Should I tell my friends I’ve been diagnosed with depression?
I was diagnosed with depression and am wondering if I should tell my close friends
Hi there, you are very welcome to Ask Alex.
Thank you for contacting us. We understand that it’s not always easy to share our thoughts and worries, but we also know how important it is to talk about how we are feeling.
You have said that you have been diagnosed with depression and you are wondering if you should tell your close friends. You have been very brave in sharing this with us here at Childline. Sharing our feelings with the people in our lives can be a difficult thing to do sometimes because we are never sure about how the other person will respond, what they will think or what they will say to us. Often, carrying the weight of our problems alone and not sharing them with others can actually be more harmful to our wellbeing than letting them out, and telling someone what we are thinking and feeling. Remember though, whatever their response, having depression is nothing to be ashamed of and you can be proud of yourself for recognising your feelings and getting the support you need (which we presume is what led to the diagnosis).
If you are nervous about starting the conversation it might be helpful to write it down on paper or even practice the conversation in the mirror. Consider what it is that you are hoping for by sharing this with them, and be prepared for some questions as they may want to learn and know more about your feelings and diagnosis. When you feel ready and comfortable to share this with your friends, ask them if they can sit down to have a chat about what has been going on for you lately and how you have been feeling.
While talking about how you feel when you are feeling depressed is important for many reasons, you may not feel ready to share this with your friends. Here are some other things to try that you may find helpful for dealing with depression:
- Mindfulness – Taking anywhere from 3 minutes to 30 minutes in our day to practice mindfulness can help improve our wellbeing and happiness.
- Exercise – going for a walk or playing a sport can help boost hormones and chemicals in our bodies that help when we are feeling depressed.
- Keeping a Mood Journal – writing down our feelings has been proven to help give structure to our emotions. Being able to look back on how we feel can also help to show us that moods pass, and we won’t always feel any of our emotions, be it happy or sad, for very long.
- Taking up a new hobby or revisiting an old one like reading, playing video games or drawing.
- Practicing Gratitude – Writing down or saying 5 things you are grateful for each day can help depression in the long term. This can be anything from being grateful for getting to have our favourite cereal for breakfast to expressing gratitude that the sun is shining!
Remember, you deserve to be listened to and to have your feelings heard, but it is your decision if you want to share your diagnosis with your friends. Your feelings are valid, and you are not alone. If you feel that you are not ready yet to talk to your friends about this, you are very welcome to chat with the Childline Team by phone on 1800 66 66 66 or through our web chat on www.childline.ie. Childline services are free and confidential, and are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Thank you for reaching out to us.