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Keeping my diagnosis/suicide attempt/hospitalization a secret from some people

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Well-Known Member
I'm sure it's because I know the risk of telling people, but I've kept quite a few people in the dark that I'm manic-depressive, attempted suicide, and spent time in a hospital.

My closest friend doesn't know. He doesn't know why I had to leave high school, and I've never volunteered the information. He doesn't know I attempted suicide soon afterward, or that I was hospitalized. When he's around my residence, I hide all the pill bottles. When we've been talking a while, I sometimes feel like I should tell him at that point in the conversation, but I've never said it. It was hard enough telling him that I used to be in therapy, and that was after spending day and night with him, driving around Maine.

I'm fine with him not knowing, really. He treats me like a normal human being, which people sometimes don't do when they learn things like that. I'm afraid he'll distance himself from me, which is much too common.

One friend knows everything. But with him it's a little different, because he's also manic-depressive, and his suicide attempt, which he chose to tell all his friends about, was violent, and had a way higher chance of working than mine did, but he still failed. Both of us actually spent time in the same hospital, just at different times. What's odd about him and me is that we both attempted at nearly the same time, unbeknownst to each other, and I was morbidly amused that the dates were so close, yet neither of us suspected the other of having suicidal intent.

I think only one of my relatives besides my parents and brother knows, the grandmother I'm closest to, but not because I told her, someone else told her. Luckily, she still treats me well. And my half-sister doesn't know.

My ex-roommate, who I lived with for a year, never knew. When I had a psychiatry or therapy appointment, I made up places I was going which could conceivably take about 90 minutes. He never caught on.

I suppose it's safe to say that I've never volunteered the information to anyone that doesn't absolutely have to know, or, of course, to people on this forum.

And it kind of surprises me a little that in some cases, one person who suffers from a mental illness can have all their friends know. I'm not sure how they do it.
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Well-Known Member
I wish I could do what you do. I can't keep it hidden long at all. For some stupid reason I tell everyone even though it messes up everything. I just always hope they will see that i'm truthful but it backfires a lot of the time. Keep doing it. It works by the sounds of it.


Well-Known Member
I never tell anyone anything. I tried once and lost a friend. I didn't even tell her about the suicide attempts either, just the depression and therapy. Some people are just so ignorant and can't understand. It's best to keep it to yourself.


Well-Known Member
I didn't get much of a choice. Living in a small city where everybody knows everybody, stuff gets around fast. I didn't even say anything & I had people I didn't even know yelling stuff at me when I'd be out shopping. If I had the choice I'd do what you did & not said anything..but guess I others thought otherwise..
I was sent to a crisis center over five years ago after a mental collapse in which a 'friend' sent the vice principal my pseudo suicide note. I hadn't attempted suicide yet, but was close. They ignored this elaborate and thoughtful essay and acted like it was all just nonsense. I realize that I am different than most suicidal people, in that I have myself on 'lockdown' and have a tight rational control over myself. This in a way has damned me even more, because things have just built up inside to the point of explosion.

At the clinic, they treated us like stupid kids (which was especially horrible for a very adult like person like myself, at the time). When I got out, the bitch vice principal essentially acted like it didn't happen and was just 'the cost of doing business'. It all actually made me want to kill myself more, but somehow I got through that and ended up getting out of depression, though I became existentially depressed later instead and attempted suicide seven months down the line after being consumed by that existential despair with zero support. I was too shaky from an extremely strong 'fighting spirit' (aka will to live) that prevented me from doing it properly, and cleaned everything up and never talked about it. Went to school after downing 6 or 8 nyquil (not as a suicide attempt, but as an attempt to make myself drowsy so it would be a little more peaceful, didn't really work I was a complete mess at the time) completely awake and clammed up the whole day, as if nothing had happened. It seemed like a distant nightmare and I never told anyone for four years, except my best friend. I learned over time that this all really fucked me up (I couldn't sleep in the dark after that happened ever again and always felt like some phantom was draped over me if I did), but it took a lot of pain to figure that out (both physical and mental, my body got fucked up from this shit)


Well-Known Member
That's the second time I've heard weird stories about Nyquil. Someone else told me she developed sleep paralysis and sleep terrors while taking it, saw dark phantom like shadows in her room and stuff. She too was taking more than the recommended dosage though. She says it took about a year for the weird shit to stop after she quit using it.
In 2010 I was detained under s.136 MHA quite a few times. My parents know about 3 of those times (part of the reason was that I couldn't cope with my mum being ill, so they were very very understanding).

But in November I was detained by the police and admitted to hospital for 3 nights, on the basis that they would keep me in under section if I didn't stay voluntarily. The police had spent two hours with me prior to being detained, so it was a pretty draining experience. And being in hospital was so scary. I don't communicate well in social situations, so I could barely speak except to one member of staff and one other patient (he started talking to me because he was at my uni, he said he'd seen me around there). Apart from that I pretty much communicated through whispering and nodding/shaking head etc.

I haven't told anyone about it in 'real life' besides one of my kickboxing coaches. Even my best friend doesn't have a clue, or my parents. And that was horrible because all I wanted in that situation was my mum. I'd just found out her cancer was still inoperable, I just wanted to call my mum and cry and have a hug.

The strange thing was that they hadn't been able to get hold of me all weekend (I was in my uni city so not staying at home, and I broke my phone when I dropped it on the night I was detained). So they'd actually phoned the police because they were so worried. The police had already told me that if I didn't go with them they'd phone home (they said they didn't care about confidentiality, heh). But when my mum phoned them they mentioned nothing to her, they said they couldn't do anything because I was 21. So I'm very, very grateful to them for that.

