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  • telling people about the "monster under the bed"?

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    Old 11-10-2008, 07:50 AM   #1
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    telling people about the "monster under the bed"?

    Hi, I am looking for anybody's lesson's learned on telling friends about depression. I have been depressed for the better part of 15 years and in that time I have very few people in my life that even know I am. I have been very afraid of their reactions because some of my family is not very supportive about it and feel that I should just snap out of it. Then there are the ones that don't even want to talk about it even though they suffer as well their meds are working so lets forget about it and when asked about it, it is like I have pulled "the monster out from under their be" and they do anything to change the subject and they actually criticize another family member who can not get it together just yet with meds to actually help his bi-polar issues. So just recently I thought that I should try telling a very close friend what was going on in my life and was encouraged by another friend to do so. Well I sure feel like it has blown up in my face yet again. To make a long story short she was pregnant and I was having a difficult time with it for I long for another child but am unable to have more. I was happy for her and I just found it exhausting to be around her and put on the happy face. So it seemed there was a huge gap in our relationship now and I figured that it was my fault so I did tell her my feeling's and how I suffer from depression and so on and so forth and now it is like she can't look at me, or even talk to me, I tried just sending e mails and instant messaging with her and I would rather go to the dentist and have teeth pulled out without freezing than have to talk with her now. She had her baby in Sept. and the friend who said I should teel was like or it was probably from being pregnant it will get better but it has not. We even went and saw her in the hospital and she could barely even acknowledge me. I am hurting so much over this and I just don't know what to do so any help would be so great. Sorry for the long post.


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    Old 11-10-2008, 09:46 AM   #2
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    Re: telling people about the "monster under the bed"?

    First of all, I am really sorry your friend did not react lovingly toward you. Thank goodness you have another friend you are able to talk with honestly.

    I find that people donít understand people with depression. For example, at my past employer people joked about a co-worker that was obviously bipolar. Although I didnít participate in the joking, I never admitted that I had severe depression issues myself. They were all shocked when I wound up being hospitalized earlier this year and only 2-3 even sent cards or called. I think they just didnít know what to do or say.

    Do you want to still be friends with this person? I donít know the value of the friendship from your note. Have you know her a long time, or is she just an acquaintance? Good friends usually become good friends because youíve shared a lot of time and/or experiences with them. Good and bad. Before you decide what to do about her, decide if you want to fix the friendship or not. There are levels of sharing and maybe she isnít going to be a friend you can completely let your hair down with. Then again, maybe sheís someone you are going to constantly run into at social events.

    If you want her in your life or if sheís going to be in your life on some level, perhaps you could send her a letter and say something like:

    I want you to know how much I share your joy in the birth of your new son/daughter. I look forward to getting together to catch up with you and the new baby whenever you can make the time! I miss you. Our friendship is important to me and whatever has caused the strain between us is surely something we can overcome together so when you have some time, letís talk.

    Then Iíd give her a chance to call. If she didnít call in a week or so, Iíd pick up some flowers and drop by. Not that I would apologize for everything I said, I might apologize for making her uncomfortable. My experience is that when there is a strain on a relationship I have with someone, it helps them be more receptive if I take the first step.

    Not everyone is worth this much trouble however, so donít beat yourself up over it. You took a chance being more open with her and she didnít pass in my book. Youíre not at fault for trying.

    Old 11-10-2008, 10:04 AM   #3
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    Re: telling people about the "monster under the bed"?

    Thank you for everything you have said. I wish people were better equipped to handle this kind of news, it is not the end of the world for them and we are not contagious so I am not sure what the big deal is. I think that depression needs to be more openly discussed by everyone not just hidden under the bed. She is a very good friend of mine and it has saddened me a lot to see her react this way. We have been friends for 17 years and after the reactions I had from family I was afraid to say anything to anyone about it but I feel keeping it bottled up all the time isn't good for us and probably adds to the depression in its own way. My other friend that I refer to is very easy to talk to because he has suffered some mild depression through the years so he has some of an understanding as to what I am going through. It is sad that to be able to let our hair down with other people that it has to be only with people in the same boat. Now I am not saying anything negative to all of the great people on this board for this is such a great help to all of us, but I have friends that still don't know and I find that very draining for me and then for the ones that do know and try to ignore "it" or act differently towards me I find that just as draining cause you are trying to always fix everything to make it right. This is such a horrible disease. I am going to take your advice skimmerrabbit and send out a letter I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again.


    Old 11-10-2008, 01:56 PM   #4
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    Re: telling people about the "monster under the bed"?

    My family and several of my friends understand because they are also sufferers of depression. My husband has learned a lot living with me and has a good understanding of it now. But not everybody is so accepting.

    I told a co-worker who I felt really close and comfortable with once. We no longer work close with each other, but whenever I run into her she gives me a funny look and asks "Are you OK?" and talks to me in a really soft voice like I'm made out of porceline. She never was like this before.

    Old 11-10-2008, 03:21 PM   #5
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    Re: telling people about the "monster under the bed"?

    HI arenagirl,

    I could have written your question except for the part about the strained relationship but that's only because you have a bit more courage in telling people than I. Good for you.
    Skimmerabbit's advice is excellent and I would have said something very similar, so no need to :-)

    Only a few people know about my depression/anxiety as I have heard comments such as "snap out of it" etc (ya said by a family member)...
    I few friends know and they are very supportive but also they are good friends and one deals with mood disorders herself. I am cautious though as I have heard terrible comments said about others who suffer from depression or are bipolar in both the workplace and in my family (my aunt has suffered with depression for years and the comments said have been shocking).

    I am sorry that many of us (most or all of us??) deal with the stigma of mood disorders.... it seems very unfair to me as it's a difficult struggle and having supportive people is so necessary.

    I hope things work out with your friend.

    Cheers, Sarah

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