Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Suicidal thoughts and self-harm / How do you tell your parents about depression & suicidal thoughts?

Topic: How do you tell your parents about depression & suicidal thoughts?

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. fortunecookie
    fortunecookie avatar
    13 posts
    4 February 2021

    Hey guys,

    I'm a return visitor but have never had the courage to start a thread before. I hope I haven't missed one that's discussing this exact question...

    How do you bring this up? Do you bring it up at all?

    A bit of context: I'm in my 30s, my family is back in Europe, my brother died of cancer when he was 20. So I'm the only child left, and I do think that's one of the main reasons why I'm still alive. The first time I thought about suicide was when I was 11.

    At 27 I was diagnosed with depression for the first time, even though I had episodes way before then, but I never told anyone. At 27 I was here studying and couldn't keep up, so I had to see a GP and get paperwork done to be able to study part-time for a semester. That was the one time I casually mentioned this "one-off" to my parents, I figured they would ask why I wasn't coming home yet...

    Since then I've had countless relapses, and it's pretty clear to me that this is an ongoing issue for me. I never told my parents about the relapses, even though they may have had a suspicion when I was living with them for a year.

    I've been back in Australia since 2015, and things have been going well for much of it, apart from a bullying situation at a workplace, which I left in the back of an ambulance after I intentionally harmed myself. (My parents don't know this part either.)

    Since then I've had a lot of therapy with someone I feel really comfortable talking to, I've changed meds to something that really helps, and I'm doing what I can to stay well. But I'm also struggling with a few physical medical conditions at the moment, so here I am...

    I need to make a decision about work, because I simply can't do full-time right now, even though I love my job. I'm even thinking of quitting and just not working for a while, because I'm so miserable recently.

    And that brings me back to the question: how would I explain this to my parents? And how much do I tell them? Would they really want to know, even if they can't do anything? They've been through enough over their lifetime, I don't want them to worry about me, especially being on the other side of the world, during covid where we can't just visit each other.

    Also, even though everything's a bit shit right now, I'm still hanging in there, and I'll get through this. So they shouldn't have to worry about that.

    Any advice or your own experiences would be greatly appreciated <3

  2. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6823 posts
    4 February 2021 in reply to fortunecookie
    Hi fortunecookies,

    I can see that you really going through a lot right now and there is so much weighing on you.  I understand that you are overwhelmed and are pondering a big question right now.  I commend you for seeking supports and doing whatever you can to hang in there during such difficult times.  I understand that you have also a hard decision to make regarding your work arrangments. 

    Regarding sharing your thoughts with your parents this can be a heavy question to ask.  Would you consider speaking to counsellor and asking them how you would approach speaking with your parents?  They may also get you thinking about certain things that you may not have originally thought of.  If you like this option the Beyond Blue Support Service is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website:

    Please feel free to continue reaching out to the community for support.  You are not alone and we are here to help you.  
    1 person found this helpful
  3. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9779 posts
    5 February 2021 in reply to fortunecookie
    Hi, welcome

    Had you been a teen or in your early 20's I'd be finding ways to tell your parent all the details. However, you're in your 30's now, a full adult. I'd tread cautiously by holding back any information a/ that isn't necessary to tell them and b/ that elevates their stress.

    Also, many of us here with mental struggles learn to put our condition above other obligations. In your case going from full time to part time could be most beneficial. I recall resigning my shift work job for the benefit of my health.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. fortunecookie
    fortunecookie avatar
    13 posts
    5 February 2021 in reply to white knight

    Thank you for the replies.

    Tony, that's a good point, my parents aren't as young anymore as they in my mind, and I don't want to cause them distress. Sometimes I feel like I'm keeping this big secret from them, or that I am living a lie, but am I? I'm still me, and that's just one part of that... But I'll put this on my list for my next therapy session (thanks Sophie for that advice.)

    This morning was rough, but I reached out to someone at work who gave me good advice and was very genuine and compassionate, and I've started looking into/asking about options for reducing my hours. I feel more in control already, thanks to having reached out to you guys as well.

    Thank you so much for helping me through this!

    1 person found this helpful
  5. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9779 posts
    5 February 2021 in reply to fortunecookie
    Apron strings come in various forms. A host of reasons why adult children of parents maintain excessive ties with their parents, communication by obligation or guilt or worry or excessive worry or......

