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Anxiety and Depression Support
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Who am I supposed to talk to?

My boyfriend recently told me that I should not share my mental health problems with people. He told me that it gives people the wrong ideas about me and that it could possibly lead to being terminated from a job or missing out on a job offer.

I play World of Warcraft, which is a Mass Multiplayer Online Role Play Game (MMORPG). My guild uses an online chat through a program where you can converse and exchange ideas. You build relationships with people and it becomes like a family.

My boyfriend says I shouldn't tell them that I have mental problems, because that projects an incorrect image of me.

He thinks that telling people I have a learning Disorder or a mental Disorder is going to mark me for life as an outcast. That people are going to judge me or belittle me. That it's information people don't need to know, because that isn't the real me.

If that's not part of who or what I am? Then who am I?

To add fuel to the fire, I told him something that he quickly told me to never tell anyone again including him. He stated that he wished I hadn't told him.

I get so frustrated, because he says I can tell him anything but there seem to be these limits I am unaware of.

Limits of things I can tell him, so that when I was there to talk to someone it's usually my gaming friends who don't judge, don't care and/or know what I'm going through. He says I tell them and my best friend, Gordon, everything and that I don't tell him anything. He says that he needs to talk to them to know what is going on with me.

But for crying out loud!!! How can I tell him anything when he shuts me down and tells me to not talk about it, again, to anyone...

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First of all, your boyfriend is wrong. Is there a stigma around mental health issues? Yes. But how will it ever get better if we don’t talk about it. I’m not saying you should announce it in a job interview, but it’s perfectly healthy to tell people about it. You shouldn’t be ashamed. It’s an illness. I can’t believe he said that to you. I’d rethink that relationship, maybe get some couples counseling. Just because he’s confident in his opinions doesn’t mean they are correct. I can assure you, he is flat out wrong. Your friends will support you if they are true friends. It’s likely some of them have mental health issues themselves. Telling them may give others the confidence to confide about their own struggles. Seriously, your boyfriend’s advice is negative and harmful. You do you.

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I was thinking about how I the world of equal opportunity employment that a mental illnesses was not a reason to fire someone and/or reason to not hire.

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Sarah is right, I use my best judgement when I talk about this to people, trust yourself to do what you think is right, I have met allot of people online when I use to game, they still to this day text me and ask how things are going with me. Your boyfriend should be more understanding of you and what you do.

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Sarah and Vinman,

My boyfriend knows that my anxiety levels lead me to verbal diarrhea. He's worried that I'm going to over share my information to the wrong person and do something to myself.

He says I enjoy talking about my time in the psych ward and medications too much.

But he also thinks that these people on my videogame are strangers. These people and I spend like 4 hours together at least 3 days a week. We share what we want and support each other. I know a lot about these people and quite frankly some of them understand my health issues more than he ever could.

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So there you go if you feel comfortable talking to these people then thats all that matters, as far has him knowing weather or not you enjoy something is bull, your the only one that knows the truth to that. You do what you gotta do to make you feel better, he is just adding fuel to the fire, he could never understand what we deal with or what makes us feel better, more supportive is what he needs to be.

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Thanks Vinman

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Vinman is right, he needs to be more supportive. You get to decide who to tell and when to do it and what to say. He doesn’t get a say in how you present yourself to the world. Complaining that you don’t tell him things and then when you do saying not to tell him those things...that’s just messed up. It’s like he’s gaslighting you when he says you can talk to him because you already know he doesn’t want to hear it. You are not the one acting crazy.

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And your bf is an expert in medicine? Or psychology? Or your boss at work and in life? Tell him that you are an adult and quite capable to deciding when and whom to talk to and you don't need him sticking his oar in and telling you how to behave. That ought to do it! :) x

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you said it sista....

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He's a police officer trained in negotiations, but he still cannot completely understand everything.

Sometimes, I feel like he's a tad overprotective of me. Like he's worried I'm going to do something that puts me in a bad light and people are going to miss out on me. But if I box this up, aren't I hiding my true self?

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It's nothing to do with hiding your true self. You don't have to talk obsessively about your mental health, why would you need to? Is it marked on your card? Do you expect others to make allowances for you?

The point is as an adult you can make your own choices and you are not subject to anyone giving you orders. x

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I agree H cat- some people feel like they have to even describe what they did in the bathroom!

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Well, if he's a police officer in my opinion he should definitely know better about human nature. Sounds like a real winner- a control freak and a bully too boot.

