I have been reading on this board for quite a while now. I have never felt compelled to post until now. Even though I have been diagnosed with depression and PTSD a year ago, still I am having difficulty accepting it. Every time I fill out form that asks me if I am on any type of medication(s) I write no. I feel so weak relying on medication and counselor to keep me somewhat stable. I have not told anyone, including my family. I am Asian and do not want to bring shame and dishonor to them. Since I got back from Iraq over a year ago I have not called any of my friends nor have gone out with them. I barely speak to my family anymore (I used to really close them to them before I got deployed. I do not go out unless I absolutely have to. I see counselor twice per week. I started seeing her last year and still am unable to talk about my experiences in Iraq. I do everything I can to avoid thinking about it and talking about it. She is only person that knows even little bit about me. I am not one to share my feelings and thoughts. Since my last hospitalization I have felt lonely. Before I never felt lonely. However, I am adjusting to being alone again after several weeks.
I feel really stupid now for having typed this and even stupider for actually posting it. So I guess I will sign off. Thank you for reading.
Omphalos, welcome! Shame about mental health issues really does increase the burden. You have nothing to feel ashamed about! I hope you feel support from here! It would be hard to have a situation to deal with that clashes with your cultural background and upbringing. You know it used to be a lot more shameful here too and things have progressed along here. Opening up about your issues is what is going to help you overcome them. I hope you can open up here and with your counselor eventually. There is a PTSD board here also. There are 3 vets over there now who post. Will look forward to your next post.
We are all experiencing (or experienced) depression and know it is very real. I appreciate our cultural differences, but when here you have no need to feel shame. I have never seen anybody here act judgmental, everybody is very empathetic. Feel free to tell us what's going on when you feel comfortable. We are here to help and support each other.
I am totally with you, being a Chinese but Western brough up person, I totally understand the great cultural difference. I dun really have any problem accepting that I am depressed, and I am up for treatments and whatever my doctor tells me to do. Well, it took me a while to actually decide not to cover it up with friends and family. My mum however, still not accepting it after 2 months, and she just simply thinks I am either lazy or mental.
It's a shame the East is so not accepting emotional problems are illnesses.
Sannah~~> Thank you. I usually read most of your posts as they are insightful. I have yet to decide if posting was just one time thing for me or if I will continue to do it.
MariaBB~~> Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I think part of the reason I have been unable to open up is because I really really hate asking for help. What I hate most of all is asking for emotional support. I truly hate being so emotionally needy.
ExTra111~~> I, myself, am Korean. My parents are somewhat Americanized. But when it comes to beliefs and values they are typical old fashioned Asian. I grew up in Korea. To certain extent I am old fashioned about some things. My parents believe that one should not air one's dirty laundry in front of others. I guess I believe that. Thank you for reading my post.
There was far more stigma about mental health in north america a few decades ago, and some of that still exists, for sure, but it doesn't bring up the shaming of the family so much as it seems to with Eastern cultures. What a difficult spot to be in. Hard to turn to anyone, and hard to open up with someone when you find someone to turn to.
I wonder how the WWII Japanese American soldiers dealt with their depression and ptsd? --maybe none of the WWII soldiers talked about their issues much being from the era they are from. Just trying to think of connections and resources...hmmm.
Does your therapist get the difficulty for you in self-disclosing? Oh, and is s/he a VA PTSD therapist. A friend of mine knows someone who is excellent with the VA PTSD trauma, and knows many people who say they treat ptsd, but don't address the issue adequately or sometimes even appropriately. Just a thought.
just a note to say that not many people born here are being understood by their families either. you can see that these boards are full just because of "my family/husband/wife/daughter/mother/sister/etc. doesn't understand me and i have no one to talk to about this," or "i feel so alone," or "i started to isolate myself again," and so much more.... what i'm trying to say is that many people are in your situation. it may be more difficult for you because of the way you were brought up (i grew up in eastern europe til i was 12), and how that really stuck in your head, but i'm sure there are other people out there with similar experiences.
i work in an agency whose staff is 98% asian (mostly chinese, and some korean), and i see first-hand how very ethical and hard-working they are; how very subordinate and non-questioning. they do everything in silence, but they fume underneath. it's a horrible thing to experience. i also know of a woman who was diagnosed with cancer (she was here in the usa--she was japanese though) and her family lived in japan, but she just would NOT tell her family about her diagnosis, because she did not want to worry them. she went through hell and back going to hospitals and so on, and she fought alone and with her friends around her, but her family never knew....it's like she might as well have committed hara kiri for all it's said and done, you know what i mean?
apart from thinking of shame and dishonor, think of getting your honor and your wellbeing back. you went through some experiences that few people are able to withstand!!! even men can't stand these things, let alone a woman who is perhaps more sensitive than others, emotionally?!! please do anything you can to release those from emotions inside you. those feelings will only add up into a ball, and get bigger and bigger.... but i see that you are trying very hard by going to that counselor twice a week, and i really congratulate you on that. i think you're very brave for doing that, and if you can do that, you can do even more!!! you will get better!!!
Be kinder than necessary,
Because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle...
I really really hate asking for help. What I hate most of all is asking for emotional support. I truly hate being so emotionally needy.
My parents believe that one should not air one's dirty laundry in front of others.
Omphalos, yes, I am familiar with the beliefs of airing your dirty laundry which will bring shame to the family and that the group's needs supercede those of the individual. I can just see this battle going on in your head - the values that you have been taught vs. what YOU need.
