October 15, 2013

t’s sad that I feel scared telling people about me, but also that I’m scared of my own illness.

Okay maybe you don’t tell them straight away, I usually don’t, though I feel like they need to know about me in case I ever get in a bad way. Just so they are prepared for it - if I suddenly locked myself in my room all day, not eating or drinking, people would probably find me pretty weird if they didn’t know I had a mental illness.

This goes for university especially. Living in a house full of budding students you are expected to go out daily and drink until the sun comes up and, don’t get me wrong, most of the time I’m up for it. But on some of those days, I’ll wake up, then just think “no, it’s not happening”, and stay in bed for the rest of the day. And if you consume alcohol in that state of mind, anything could happen, and I’d rather not risk it.

Luckily, all my housemates know about me. The conversations were really casual but they all know and understand to an extent. When I published my first blog there were people on my course and generally around university approaching me about it. It was nice in a way, people would say “I would never have known.” or “you’re such a happy depressive!”. I don’t know whether to say thank you, or to be like yeah, you haven’t seen the other side of me, she’s not happy at all.

I’m absolutely terrified of my illness

As hard as it is to admit you have a mental illness to someone you’ve just met, or someone who doesn’t know, it’s even harder trying to describe how it is. I’m going to be perfectly honest here: I’m absolutely terrified of my illness. It pains me to admit it but I am scared. Regardless of how long it’s been in my life (probably about six or seven years now), it still scares me when I go into a mood. I’m scared of what I’ll do, I’m scared of what I’ll say, I’m scared of how low I’ll get, I’m scared of whether I’d be able to handle it, I’m scared of hurting those around me, and most of all, I’m scared of the fact I lose all sense of rationality and control in those moods. It scares me to an extent where I’d say to my partner “I’m going into one, this is logical me speaking, and I’m going into one. I’m so, so sorry, just hug me until it’s over.” But of course, it isn’t over for hours, sometimes days, weeks or months if you’re unlucky.

How can you explain that to someone though?

If I’m scared of my illness, it would make other people scared too, and it just becomes a massive circle of uneasiness on both of our parts. If I’m at a party and we get on the subjects, some people are like “tell me what it’s like”, I’d just say “I can’t explain it.” partly because I can’t explain it, but also because I’m afraid that if I say “It’s terrifying, I get scared whenever it happens, it makes me want to harm or kill myself, and sometimes, I forget what I do... pass the chips.” It’s made university life very hard for me. I enjoy every minute of it but there’s a cloud of black smog over me that just reminds me of what I have.

It’s sad really. That I feel scared telling people about me, but also that I’m scared of my own illness. That’s really sad. And that shouldn’t be happening.

So what can I do about it?

Talk. Face up to my fears and talk about it if they’re willing to listen. Maybe I can make even the most narrow-minded people open their eyes and realise that this illness is real. It’s real and it’s scary. At nineteen years old I'm still scared.

Read more personal stories >

Share your views with us on Twitter >

Or sign our pledge wall to show your support and find out how talking tackles mental health discrimination.

Share your story

Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.


I've just read Emily's

I've just read Emily's touching and honest blog. As a University lecturer I both go through all this myself as someone who suffers from depression and see students go through it too. So many times the 'system' at Uni can't support these people and I do my very best to share my experiences with those who come to talk with me. Too many times I see students who I see are unwell and feel helpless to support them, or they feel they can't speak out. Emily's blog is braver than I could have written myself and is going to help support those students who need to feel they have support in the future. Thanks for your words, Emily - I will pledge to do the same and speak out.

Your openness is so refreshing

Hi Emily, I think your honesty and matter of fact approach is essential reading for all university students. Your blog helps open up one of society's last taboo subject. Thank you

How do you tell ......

Such a well written & helpful blog by Emily, I am sure many people will relate to it & perhaps feel able to start conversations about their depression.

thank you for sharing ,

I am trying to understand how a much loved family member feels. The information you have shared is very helpful. God bless you. You are a courageous young lady. Thank you dear.

Emily, you are wise beyond

Emily, you are wise beyond your years. I have kept my depression quiet for eight years. I am a high fuctioning person as well. I was amazed at the group that I have carefuly shared have understood & are now supporting me I wish I had done it much sooner..