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In my experience people ( and especially men when they are "interested " ie. considering or in a relationship with you ) often say "You can tell me anything", and I have to tell you that in my experience they don't actually mean it literally. I think it's that protective thing they have. They want to be protective but when you actually come out with the truth (about mental health problems) they don't like it or they run away. I know this hasn't happened to you in that you are still in a relationship but i would take it with a pinch of salt that you can tell him everything or that he can understand everything. They like to think they can as it makes them feel big but they can't cope with the reality.

In reality in relation to telling people I think it is possible to share with people that you have mental health problems. They may not always believe you (in my case) (unless they actually see you when you are "ill" and then sometimes they are shocked and don't know what to do. ) But having said that many people are very understanding and it makes for a better friendship to tell them. So for me it is a question of picking my audience and not labouring the point.

Maybe your boyfriend is trying to protect you in a way from discrimination; but it comes across like he can't cope very well with your mental health problems really. Do you think maybe you rely on him too much and you should share the "burden of care" for your problems with others? This is just an idea ; it may not be true and I'm just asking you in that it's something to consider, but often we expect so much from a partner that probably they are not able to give???

Food for thought. Gemma xx

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I agree....better off sharing with a professional in therapy, or sharing in a group forum like this one with other people having similar issues in their own lives from mental health issues.

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Gemma,

He tells me all the time that I never tell him anything and that he would do better to text my friends.

He is a trained police negotiator and has psychological training to deal with people who are situations of wanting to harm themselves. No matter how many books or how much training you have, you don't really understand until you've walked a mile in those shoes.

I am 4 years divorced and my ex-husband couldn't deal with me. He chose to not tell me that he wanted a divorce. When I found out he had a new girlfriend (on the side), papers drawn up and lawyer work paid for waiting for signatures. It was my friend that pointed out his behavior to me and told me to ask him if he still wanted to be together.

I was already having medication issues that had me already thinking about killing myself without him asking for a divorce. I felt trapped in my relationship, but my dog and horse kept me alive because I knew they needed me.

So, I completely understand the "you can tell me everything" and it not being understood. My ex-husband made me feel like a social pariah. He told me not to tell anyone, because I would get fired.

I honestly thought my boyfriend was different... But now I'm questioning it.

We are going to couple's counseling, because we both have baggage. Perhaps, the best thing to do is to discuss this in a session. I will add that he makes making sessions difficult, because he wants to wait so long between appointments because of his exes.

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Hi, I had thought you were younger than how you now appear to be from this reply.

Yes it sounds like a good idea to bring it up in the counselling. Also to see if anything more can be done medication and counselling wise to help you with your mental health problems.

It really depends on what you say to people I think about you MH problems and how you say it. There is quite a lot of stigma around for various illnesses such as bipolar and you say he/they are talking about jobs rather telling your close friends.

What to say to employers is complex as you want to be protected under their disability discrimination laws but yes sometimes it is stigmatising to have to reveal eg your diagnosis. So it really depends what you mean about telling people and what you NEED to tell them. If you know you have to take time off due to MH problems then it is probably necessary to tell them. If it doesn't affect your ability to work then it is maybe something you have to carefully consider disclosing.

PS I have now just looked at your previous posts and understand a bit more about you. It seems your mental health does affect your work as in tardiness and so yes it's probably a good idea to disclose confidentially, but no it's not a good idea to tell all and sundry about your time on a psychiatric ward!!! :)

Gx

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so.....you can tell him anything as long as it's something he wants to hear..okay..

and are you not anonymous on your WOW internet game....if you are.... who cares what you say as long as your not hurting anyone....if your posting your real name and address then yeah...I would be discrete because it is true potential employers often do check your facebook page and if your laying on the floor with a beer hose in your mouth, and hooked up to a beer keg they may not want to hire you..... but otherwise....the downside of telling people that are not in your inner circle in the 'real world' about your issues can be that they won't understand, may not want to hear about it, or have their own stuff to deal with.....and frankly casual relationships are just that....casual....and your personal issues such as the state of your mental health is your business.

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'laying on the floor with a beer hose in your mouth, and hooked up to a beer keg' I guess that would do it. You are so funny and I love the way you come out with these :D xx

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it just kills me what these kids post these days.....thinking .....oh...only my BFF's will be looking at this and they may think me flashing my tata's is funny.....right.

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Yes I know. But on a more serious note I thought we women had moved on and still you get so many young girls who defer to their man and give him their power. They still seem to perceive themselves as helpless victims and inferior in some way.

Not saying the poster does by the way. x

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I know!.... our middle girl here when in HS was telling us horrific stories...girls randomly giving BJ's like they are party favors...and saying it's not really sex.... then texting guys ....omg....don't even go there what they are texting photos of.....

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Me too!!!!!

