Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: Do you think I have to disclose to my friends, relatives, dates, etc., that Im on antidepressants? Its likely to change my relationships in some ways (I hope for the better), so I feel these people deserve an explanation, but Im afraid Im going to feel judged, whether or not anyone is actually judging me. What do you think?
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 isnt possible unless you share who you are, fully, even (especially?) the stuff youre afraid to share. Thats not to say you should spill all and just cross your fingers that loved ones wont 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. Thats when you start revealing more.
(2) Looking for this safe point will help you see more clearly whether youre 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 youre 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 thats why medication is best taken with a side of high-quality talk therapy.
Re: Antidepressants: When you do share, please dont present it as something shameful. When I told my close friends and family, I shared it as great news, which it was.
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