Thank you

This blog makes me feel less alone. I may only be 14 but I've struggled with depression and emotional abuse. But reading this blog makes me feel less alone because I know that I'm not the only person afraid of this.


I can relate to this on so many levels I'm also 14 and it's very hard for me to relate to people and even my friends don't know I am curious if you have found something to say to tell your friends without making it awkward.

Thank you!

Thank you, you really hit the nail on the head with "happy depressive"! I have very stupidly been extremely secretive abot depression and with my mood being being fairly rapid cycling it has been hard to be honest, even with myself but you hit th nail on the head with "happy depressive" because we often are very good at pulling ourselves together to appear happy but it requires an effort that leaves one exhausted. Thank you for putting words to these experiences, you have helped me.

That's exactly how I feel! I

That's exactly how I feel! I have, for so long, acted as if I'm the happiest person on earth. I've been told I'm "cute," "energetic, "always happy," and "really sweet..." but it's so exhausting to act like this. These are my personality traits when I'm NOT suffering through a depressive episode (which can last for weeks or even a few months at a time), but it's exhausting to keep up when I am in an episode. My husband knows quickly when I'm in an episode due to my slow speech, lack of interest, etc... but when I have to face the rest of the world I try so hard to be my "normal" self... and you're right, it IS exhausting. So much so that I usually come home to nap afterwards, and am good for nothing else during that day :( . And, on days when I'm meeting with family or friends, I force so much of myself to pretend, because I still can't let anyone (outside of my spouse) know that I am suffering from depression. I'm too scared of what they'd think... the disappointment, the worry, etc.

This is amazing that you've

This is amazing that you've shared this, thank you so much. Your depression must have started really young. Mine started around the same age, too. I can see you're very self aware and handling it extremely well, even though I'm sure it doesn't always feel that way to you.

What can I say to them?

I have severe anxiety and depression, and at times-much like you-I have episodes where I have absolutely no control. I'm 14. I am seeing someone at the moment for some help but I don't know how to tell my friends about it. My psyc keeps telling me I need a good support base (i.e. i need to open up to my friends) but every time I try I get stuck and have no idea how to phrase it so that I don't scare them off or make them worry. What sort of things could I say to them?

Here is what you can say

I as well have depression, but not as severe. I wouldnt come out to plenty friends at once, stick to the one you KNOW can keep a secret. Trust me, they will feel very flattered you told them and will listen and try to help you. If you are very comfy around friends, tell them all, but never feel pressured into doing so. Thats all for now, and i apologize i replied so late.

I think I'm depressed

I'm 12 years old and I've found that I've been losing interest in things I used to love. I've quit softball, I'm thinking about quitting basketball, and I've been wanting to be alone all day on my laptop. I don't know how to tell my parents or friends, but I think I need medical help. Any suggestions?

Time To Change

Hi, thank you for your comment. I am really sorry to hear that things are so difficult at the moment and sorry that you are not feeling interested in the things that you used to enjoy. Whilst we are not able to provide professional support we do have some useful links on our website that you might find helpful:https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/mental-health-and-stigma/help-and-support. Take care, Jodie at Time to Change


Ive had depression for about 10yrs now and still frighten to this day to tell people on how i feel. I met this guy who i really like and i just admitted to that ive got depression it took me a week to tell him he nows about my passed as ive told him that the other day but didnt tell him it coursed me to have depression untill today i jst hope he dont go off me like every one eles dose when i tell them

I dont know how

Since I can remember I've always felt so sad and recently I've been taking the NHS depression test and scored 16 but I'm scared to ask my parents to take me to a face to face test. Any advice?


Hi Tom, it can be really hard to start those conversations about mental health. We have a section for young people, and for parents, which contains advice on approaching the topic: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/youngpeople We also have a number of support links here: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/what-are-mental-health-problems/help-support-services Take care, Crystal at Time to Change

Recently 'diagnosed' with

Recently 'diagnosed' with 'moderate depression' which means nothing to me because I don't know anyone who has the same problem. I don't know how to refer to it because it doesn't feel like an illness, it just feels like me. And when I say 'depression' it sounds so dramatic - like an excuse or something and I don't know if people will understand... Like people say they're depressed all the time so how do you tell someone without them saying "jeez yeah, me too, hate exams!" and it sounds totally mental but it really is such a huge obstacle for me, was kind of looking for some guidance I guess...