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Yeah, but some of these people are going through what I am and we support each other. I just feel like I'm betraying who I am. But I don't post this stuff all over Facebook or anything... I don't post "I think I will harm myself today" or "I'm just so depressed I can't do anything". I keep that to my inner circle and to the people I know can help me through.

It's things like this make me wonder why I'm in a relationship.

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this is a great place to let your hair down....your anonymous, safe, and no judgement here....they are very nice people.

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As sad as it might sound but your boyfriend is correct. The stigma with mental illness is real and will not go away any time soon. We must face reality. We live in an imperfect world made up of imperfect people. Your boyfriend is giving you sound advice. I am in a supportive work program and in my orientation they stressed how important it is not to share your mental illness diagnosis with a potential employer. The real world is an ugly place. We have to adapt to survive. It only makes us feel different but it is just a wrong we must bear patiently with love.

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No. Like I said, I wouldn’t announce it in a job interview or put it on a resume and there definitely is a stigma around mental illness, but it isn’t getting better by people pretending it doesn’t exist. The advice he’s giving is not supportive, it’s authoritative. He doesn’t know more about this issue than she does. She’s living it. She gets to tell who she’s comfortable with telling. It isn’t up to him. Hiding it from everyone often does more harm than good.

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thanks for clearing that up.

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Here,

You got good advice- an employer only wants to know if you can do the job- and there are some who make reasonable accomodations of course. There are some outfits that will hire people ( knowing this in advance) who have special needs. I saw a TED talk video with Jonathan Mooney for instance- there are certain companies ( high tech) that will only hire people who have asbergers.

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Personally, I would show him the door- just saying. Sounds like he has a very backwards view of life. As for telling someone that a person has let;s say ADHD or a learning challenge- makes a person human! Sounds like you are not the problem he is. Is this person a teenager or a very young adult? At any rate- he needs to get informed and get into the 21st century! You do not announce it at a job interview the same way you would keep any other personal situation private- but sharing that with friends, and family if you want is fine- every human has something that he or she deals with and people share if they want in order to get support. This person should be ashamed especially telling you that he does not want to hear about it.

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Your boyfriend sounds like he thinks he knows it all. Unfortunately, that’s not the type of support you need. If it makes you feel better to talk about your mental illness, you should do that. He shouldn’t be like that towards you. I’d rethink that relationship. That’s not what you need right now. I wish you luck either way. Stay strong, friend. <3

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Hey, Your boyfriend is scared of the unknown and he has been brought up to believe what he is saying to you. If you care for him and want to continue the relationship you should get into counseling together and allow your counselor to help him understand who you, disabilities or mental struggles or both). Also, your boyfriend may in his own way be trying to protect you but he doesn't have the right tools to support your needs. Give him the opportunity to show his willingness to truly help you by reaching out to a professional to help manage your struggles and give your boyfriend the tools to both understand and support you.

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Hello, Sarah -

First, I'm sorry you have so much to deal with. I think everyone here can relate to mental health issues, so you're in the right place with lots of ready ears. May I share my thoughts?

The following may sound sexist - please don't flame me, everyone! It's a generalization. In general, men want to be protectors, not fixers. As long as you present things in a way that doesn't imply that you need feedback, suggestions, or "I totally get what you're going through" comforting, they can handle small doses of sharing of our issues. They secretly wish we would mostly unload/share with our girlfriends, not him. Notice how a gf reacts when we unload on them, as opposed to a bf. The gf comforts and wants to help you fix issues; the bf says fewer words and usually doesn't express comfort and suggestions like a gf. BTW, at first, male strangers (like in your online gaming group) will be more able or willing to comfort and offer suggestions, but that is the nature of online "families."

Also, something you wrote really stuck out for me. You said, "If that's not part of who or what I am? Then who am I?" Please don't take this in a hurtful manner...Who you are is not your disease, whether mental or physical. Your value is who YOU are, not what disease you are or have. Please don't define yourself in terms of diseases. I read an article a long time ago that clarified some things for me. It stressed that we need to stop labeling people, especially our children, as diseased, but as people who just happen to have a disease; for example, we should not say "My ADD/Down Syndrome/mentally challenged/disabled child...," but my child who HAS ADD/Down Syndrome/mental challenges/a disability."

There is such a thing as oversharing. I know you don't intend to share such things in a job interview, but you should not be all about your mental issues. Try sharing other things about yourself and people will see more of you and will value you for more than your disease. You will increase your value in your own eyes if you step outside the disease and create space for YOU, not your disease. It's very stressful and has long-term effects if you focus too much on such things. You are so much more, Sarah!! Find a healthy balance. Big hugs to you and I hope you feel better!!

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