It has been a long time since I told my social circle that I am going to a psychologist. At that time I didn’t know what kind of diagnoses I had, but despite that I wanted to tell someone. I first told my best friends via WhatsApp. At that time I lived in the south of the Netherlands and all of them on the other side of the county, so it was inevitable that it was told via WhatsApp. In addition, I found it hard to tell face-to-face, so WhatsApp was a good alternative, without that I might not even been able to tell at that moment. They responded very nicely and supportively and did not condemn me for the fact that I went looking for help. They are still a great support to this day.
And what about your family?
Gradually it became clear that I was suffering from PTSD and depression. In the meantime I had not yet informed my family circle. I found it difficult because I feel that a lot is expected of me and I didn’t want to let them down. I did not want to come across as a disappointment or as someone who was pathetic. Family parties during this period were not something I was looking forward to. I did go, but I would always put on my mask and answered all questions with “good,” “well,” “fine.” Of course there were a number of family members who also saw that the way I spoke did not match the way I looked. I then confided in a number of these family members and told them what was going on. They also responded very nicely and not judgmentally. So my delusions that I would be seen as a disappointment or pathetic were (luckily) wrong. But my family is big, so a part didn’t know anything. And then Lisa from NiceDay asked me if I wanted to write blogs for the website. I had put the very first blog that I wrote, about one and a half year ago, into the family app and everyone was informed. The responses were all very positive. They thought it was great that I shared this part of me with them.
Since writing for NiceDay, I have been much more open about my mental complaints. I can tell much more easily about my present depression and that I have just recovered from PTSD. For example, I came across a number of old acquaintances who also went to a psychologist for, among other things, depression, PTSD, eating disorder, burnout or anxiety disorder.
It feels good to know that I am not the only one in my environment who is suffering from psychological problems. By not being frenetic about it and sharing it with loved ones, I feel freer. Freer in the sense that I don’t have to pretend that I am super happy, while it is not the case. Because with a mask on life takes so much energy. Of course you have to feel for yourself whether or not you can share it with the people you are currently with, which can mean that you sometimes wear a mask. And that’s okay, as long as it doesn’t become a habit every day. So if I have to give you advice: share it with your friends and family. They won’t judge you. And if a few people do, you know who you can and cannot count on in this case!