I entirely understand...

I have no clue how to tell my parents. I'm 25 and fully independent but I need to build my support network. I would love to have them included because it's so hard to deal with a "slump" without support from those who matter most. I came home for the weekend hoping to bring it up but I've just let it keep eating me. Only my counselor, boyfriend and 2 coworkers know and I don't have the support around me I need.

I'm tired

I'm 19 and I've had depression since I was a kid......itz very frustrating and I often question my existence....why I have to live with this tormenting illness.....I usually don't tell people of it because they won't understand.....most times I feel alone....I think about killing mysef bcos I'm tired of living a tormenting life.....I see people with healthy self esteem and I'm often jealous asking myself why I didn't grow up like that......I'm jst tired......I want 2 end it all.....


Hi Kay, really sorry to hear that you are finding things hard. We have some support links that you might find useful: http://bit.ly/SuPp0Rt Take care, Crystal at Time to Change

This happened to me! You can find a way

Kay. I also feel the same way as you. I know how u feel. I was very tired when i got bad moment, thinking of my life as hurricane, saddness, boring, blaming and even got a suicidal thought that i really want to end. You know what happen?, sometimes i feel so needy and no answer to my questions/doubts/concerns in life, cause me to depression and the solution is to drop it, it is hard but take risk. Then going to do something to discover. Life is just experience. Accept the negative and positive in life, no matter if positive is more or negative is more than that. Finally, i answer "no" to my suicidal thought because, i feel need to help others same as me, u know helping others is helping me. I can't help me by helping myself to overcome that alone, for me is imposible, i got so tired with 0 energy, but we are powerful than we think. I suggest accept it, loving yourself/myself no matter what, go out see the bright side like ride a bike or jumping or dancing with joy, talk to people to take out your weight which it is very heavy can hurt, help someone to help u, hug someone or your pet to hug and even squeeze you, ask for support, and many things to discover more and of course need silence to repair is normal. Most people aren't perfect because they don't know what to do, they mostly choose "wait" from us, so tell them first but not a lot, for example why?. Our life are diferent but our life are very truly special as you. Even if u don't know, but it is true you are cool<3 <3

My issues

I've had depression for about three years now and I am only 12. I have told 5 people. I told my dad and five friends. I accidentally told my dad it frightened me. He started by saying if I needed to start going to therapy and I refused about having a mental illness. I thought it would go away but it never did and I'm still struggling with it.


Hello MG, Thank you for your comment. Experiencing mental health problems can feel frightening can’t it.. but it’s very common. We suggest you ask your dad to take you to the doctor and to talk about how you have been feeling. Getting help can make things a lot better. You can always call Childline on 0800 1111 Best, Naomi at Time to Change


How did you tell your parents? If I did the math right you are 14 now just like me. I also have Depression at least I think I do 8 have been struggling with it for years now and I really want to tell my best friend but i don’t know how. I know i’m late and you will probably not respond but if you see this can you help me?


I took the NHS depression test a couple of hours ago. I took it twice to make sure I had an accurate result and I got 14 then 15. It said that I am very likely to have depression and I don't know what to do. My family has no idea and neither do my friends. I feel like I do need to talk to someone but don't want to go to therapy especially because I am going into hospital soon but also because I would like to have a free chat with someone. I don't know whether 15 is actual depression or not but I want to thank you Emily because your blog showed me that it's okay and that it does get better. Even if it's only marginally it's still progress. I am just 14 and it doesn't seem like it's very common at my school and/ or age so I was going to see my school nurse...? I don't know what to do or tell anyone though. Thank you Emily for what you've said x


Hi Lenni, thanks for reaching out to us here. Depression can affect people at any age, and if you think you may be experiencing it it's always good to talk. You might be surprised to learn that 3 people in every classroom will experience mental health problems - that's 1 in 10 young people. If you go to a school with 1000 students, that's 100 students with mental health problems. Your school and your family will want you to be happy and well. If you feel like talking to someone outside of school, Childline are really good - they are free to call, and confidential: 0800 1111 Take care, Crystal at Time to Change


