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Sophie's Journey: Coping Without Understanding or Support from Family
This article was written exclusively for PsyWeb.com by Sophie. She discusses how she copes with her mental health issues despite the lack of understanding and support from her family.
To read the first part of Sophie's article, click here.
I never had face-to-face support. I had an online counsellor, and although she was amazing and lovely, I was never able to tell her a few things. She knew that I attempted suicide and that my eating patterns were weird, even that I was going through abuse at home. But she never knew how many times I did attempt; I guess I didn’t want her thinking I was completely mental.
Depression made me someone who I didn’t want to be. I lost friends and family members because of it. I lost a cousin I used to talk to because she thought I was pathetic. I tried to educate my family about mental health, and they never understood and never will.
I’ve come to accept that with my mental health, they don’t need to know. They don’t need to know I struggle, or that I’ve been diagnosed with a couple of things.
I still fake smile. I still pretend everything’s fine.
Questioning myself because my family doesn't understand
With my family not understanding how much I’m struggling, it’s hard to be upfront and honest towards them. I remember telling my Mum a few months ago that I was referred to the Eating Disorder Team. Her response: "You don’t need to go there. You’re fine."
Maybe I was fine? Maybe I was being pathetic? Maybe my support network was overreacting?
Although this hurt to hear, she was more than likely right. I’ve given up trying to talk to them, and when she says, "You never talk to me about anything," my reply is, "You don’t understand."
My Mum has a completely different concept of what mental health is. She considers anyone with mental health problems, who hasn’t gone through trauma, an attention seeker. Because of this, and for many other reasons, I hardly talk to people or speak out about my own mental health issues.
Helping others by offering them understanding
Having gone through experiences of depression, I now care more about everyone else and how they’re feeling. I focus on helping others with mental health issues, allowing them to see that there’s hope, allowing them someone who will listen without judging them.
I don’t think depression will ever leave me, I think it will always be there, but as long as I keep talking to my CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) I think coping will be much easier.
I’ve been told how inspiring my blog is, how it’s honest and helpful. I never thought anyone would see it as that. I’m not ashamed to share my experiences any more. If it helps someone to speak out and get help before it's too late, then that will be something that keeps me going.
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