Getting better is not being emotionally needy. Actually, getting better is an individual depending on others in order to get better. An individual depending on others in the group. If you decide to open up here or to your therapist or both, remember that you are anonymous here, no one knows who you are at all. As for your therapist, everything that you tell her is confidential.
msbizz~~> Yes, my counselor is VA. I am not sure if she is PTSD competent or not. She is okay. I would have trouble opening up with anyone. It does not matter who it is.
Dakota Skye~~> After some of the things I have done there is absolutely no way I would get my honor back. There is no reason to take my family's honor and I will not do it.
Sannah ~~> To me, having to depend on others to get better IS being emotionally needy. For other people, it is okay. I do not think this way when I apply it to other people. It applies only to me. I guess I have different standards for others and for myself.
omphalos, I dun mean to sound rude, but I think you are just being a typical asian, same as myself. As I said, although I went to my doctor at a very earily stage, it actually still took me a great amount of time to accept my condition. I felt so ashamed of myself of even going for my 2nd appointment, which I ended up going back 2 weeks later than I was supposed to. And same for the counselling, it took me a whole month to actually send out the e-mail to make an appointment, I wasn't even brave enough to make the phone call, so I had to send the e-mail instead. But you have got to go get some help, after a couple of times meeing with whoever you need to see, you mind would change, and you would soon realise this is just being a part of ones life.
Omphalos, you are Asian AND American. You were raised here. IMO you can borrow the best from both worlds. Since you are not living in a true group culture with all of those wonderful supports that it offers why do you feel that you need to live strictly by those values sometimes? My friend's daughter was dating someone whose family was from a group culture background. In this culture children lived with their parents for a long time and the parents continued to take care of them. This American adult daughter was upset that her own mother didn't take care of her like this. I told my friend that if she wants to live like this she has to follow all of the rules not just the ones that benefit her. I told my friend that this group culture also shares it's money with the whole group, the caring doesn't just go down the hierachy, it goes up as well. So this girl would have to share her money with the household. I guess my point is you are choosing to live a value from your Asian background which is making your life very difficult at this time but you have also lived your life with many values that are purely American. So the point is, you chose other American values here and there so you can also make a decision to choose American values again.
Honor, what a concept. In this culture, IMO you have honor when you act honorably as an individual by doing the "right" things. Usually, "right" things mean not hurting others, helping others, etc. The Asian view, in my understanding, means to look perfect to everyone outside of your family (I guess it is not really looking perfect it is just following the rules which are made by the group, rules BTW which were made centuries ago and haven't been updated for our modern life?). The whole functionality of the group rules is to keep everyone in line, which IS good for social control. We have social control here if you break a law, you can go to jail and our culture used to control female sexuality with a whole belief system, but we base our social control on the individual. The individual must be taught to make good choices or suffer individual consequences if they break the rules. In the group culture you are taught the group rules and you will be shamed if you break the group rules. Both systems result in social control by different routes. One allows more individual freedom however, but the other probably gives more social control.
There is no way that you can take your family's honor if the rest of the group doesn't know about your personal business. In true group cultures (meaning you don't live in the US) everyone knows your business. Here you can keep your business to yourself easily.
Not trying to pressure you here or anything, I am just trying to lay everything out so that you understand what you are working with to make a decision here.
I had not planned to post again. However, I cannot sleep. You are right. I lived in Korea until I graduated high school at 16 years of age. Then my family and I immigrated here. I live by our values because in lots of ways our parents are still very old-fashioned. But some of the things I do are very American. I guess I do live in both worlds. I could never tell my family about any of this because Mom has enough to worry about taking care of Dad. Plus I am too ashamed. I went to see them last week and it was very difficult and very long and very exhausting week. It is exhausting pretending that everything is okay. And then I got thrown for loop when my sister-in-law asked me what happened to my leg. At first, I did not know how to reply. Then she said "Did a cat do it?" And I immediately said "Yes" even though I cut.
I do not know what it is that I want to say. So I guess I will sign off.
Omphalos, yes, you see that you live by some American values too. For God's sake you served in an American war! Now please let some American ways help you!!!!!! Your parents do not have to know. They aren't mind readers are they? And remember, you are anonymous here and at therapy it is confidential. No one will know your business. There is no shame in being mentally and emotionally affected by violence. You wouldn't be a decent human if it didn't affect you in some way.
Omphalos, you HAVE TO get through the cultural barrier, I still you ane I have the same kind of cultural backgrounds. I felt exactly like hwo you are feeling now. I was sooooo ashamed of myself being 'mental' (depression is not really a mental probelm as such, but this is wht I thought), so what I did was to pretend I am happy and good, and I ended up crying uder my duvet every single night thinking how stupid I am, I also got to a point where amlost all my friends thought I hated them and so I didnt wanna talk to them, or some ppl though I was trying to be cool or whatever, so then they started ignoring me somehow, I felt like a big loser (I still now, but better). All honestly all these pretending made me feel much worse, and I hit the top score in the test with my doc. After that, I have decided there is really nothing to be ashamed of, coz human beings are made to get ill from time to time, illnesses can be on way or another, and to be honest, depression is annoying, but if I must get ill at som epoint in my life, I would rather to be this than anything physical (although this is somehow physical too, but it's way better than cancer or heart disease). And then I have gone almost totally open about it, I went to all my good firends with my apologies about weird behavior in the past and explained to them I am depressed, and they are all very understanding, and now I have wonderful support from my friends, I even get a warm hug from some of them everytimes I see them.
So yeah, I guess what I am trying to say is that you really have to be open about it, and remeber, depression is bloody common, almost every single friends of mine either have experienced this themselevs or their family members had it before. So there is really nothing to worried about.