So here goes Iv suffered with massive peaks and troughs for years now and time an time again people have suggested depression to which I have told them where to go . I mean I'm a young healthy male with the world going for him. The problems got a lot worse about 2and a half years ago when my wife's gran died at about the same time as I had a major falling out with my dad . I was there for my wife and family her rock as she said , yet nobody ever seemed to care about how I felt im strong Iv been through so much I can take it . I couldn't n I started to feel lonely which led to drinking whenever I was alone to ease my pain . I started to get down but whenever I was confronted Id say I was just tired so my wife dragged me to doctors where I had several blood tests for anaemia and diabetes among others. When I returned alone for results the doctor asked me a few questions before suggesting depression to which I laughed off and left , again I'm a young healthy male with everything going for him how could I be ? So I carried on drinking and feeling more lonely . Instead of going out to visit friends and family when the wife was at work I stayed in alone and drunk . The peaks and trough continued for a long time . Then earlier this year we went on the holiday of a lifetime it was amazing Iv never felt so high but of course we had to return and along came the inevitable trough. It was the lowest Iv ever felt . My wife started suggesting depression but still I couldn't admit it I began to resent my wife for me not being able to talk to her so I told her I don't love her anymore and left . We talked and agreed counselling both as a couple and for me . Then she decided we don't need couples counselling but Iv got to go . Problem is our relationship did have troubles also and I felt betrayed that she had changed her mind . I started getting stupidly drunk causing rows in resentment and texting a female friend . I think I was trying to hurt her although the friend was just a friend the wife went ballistic and told me she didn't want me to talk to my friend anymore . So I resented her even more as I felt it was her way of making me more lonely . So I left again this time for good . I visited a doctor and told him how I feel to which he gave me medication and a number to book somebody to talk to . I still haven't as I met sumbody else was happy for a short while but now I'm back thinking about what Iv lost . Lonely scared n wishing I could just die .


Hi there, I'm really sorry to hear about all that you've been through. You must have had a really tough time. Please don't feel like you are alone - there are people out there that can help you. Samaritans are now free to call on 116 123. As an anti-stigma campaign we aren't able to offer advice on support directly, but you may find these links useful: http://bit.ly/1Lh54ZT Best, Tim at Time to Change

I cried at home and my

I cried at home and my girlfriend caught me. She said i need to stop being such a big baby. After that I feel like I can't tell her how I feel especially since she said she wants a strong and capable man. This article had some useful info but I don't see how it can help me tell her.

My depressed side

In my life I feel like I cant go to anyone for help because people never listen to what I have to say. I am 13 years old and I been suffering from depression for 4-5 years. I know it isn't as long as others but my depressed side started slowly coming in 4th grade because I was being bullied and I slowing started hating going to school. In 5th grade, that's when it got really bad. I got called fat, stupid, worthless, ugly and even a person who doesn't deserve friends. I also had I friend that I thought was a real one and she started telling my friends lies about me. Because of that friend I lost amazing friends that I could ask for, and now they started bullying me to where I didnt want to live. I didn't want to commit suicide because I didn't want to make my remaining friends and my family sad for me doing that. The next school year (which was 6th grade) the bullying got worse and didnt want to tell anybody about it. People kept on calling me a fake because all the times that I hurt myself. I don't really like being in front of a big audience, so why would I make up all the times I hurt myself. I only told 2 friends of the time that I hurt my chest at the beginning of my 4th grade year and I don't really want to talk about it. When I read this blog, it reminded me of how I want my friends to understand me. In 7th grade thats when I got my suicide thoughts and more times for me to wish I died the first time I hurt my chest. I hope I have people I can talk to and to trust these days but it is just really hard to these days.

Amazing! Me too!

Hello! That's Wow! I am so glad, u write this blog of how bravely u are. Remember, honestly we are heroes! When i read this, it makes me feel so much comfortable because am not so alone, even though i felt so lonely. I know it is hard to open up and i am also scared of everything because of this, but be openess is always better like always! For me, it's like loosing some weight from my shoulder. Relax and think then say. Just don't go tell them straight to the point, first what works for me when i told to my brother on those time is explaining first then add the main point at the end, so they may not feel shocked. I already talked to my closest relationship, they are my trustees. I didn't tell my parents very well about that, because i was so unsure about my problem depression. Later on, i finally understand, it is just appear, when u feel as Emily said black cloud, it is very hard to explain why i have this?. Be open and then u find. Again, the words, many times the air erase them every day, so it is better, well for me, or try it for you, is to remind them. Otherwise, accept this feeling depression, if u don't accept it, is like no to your existence, it makes feeling much worse. Look, i accept that i have raining-pouring-watering inside of me, i begin to drop by little. Of course!! This can remove, but takes time! I love u all heroes!!! I'll gonna read my first poem in the audience in my university about me and my expression cause' i can't say one by one people, which is exhausking. <3

How do I tell someone?

