As a silent sufferer of depression for eight years, I thought my family would never find out about my depression. Even after my suicide attempt at university last year, they still knew nothing. That was until about three weeks ago when everything blew up in my face. Literally. Imagine waking up to family group chat blowing up and numerous texts from cousins because they found a blog post of yours and they were concerned.
As much as we don’t like to admit it, somewhere in the back of our mind we know they will find out one day. So whether you decide to sit them down and tell them or they happen to find out by accident, I’m here to offer 11 tips and tricks on how to get through the process of your family finding out about your depression.
Get EVERYTHING out
– Whether you sit them down or they just happen to find out, you’re going to have forcefully shut them up and get everything of your chest first, before anyone says anything. I know this is particularly difficult in the black community, but this is about you not them so say what you have to say first before answering their questions.
They won’t understand
– This is probably why you didn’t tell them in the first place right? Well to be very honest with you, whether you told them months ago or now, they still won’t get it. I’m not saying this to scare you, but for you to prepare yourself for what’s to come. Remember they are not you so they can’t completely understand what is going on with you. Depression is a foreign concept to most people so the most they can do is try.
Reactions will vary
– Again not to scare you, but because of the lack of understanding and the amount of things they are having to process, reactions will vary. If like me, you get shouted at, let them shout finish and just take it as their way processing. Same with crying and anything else just go with it.
Have an outlet
– Submerge yourself into something you love. At the time I remember repeatedly telling myself that I need to be in a creative space because it was the only thing I could trust. Lucky for me I had bought myself tickets to Sulibreaks show and literally ran there just to get away. Have something you can use to get through this time be it reading, writing or going to the gym.
Lean on your support system – Notice I didn’t say to just have a support system, but to lean on them. I say this because that is exactly what you are going to have to do. It will be awkward and tense at home, have that one person you can lean on to discuss everything that is happening you will need it.
Wild ride of emotions
– Prepare to process of emotions. You will go from crying to straight anger real quick so note when you are feeling a certain way and work your way through it.
You are in control
– Although it may feel like you have no control of the situation anymore, remember you are in absolute control. Remember you are the one with depression and not them so they are pretty much at your will.
Dictate what you need
– Like when I said they don’t get it, this means you are going to have to dictate what you need from them be it space to process everything yourself or for them to let you seek professional help, you know you best so tell them what you need them to do. Let them help.
Try different forms of communication
– This one is key for me! If like me you’re not comfortable with talking to your family about what you need or verbally expressing what you are feeling, try different ways of communicating. For me, I told my family that I’m not comfortable with talking yet and that if I’m feeling a certain way or need them to do something, I’ll text my siblings. Give texts or dropping notes a try. It makes facing them less of an issue
Give it time
– This whole thing takes time. Remember it is as much an adjustment for them as it is for you. With time things will get easier, trust and believe it will!
You are never alone
– If there is anything I want you to take from this article, it is this. Samaritan have a 24 hour phone line you can call (116 123) to speak to someone and my twitter is always available to speak to anyone (blessing_xxx). You are amazing and will get through this. Nothing lasts forever.