I was only married about two years when my father-in-law made the comment, “People with depression have too much time on their hands. If they kept busy, they wouldn’t be so depressed.” It was then I knew that I would keep our family history of mental illness a secret. And when I was diagnosed with chronic depression three years later, I made my husband promise never to tell anyone in his family.
A little back story on my marriage… I met my husband at nearly 29 years old. He lived in Alaska (we met through my best friend who I went to visit) and I was living in Connecticut. Within 6 weeks, he proposed. The next 11 months, I made wedding plans. His family was southern protestant and mine was northern Catholic. So I have struggled for years to be accepted and I am still unsure on how they feel about me.
With my family, I am fairly open about what has been happening with our mental health. Like I’ve mentioned before, knowing the mental health history is just as important as the medical health history. But because my in-laws are judgmental and made unfortunate comments about mental illness, I have chosen not to tell them about myself, my daughter or my son.
Any thoughts from the few readers that have come across this page? How do you handle people close to you that have all the wrong ideas about mental illness? Do you try to educate, or keep the information hidden in fear of having feelings hurt or being judged? If you are reading this, let me know!