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Hell Is Other People

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My life upto this point has mirrored many others people`s on this forum (from what I can see)
From a young age I have had anxiety, depression and horrible obsessive thoughts that have stopped me getting ahead in every aspect of my life and made me feel as if I`ve been living in some kind of Hell for the last 15 years (approx half my life).

However, (and if I didnt feel worthless enough), to make matters worse, I have a good looking, mental-illness-free brother that is good at everything and a father that lies to everyone about me because he`s ashamed of having a neurotic failure as a son. The only person I can ever count on or relate to is my mother who has mental illness stamped through her side of the family like Blackpool Rock (non Brits might not `get` that reference for which I apologise).

I wonder if anyone else out there has problems made worse by their family`s attitudes to mental illness. If so, how do you handle it? I don`t know whether to confront my father over this, ignore him or struggle on regards and tow the line, telling everyone what they want to hear (that I`m a high flying success and feeling A-Ok!)
It`s been pretty obvious over the course of my life that he doesnt take the issue very seriously despite having an ex wife (my mother) and son (me) endure the horrors of psychological pain to the extent that we have each wanted to kill ourselves over it. I guess the most hurtful about all this is that he seems to care more about what other people think than his immediate family`s well being. Or maybe he does care, doesnt know how to show it and lies to others because it`s the easiest way of dealing with it? Maybe he was just brought up to believe that mental illness doesnt exist or really equates to some kind of character deficiency so pathetic that to mention it brings shame on his family or makes him appear a `bad father`.
I try to put myself in his shoes and make allowances for the fact that he hasnt suffered mental illness one day in his whole life (apparently) but even in that light I have to come to the conclusion that he has acted like a selfish, uncaring bastard. Am I being too harsh? What do you all think?
Hey, firstly welcome to the forums, i hope you stick around with us :smile:

I don't think your being harsh at all and i certainally don't think your selfish or an uncaring barstard! :hug:

This must be a very difficult time for you right now, anyone whos been depressed wants to be stable, and wants that support from their family. Its not wrong to ask or want that support. Family is often the one thing that keeps us going, i know it certainly does for me and when we feel we don't have that support we become even more unstable.

A very common coping method is ignoring the situation, if we block it out then essential to us its not a problem and we don't have to deal with it, but problems will get worse if you don't face them head on. I think your dad is having a hard time accepting that there is a problem in your family with the depression, and i think he would rather forget that then face it and deal with it, i think he might be scared of being hurt if all of you tried sorting it out together.

The only thing i could suggest would to be trying talking to him, tell him how you feel, if not talk to him face to face, maybe writting it down, he needs to know how you feel so try telling him.

take care of yourself

vikki xxx
Thanks for the swift reply.

Actually, the accusation of being a `selfish uncaring bastard` was more levelled at my father than me and what I wanted to know was am I being too hard in judging him in such a way. I don`t always think of him in that light, only occasionally, and especially when I`m in need of `family stability` as you say, to help me through the particularly bad patches. When it`s not forthcoming to ANY degree and he is actually making me feel WORSE than I already do then it makes me angry that my own FATHER would treat me that way.

What makes the situation so frustrating is that mental illness is the most significant thing that governs the way I act and feel on a day to day basis but it`s the one issue in my life that I have never (or hardly ever) talked to him about. I guess what I really am curious to know is whether this is normal behaviour in families dealing with mental illness. I guess that the vast majority of parents talk to their offspring about the issue in at least SOME detail but not in my father`s case. One of my main fears in addressing the situation is the flippant `you have nothing to be depressed about` `pull yourself together` `there are people with real problems out there` type responses that my father has been known to spout on occasion. Also `what am I supposed to do about it?` is something typical of him and is the kind of response I would probably disown him for if he caught on a bad day.

My dad`s ex girlfriend was severely mentally ill for several years before she met my father and was too afraid to even tell him about the nature of her problems ONCE in all the YEARS she was LIVING with him (she only ever confided in me).

This is the kind of unsympathetic mindset I`m dealing with here.

Anyways, sorry for boring you with all the domestic details and thanks for taking the time to respond.



Families have their "secrets". It seems like if we don´t talk about certain things they will just disappear by themselves...
Obviously wrong.

My mother had a depression 20 years ago (she still takes benzodiazepines) and she never really talked about that... just that my father was no support at all.
I´m feeling really depressed for the past 10 years and i never told my parents. It´s so difficult to talk anything with them. For my father is weakness... only weak people have this kind of problems. In fact is quite funny because he has mental problems and doesn´t even know.... he thinks his behaviour is natural...
And for my mother only her problems are important....
I hide it all inside (the depression, the suicidal thougths).

It´s painful. Sometimes i hope to get better one day, other times i just know i won´t...

At this point i don´t even want to talk to them... they never understand what i say...

Take care,
:oops: sorry i read that wrong lol

Well everyone shoudl realise that depression is an illness, you can have depression over absolutely anything, the may not be a specific reason, depression is a chemical in balance and is an illness just like asthma would be.

My mum has kinda acknowledged it but kinda ignores it, she asks about my psycholigist or about the anto depressants iv just started taking, but my mum has never been one for talking in that way. My nan thinks i don't need the anti depressants, i started taking them yesterday and i said they made me feel sick and off balance which is the side affects but she said 'don't keep taking them' that was the first one i took! of course its gonna take time to my body to get use to it. I guess familys handle it in different ways, different ways of coping with a difficult situation
As with anything, I always try and see things from the other person`s perspective and know that I if I had a son
or daughter with mental problems I would do everything in my power to alleviate them (which to be fair, my mother does
and I`m very lucky to have her).

Ultimately, if you`ve never had mental illness it`s probably harder to sympathise with someone than if you had.
I`ve never had anorexia, for example and would find it difficult to know what to say to comfort someone with that condition.

That said, and as youve both already suggested, the absolute WORST thing you can do is NOTHING in terms of talking it through. It`s already been shown that people who talk about suicide are LESS likely to go through with it than people who just BOTTLE IT UP (which I`m forced to do
in my father`s presence). Sometimes I just feel like being completely honest with everyone on my father`s side of the family and letting everyone know what my problems are by letting the `cat out of the bag` so to speak.

That would put my father in a very uncomfortable position but my train of my thought right now is `so what? he probably deserves it`.
As you rightly said, depression, anxiety etc are illnesses (life threatening illnesses!) like any other and it pisses me off and find it incredibly
frustrating that people still don`t believe in it or think it`s some kind of weakness in character. I don`t have that problem on my mothers
side of the family because everyone suffers in a similar way and talks about it freely. When it comes to social gatherings on my father`s side it turns into some big cover up where I have to lie about everything to save face (his face).
The prospect of these kind of situations leaves the following options open to me;

1) turn up, tow the line and pretend everything is fine to make things easier for him (which means lying about virtually every aspect of my life)
2) turn up, be honest about the problems I face on a day to day basis which means talking about mental illness to a bunch of relatives I see once every 3 years. This would make things very uncomfortable for me, my father and relatives, at least in the short term. Unless I was so drunk I didnt care about
3) don`t turn up and give some excuse about being physically ill
4) don`t turn up and give the (honest) reason of being mentally ill
5) disown my unsympathetic, selfish father indefinitely and not have to worry about what he thinks for the rest of my days.
6) commit suicide so that he feels guilty for the rest of his life. Perhaps that will impress upon him the gravity of my situation.

I welcome and encourage your frank opinions, thankyou for your input thus far.
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