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Why I’m Finally ‘Outing’ My Depression to My Family

Sometimes, I feel like a double agent.

In one life, I can talk about my depression freely and get help from those who support me. In the other, I keep it hidden, like it’s a kitten I’m not allowed to have in my dorm room.

For as long as I can remember, while I’ve been comfortable sharing my experiences with my close friends and even strangers, I’ve hard a hard time talking about depression with a lot of people in my family.

But when I’m having bad days, my family is what keeps me going — I don’t want to hide it from them anymore. It’s part of me, like my brown hair. Sure, I can cover it up, but I can’t change it for good. I want my family to know that.

There are three main reasons why I’m “outing” my depression:

1. To show everyone depression isn’t something we should hide.

It’s not a weakness, and it’s not something I should have to keep to myself. Yes, I worry about how my family and friends might react to this. Some people will be supportive, others not. But I want them to know how much it took to get to where I am now. I want them to be proud of me. I also want others to know it’s OK to talk about their depression, too.

2. To raise awareness about what I’ve been through.

When I was diagnosed with depression, I had no idea I had it. Depression was manipulating my thoughts, making me think it was normal to feel this way. If I can talk to just one person who decides to get help, whether it be counseling (which I have greatly benefited from) or any other resources, that’s worth it. If I can raise awareness about mental illness to just one person in my lifetime, that will be enough.

3. I’m doing this for me.

I feel like I’ve been hiding part of myself from my family for the past two years, and I can’t handle it anymore. There are some things we need to do for ourselves. As much as I want to protect them from the darkness, I need to let it out.

We are strong. Every single one of us is strong. And I don’t want anyone to hide their strength by staying silently.

Related: 16 Ways Life Would Change in a World Without Mental Illness Stigma

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us about the first time you reached out to someone about your mental illness. Whether it was a friend or a professional, we want to hear about why you opened up, how it went, and why you’re glad (or maybe not glad) you did it. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.