Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: Afraid to disclose use of antidepressants

 

Dear Carolyn: Do you think I have to disclose to my friends, relatives, dates, etc., that I’m on antidepressants? It’s likely to change my relationships in some ways (I hope for the better), so I feel these people deserve an explanation, but I’m afraid I’m going to feel judged, whether or not anyone is actually judging me. What do you think?

D.C.

Friends, no, relatives, no, dates, no … until you get to the point where you think things are on a serious, committed path. You should also feel free to tell anyone you trust not to judge you, since it would probably be good for both of you to share the truth.

I say all this for a couple of reasons:(1) Intimacy isn’t possible unless you share who you are, fully, even (especially?) the stuff you’re afraid to share. That’s not to say you should spill all and just cross your fingers that loved ones won’t make you pay; choose people carefully, get to know them, then wait until you know enough about them to feel safe, and until you trust yourself enough to carry on even if the person lets you down. That’s when you start revealing more.(2) Looking for this “safe” point will help you see more clearly whether you’re surrounding yourself with people who are good for you. If it turns out you have good cause to believe people will judge you for simply tending to your health, then you have another, potentially valuable piece of your mental-health puzzle. Your relationships may change for the better after you stabilize your moods, but they can improve only so much if the people you’re spending time with are negative, critical, judgmental and/or looking for leverage against you.

Your depression might shade the way you view your relationships, and that’s why medication is best taken with a side of high-quality talk therapy.

Re: Antidepressants: When you do share, please don’t present it as something shameful. When I told my close friends and family, I shared it as great news, which it was.

Anonymous

Yes.

Re: Antidepressants: Maybe it’s generational (I’m in my mid-20s), but I’ve never really perceived much of a stigma around using antidepressants. It’s so common; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 10 Americans takes them. That means virtually everyone has somebody close to them or in their families that is sharing your experience.

Anonymous 2

Yes, maybe generational, but I’m a generation older and I don’t see a stigma, either, except occasionally via the column. Maybe it’s also a bit geographic. Or socioeconomic. Or cultural. Socioecogeoculturational.

Plus there’s some backlash stigma, in that the numbers of people on antidepressants (also true of ADHD meds) have given rise to an “I don’t want to be one of those take-a-pill-and-make-it-go-away people” camp.

That idea is ludicrous, of course, to responsible prescribers and patients, who know the hard work that goes into diagnosis and treatment. That’s why it’s important not to get distracted by uninformed opinions.

The moral of the story, I hope, is that this is chiefly the business of doctor and patient, and that the best course for loved ones is to support people’s efforts to get and remain well.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category