I'm 17 right no living with my mom and her boyfriend. I'm currently not diagnosed because I'm terrified to tell someone I have depression. I've known about it for at least a year now and it started one night when for some reason I was at my dads I was laying on the couch at night (my bed) and I just couldn't stop crying to save my life it felt like my mom just died or something and I couldn't control it at all. And just here and there spuratic episodes of just being in a perfect mood one moment and the next I want nothing to do with life. The only person who knows about it is my girlfriend but I've very vaguely told her about it so she doesn't know very much in my case. But for so long I've wanted to tell my mom and she even asked me one time if I was depressed, but I just can't bring myself to tell her because as much as I know it's nothing to be ashamed about I just feel like I should be. I'd give anything to just feel comfortable enough to open up to someone and just let it all out of what's going on with me..

It was so nice to hear

It was so nice to hear someone describe it, someone who is fighting the way I am. I'm not good with words but it was amazing and inspirational and made me feel so much better about myself and this situation and gave me strength I've been needing xxxx

This helped so much

I'm currently at university struggling with depression and haven't ever told anyone but my mum. Moving away from home made it really difficult to deal with. After reading this i decided to tell one flatmate about it, the only other person i have ever told in the 4 years that ive been struggling. It was really difficult but im glad that i did it because he said that he understood and had noticed my change in moods. Im sti struggling but it feels better knowing that now he knoes that if i dont leave my room its because i have depression and its not because i just dont like them. Thank you

The Black Wall

That's very brave, and honest of you. I have depression. Every few weeks I sit down with my therapist and talk for an hour or so. It helps. I've come a long way from when I was at my worst. I characterize it as the black wall. It stemmed from emotional abuse on the part of my sisters, as well as decisions I made to keep negative things to myself. It all came crashing out several years ago when my sisters treated our parents horribly. Some of my family members know the reasons. My sisters do not know why I have cut off all contact with them; I strongly feel that they don't have the right to own my pain, for lack of a better term. My therapist has said that your emotional well being has to come first, and that if cutting those who have hurt you out of your life- especially if they never change- to protect yourself is what you have to do, then you shouldn't hesitate or feel bad to do so.

I'm thirteen

I am 13 and just starting to feel worthless and broken. I took a couple online tests and found out I have some sort of depression. No one else knows about it but me, and its so hard not to just burst out and say it. I don't know how I will tell my parents. I live such a good life and don't know why this is happening to me of all people. I just want a cure or something. No one has noticed anything yet, or if they have, haven't said anything. How do I tell the people I love most?

Time to Change

Hi Tracy, that sounds really difficult and I am sorry to hear you are having a tough time at the moment. Whilst we are not able to provide professional support we do have some useful links on our website that you might find helpful: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/mental-health-and-stigma/help-and-support. Take care - Tash at Time to Change

I can relate

I am currently going through depression and have been for the last 4 years. I can relate to everyone who has had suicidal or harmful thoughts because I have had them and I still sometimes do. My relatives still don’t know about and I don’t know how to talk about it as I am the first case of depression in my family as far as I know. When I was younger I thought that depression was a joke. Just how foolish I was. You cannot understand it until you experience it.

Time to Change

Hi Ege - thanks for your comment. I'm really sorry to hear that you don't feel able to talk about your mental health problems. Have you heard of Elefriends? It's a supportive online community where you can talk to others who may have had a similar experience to you. It's a safe place to listen, share and be heard. Take care - Tash at Time to Change


This is so brave of you to share and I have a lot of these problems but the worst thing is that I go to a boarding school so I'm around teachers 24/7 and it's just so hard to stay happy ALL THE TIME. I'm also around a lot of other people and if I'm ever sad, they'll catch on straight so I just stay happy. I also hate it when people bring it up because last year I went through a lot of self harming and if I show one sign that I'm sad, my friends are just telling me to forget it but it's the hardest task In my life but thank you this helped me a lot :)

What did you think of this blog? Tell us in the comments