    What's excessive? It depends on the family. Being an adult you can be totally independent and in an ideal world release only the information of your life you choose to let go. Some parents however excessively worry about their adult children even when they are powerless. Other parents use guilt to make their children spill information, that results in excessive ties to the parent, it can make the child feel smothered. Even the child may have insecurities that aren't the parents fault.

    Whatever the reason I'm sure your therapist will address the problem well.


    Beyondblue topic guilt the tormentor

    Beyondblue topic worry worry worry

    You might find those threads applicable. Repost anytime

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    11068 posts
    5 February 2021 in reply to fortunecookie

    Dear Fortunecookie~

    I'm glad you have made your own thread, I've read your posts since you first started and found you tend to reinforce and support others most kindly. Now your turn I guess:)

    Actuality looking back I think you have been making the right decision all along, from advice on inhaled steroids and not just taking a doctor's word for things, through to getting you uni work lessened the right way -with medical documentation.

    The self harm can't be ignored, though I'm not going to go on about it now except to remind you things can quickly escalate until they are far beyond your control. If you have another who you can go to at the time this may prevent that from happening.-is that blunt enough for now?

    Looking at your work first, I would think a lot would depend on the employer and atmosphere there. You did mention bullying -was this the same place? If so please remember you are a precious human being and no job is worth your life.

    If you do have a good job is it possible to work out some sort of arrangement with them that gives you time, and then also duties that do not pressure you too much? Being employed, apart from the money, can make one feel pretty good about yourself.

    What are your feelings?

    I'd tend to agree with Tony that simply spilling everything out to your parents might not be a good idea -with the exception that if you need their support to help you cope with the depression.

    I would imagine it is possible to feed them sufficient details to allay their existing fears while explaining time from work and uni being for Mental Health reasons. Perhaps it depends upon your knowledge of your parents and their ability to deal with things. They may have been terribly unhappy but have coped with your brother's death, something that sometimes brings with it new insights

    It sounds as if you have a good freind to talk things over with - that is wonderful. Trying to deal wiht all this on your own in isolation is very hard.

    Please do come back and talk more, now you have started it may be easier to discuss the problems that crop up


    1 person found this helpful
  7. Missing user
    Missing user avatar
    5 February 2021 in reply to fortunecookie

    Hi fortunecookie, welcome. I'm really sorry you're struggling so much and you're suicidal. Please stay safe, we're here for you.

    I guess maybe try writing them a note? If you Facetime them, you could hold the note up? I don't know, it's hard to say. For me, my parents just knew I was depressed, suicidal, etc. But I'm only 21 and I've had mental illnesses since I was 12.

    Sorry I can't assist further. I care though.

    1 person found this helpful
  8. fortunecookie
    fortunecookie avatar
    13 posts
    7 February 2021

    Thanks for the kind words and advice guys :)

    I remember some of you from ages ago - it's kinda nice to 'see familiar faces'. (Hoping that many of you stick around to give support, but are doing well yourselves.)

    I don't have such a close relationship with my parents, and I felt that when they kept a couple of bigger health related things from me, that I had rather known sooner. But then again, would it have changed anything? Probably not.

    I still tend to worry too much. I had started writing about some of my experiences - much of them were great times, but I wanted to include both sides. And then I thought, what would my parents think if they read this. Not that I'm gonna be a published author in a couple of months time! And if it did ever come to that I'd definitely get more advice first on how to prepare them.

    The bullying was at a different job, and I've learned from the experience and know a bit better now when to walk away. In a way it's a good thing that happened, because otherwise I wouldn't have such a good support network now. 2020 and covid were a walk in the park for me compared to 2019 when all that happened!

    I'm planning to speak to someone tomorrow about reducing my hours. The weekend was a bit blah, I felt pretty down and didn't get up to much. And today I've been unwell for most of the day, which sucks because I did have plans, but ended up mostly resting. I got a couple of things done though, and I feel rested, so it's not all bad.

    I'm trying to see something positive in every situation, but it is hard right now. The health situation is getting to me, frequent pain has been very exhausting. But I think if I work less, or even if I have to take some leave, I'll be able to cope. And I don't think discussing suicide and depression with my folks will be necessary just yet / maybe at all, as I do feel safe with my support network right now.

    I think I'll definitely stick around the forums for a while. I remember seeing a DIY topic, which is something I've recently gotten into :)

    Take care everyone X

    1 person found this helpful

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.

Sign me up