come back sooner. Of course I totally respect his need for privacy and would never tell anyone against his wishes. Overall, I'm sure that the majority of people around us don't really notice anything amiss as we've both become very good at playing the game in public.

LEM I think you've hit the nail on the head, in that I feel as though I'm bottling up all my worry about him and I just wish there was someone I could talk to. Sorry if that sounds crap - of course I know that what he is going through is utterly shit, but it is putting massive strain on our relationship. I have to be the together one and sometimes I don't want to be.

twolemonsinthefruitbowl Mon 28-Oct-13 10:35:01

I am open with people about the fact that I am prone to depression and am on ADs. I also try to be open about how I am feeling when I am actually ill, as long experience taught me that people really DO care about me (contrary to what I think when I am ill)

people are often shocked - "but you are such a happy person! so confident!", but I really feel that mh is still stigmatised and needs talking about.

Sleeptimenow Mon 28-Oct-13 10:29:21

I have made an effort to be more open about my depression as I found when I was changing medication that it was obvious I wasn't myself. My husband has known since the beginning as have my family and very close friends - only recently have I told my boss and a few people at work and have found it more common than I thought. However I work in the nhs and think my colleagues are maybe slightly more understanding because of their medical knowledge and because we are aware of how many of our patients have at some point had MH issues.

However I think there is still a stigma around MH illness and despite all the campaigns most people who have not experienced it still do label you 'a nutter'. So I can see why your husband wants to keep it quiet, but I think you could do with some support as it can be very difficult to cope without anyone you can talk to, especially as you are having to support him too.

Pogosticks Mon 28-Oct-13 10:20:51

I tell anyone that I suffer with depression. It's an illness like any other. I recently had to change my medication and felt like I needed to explain why I was a bit odd whilst I settled down.

If people judge me for it, well they can fuck off quite frankly.

If my body didn't make enough insulin no one would think anything of me having the relevant treatment. So as my body doesn't make enough whateveritis to feel balanced, I take it in tablet form instead.

fee25 Mon 28-Oct-13 10:13:30

i told my close friend about problems and wished i didnt cuz now shes very distant with me sad so know i dont tell anyone how am properly feeling

ScaryBeardyDeadyman Mon 28-Oct-13 10:05:27

I'm trying to be more open about my depression and how it affects me, but part of it is being unsociable and not wanting to talk to people so it can be difficult!

I used to be a regular party animal, very sociable, always ready to head out and have a laugh. These days I'm not, so most people are aware that something is different, but I've only really discussed it with those closest to me. It helps them realise why they don't always hear from me very much!

KissesBreakingWave Mon 28-Oct-13 10:02:49

I take advantage of White Male Privilege and am completely open about it. It's sort of helpful that I don't look terribly distressing from the outside. When I'm up I'm a fast-talking clown, and when I'm down, well, I'm quiet and grim but I've got all the buttons on my overcoat (if you get the reference, feel free to make the hollow laughing sound).

Helps that I'm kinda sorta self-employed and don't otherwise need much support.

ScreamingNaanAndGoryOn Mon 28-Oct-13 09:55:58

I'm open about it to the people I need to know.

My friends know, my close family know, my boss knows and the people I directly line manage know.

LEMisafucker Mon 28-Oct-13 09:52:41

I am fairly open about my anxiety issues, although this has cost me a job in the past sad I have had shitty reactions though, mostly people treading on eggshells or withdrawing friendships beccause they don't understand and it scares them.

To be honest, i think you need to respect his desire for privacy actually as it sounds like he has some shitty issues to deal with. Once you say there is an anxiety PTSD thing going on, people are going to ask for more details and this is private and painful for him.

It is very hard to live with someone with MH problems and it put an awful strain on my relationship with DP, so do make sure you take care of yourself in all of this, even some counselling as what you are saying here is that actually you feel the need to bottle this up and hide it, if you had some counselling you would have a safe place to deal with how your DH is making YOU feel. Might be worse thinking about.

I remember getting the distinct impression that a group of mums were not allowing their dc to mine for a playdate and never asking me to help out with pick ups etc if they were running late because i told them i was on ADs for anxiety - DP said i was being over sensitive about it, so i called them on it - i said something along the lines of "Its good being a bit of a nutter because no one ever asks me to look after their kids" I said it in a jokey way but in context, you could tell it had been discussed in the group as looks were exchanged and people were pretty bloody uncomfortable. I am now a bit more selective about who i trust with that information.

CurseOfCurves89 Mon 28-Oct-13 09:48:18

I've been with my boyfriend for almost 3 years and he doesn't know I've had depression for the past 6 (mostly because my ex 'didn't believe' in it hmm)
And no one in RL knows that I've starved myself on and off since I was 7 years old.
I'm very closed about my mental health but I'm very open about mh issues in general, if that makes sense?

Crawling Mon 28-Oct-13 09:41:06

I'm very closed only a few chosen people know, not even all of my family know only those who live close. It's hard to tell people because your fragile and vulnerable and a bad reaction could make things alot worse.

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