Today it is my honor to feature another guest blog spot on The Bipolar Writer blog for Mental Health Awareness Month. Today we have Jheelam and her blog post. You can find her blog @ https://jheelamduttaroy.wordpress.com/
What I Learned After Confessing My Depression to Parents
I can’t talk about other cultures but in South-East Asia (and this is relevant to the other parts of Asia as well), this is a taboo to talk about your mental health openly. More so, for men.
And when it comes to women, well, it’s given that women will ‘whine and crib for something and other’.
Sweeping uncomfortable and ‘intangible’ issues (related to sexuality, mental health, generation gap) under the rug for generations, has brought us to this:
Anyway, here I’d like to write about my own experience about breaking the news of my depression – bolstered by the countless ‘helpful’ articles suggested ‘me’ to do so- to my parents and what happened next.
It was right before my wedding that I finally confessed to my parents that I’m undergoing severe depression needs counseling and it would be wise to put the marriage on hold.
What followed next were my parents metaphorically having their very own five stages of grief–
- Denial: “Oh, you can’t be depressed. This is nothing but pre-wedding jitters. And besides, you are like that only since childhood-always seeing the glass half-empty.”
- Anger:“How can you be so ungrateful? We’ve left no stone unturned to give you a good upbringing. Think about those who have had none.”
- Bargaining:“Get married and save our faces and it’s a promise we’ll not pester you about grand-kids later on.”
“We won’t lecture you how to behave well with your in-laws. Just exchange the god-damn garlands”.
- Depression: At this stage both my parents fell into a brief spell of depression themselves.
My father- by shutting himself up and brooding.
My mother- by shedding copious amount of tears.
Their daughter is depressed and getting the willies about the wedding.
It felt like a classic tragi-comedy case.
- Acceptance: “We admit you’re depressed (read: almost grudgingly). But please get married and we’ll assist in your rebound.”
With the constant support of my sibling and my partner and a quick session with my therapist, I’d been able to take the leap.
But if you don’t have the constraints like I had (shits such as family-honor, societal status, “what will others say”phobia), and at the end of your tether before a big leap, I’d tell you to- fight back.
Don’t take any life-altering decision without healing your mind first.
So what have I learned here?
Sometimes, parenting consultation is not enough
Never have generation gap showed its true face to me like it did before my wedding.
This is impossible to make parents of the previous generation understand (and I’m making a sweeping generalization here) that depression is not
- any excuse
- a devil’s workshop of my idle mind’s making or
- curable via ‘grin and bear it’ coping method.
I’d always suggest informing your parents about your depression. But keep your expectation low.
Or, expect more (who am I to say) as you know your parents best.
Getting professional help is a must
Here, I’m talking about Eastern Philosophy where expressing your inner thoughts, fears, insecurities are frowned upon.
So before falling back on BFFs, siblings, cousins, seek therapy first.
Take any cookie-cutter advice devoid of personal experience with a pinch of salt.
Don’t hop onto the ‘quit social media’ ship yet
Yes, social media fosters jealousy, rivalry, trolling, negative body-image and mother of these all- data leakages.
But hold your horses before going en route to Elon Musk and deleting FB pages.
I’ve found some very helpful communities in social media that virtually hand-hold me in that darkest phase- be it through Quora or Facebook groups for women entrepreneurs.
When your immediate family is unable to understand your depression, find your tribe in the web.
And for that social –media- triggering- negative- emotions part:
- Reducing screen-time,
- Not accepting friend request are some useful hacks to counteract it.
As the old idiom goes by- it’s all about separating the wheat from the chaff.
All Pictures Credit: https://pixabay.com/