A part of me believes that if I continue to pretend that nothing is wrong, then nothing needs to change. As if willing something to be a certain way would ever actually make it happen, but fear of the alternative makes us hope for something we realistically know can never be.
You see, I am scared, and I’m not afraid to admit it anymore, because the prospect of telling the people you care about, your family, that you are having mental health issues involving depression and anxiety has every right to fill you with dread.
I know that what I really need to do, is to stop pretending, to stop hiding, and to start talking. I know that because it’s what I really want to do, so that I can be absolutely me, rather than having to put on a façade of fake smiles on my bad days, and rather have people surrounding me that actually understand. The difficulty of this is, I have no idea how I’m supposed to tell my parents, because how do you tell the people that you love most in the world that the daughter they thought was so strong, is struggling, and has been struggling for a really long time?
How do you tell them that without hurting them? Without making them feel guilt that they have absolutely no right to feel?
It is for this reason I have stayed silent for so long, and every person I do open up to about this side of me, and every conversation I have about these feelings only serves to deepen my own guilt that my parents weren’t the first people that I went to when I started feeling this way, that I favoured talking to strangers over them. I know to my Mum this would seem like betrayal.
So, where do we go from here? It seems inconceivable to me, I’ve gotten myself stuck in a place where I started to seek help, where I took a step in the right direction only to be held back by the paralysing fear of having my relationship with my family irreversibly change because they might not fully understand what I’m trying to tell them.
Perhaps this is an issue that a lot of people struggling with their mental health face, because what really holds us back is the fear and shame of having the people we most want to make proud realise that you’re not quite managing things as well as they thought.
Perhaps, really all this is, is my self-doubt that makes me worry so much about my family’s reaction, perhaps if I simply sat them down and had a truthful conversation then everything would be fine.
The problem with that is, we can never really know until we bite the bullet and tell them, but what happens if that bullet becomes familial suicide that I’ll never be able to rectify? I guess the only way to find out is to get a grip and fire.