It's odd though, when sometimes a thought just comes into your head (e.g. about hospital food, or if someone's talking about how boring hospitals are), and you almost say something but you have to stop yourself.


Well-Known Member
the thing is, a lot of peeps just dont understand these issues, apart from what they hear on the news "mass murderer was psycho" "...schizo kills 3" "manic depressive runs amok" and crap like that, people just dont understand and tabloids love their headlines forgetting about the majority with mental health issues are probably more dangerous to themselves that anyone else. so you tell someone you have xyz....they freak out thinking you are going to kill them or something, i dont know.

i was in hospital for 17 weeks and if i didnt go voluntarily was warned at some stage it will be taken out of my hands. only 2 people know the real reason i was there. none of my family know nor other friends. as far as anyone else was concerned it was down to my weightloss. i came our worse than i went in apart from putting on some weight through meds. i am not sure why i keep it secret, am i protecting me or them...is it anyone else's business.

there is no obligation to share such info...people are so clouded by media reporting of anyone with mental health issues it doesnt help anyone.

if you want to be half way honest, you can always say you were treated for depression and was in hospital for therapy. i have a million and one thoughts on this going through my head now, i better stop before i get rsi in my fingers!:rolleyes:


Well-Known Member
Yeah I keep my stuff a secret too. I have seen at work where someone gets rumored to be bipolar and then anytime they are grumpy or whatever is chalked up to the "disorder" and "he must be off his meds." No way do I want people viewing me through that filter even if they are idiots to treat it like that. Normals don't know what it is like to have a mental illness and so they chalk it up to a defect of character. The fact is perception matters and if you admit to having an illness it can bias others' perceptions of behavior that otherwise wouldn't prompt a second thought.


Well-Known Member
My family know and a few of my friends. but in my experience, people honestly don't care. the amount of people who are ignorant to how i feel is amazing


Well-Known Member
Horrible as it feels to not have your closest friends know, from reading these posts and from my own experience, it usually backfires. I had a friend go into the hospital and people knew her as "that crazy girl who went to the hospital for a while" for the rest of her high school career. Everyone treated her differently- students, teachers, etc. Then if she acted "abnormal" in any way, shape, or form, they asked her if she was going to go crazy on them and if they could get her some Prozac.
People are cruel, cruel assholes sometimes.
A lot of the time, really.
Dear Rocket,

There is nothing more private than an attempted suicide.
You are under NO obligation to tell anyone.
This is a private medical matter and none of anyone else's business unless you choose to tell them.
You have every right to your privacy.
Own it.
Keep it.
Protect it.
Use it.
Share it, very carefully and thoughtfully, only when you choose to tell someone you REALLY trust.
Nobody NEEDS to know this, except maybe your future husband.
No one has a right to know it.
Your name is not Oprah or Trump!
Guard your heart and show it only when you choose.
My partner knows and my family, i slit my wrists and needed stitches so it was kinda hard to hide it from them. they just ignore it really and get on with things. My partner is supportive but we have the same feelings so we understand each other i guess, i can imagine many arnt


Well-Known Member
My family and friends do know about some of my issues, but in the case of my family, it's never because I've advertised the fact to them, they noticed horrific cuts/scars on my body and when I attempted suicide last year, the police informed my parents (I had no choice, I was 17). If I can help it, I prefer my family don't know. For instance, when my mum was diagnosed with malignant melonoma (she's okay now though) a few months ago, I impulsively cut my forearm open.. needed stitches, I slipped down to A&E and told my family I was going to a friends, and it worked, and they didn't notice my scar til lately.. which I've just said is from last year, which they believe.

All those close to me know I've been hospitalised in the past, as does my college tutor, however my less close friends don't know, because of the stigma. For instance, a guy friend I have (who I also have a crush on) was telling me a story about some woman trying to drive her car into the psych ward I was in and said something a long the lines of "she was probably from inside of there" implying she's nuts. It just makes it embarrassing. It's not an ultimate secret, but there are unfortunately a lot of people who don't have much of an understanding on MH issues, so it's best not to really bring it up.


Active Member
I made the mistake of telling my friend at school that I'd attempted - worst mistake I ever made. I got teased beyond belief for it, even nicknamed 'Pop Tart' because apparently I was a tart that popped pills, among other nicknames.

The attempt that saw me admitted to hospital was widely known, I went missing and all my friends were contacted by the police, so obviously they were all curious as to what had happened. My mum told them when they contacted her because they couldn't reach me, she said that she hoped that it would 'shame' me into realising what I had done to everyone. It was also reported in a local newspaper no names or details but just a police search had ensued after a 'vulnerable young woman went missing in below freezing temperatures'. I knew that everyone knew and I couldn't face anyone for such a long time. I later found out that she hadn't told anyone where I work (because she feared that I would be sacked) but that a member of staff had known I was admitted to A&E and had called the hospital to find out how I was, the switchboard had then told her that I'd been moved to another unit and offered to put her through. When they answered on the unit they obviously announced the name of the psychiatric unit I was on - which is widely known locally. However my employers were amazing about it - very supportive as were my colleagues.

The friends I have now all know, and I have gone back to work at the place I did at the time, the support offered at that time being one of the reasons. There are a few people who I know they know, but they don't know that I know that they know (????Ha!) some backed right off after and some didn;t treat me any different.

I guess it all boils down to the person who is told/finds out.
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