The conversation with Aunt E

Today at work M left to go see a lawyer about her situation with her daughter and the DCP. I asked Aunt E how this went and according to Aunt E the lawyer told M not to worry and advised M to see a psychologist or psychiatrist to get a letter of recommendation that M is okay to be a mother. E, a pharmacist at our workplace, said that M is not that serious in that she needs to see a psychiatrist. I asked Aunt E, “Do you need to be that serious to see a psychiatrist?” to which she answered, “Yes, usually to see a psychiatrist it’s more serious like psychosis that kind of thing, for depression it’s usually just a GP. Psychologists are mostly for counselling and a psychiatrist is usually for medication.” Me at this point: FML.

I should mention that Aunt E does not know about any of my mental health issues and does not know that I’ve seen a psychologist and a psychiatrist. So whilst she was saying all this, I was thinking, ‘Great, according to my aunt I’m seriously crazy because I have seen a psychiatrist. Brilliant.’

My aunt then asked me whether, from what I’ve seen of M, I think she is depressed. I told Aunt E, “Well you can never really know…like my friend’s friend was hospitalised for depression but prior to the hospitalisation my friend had no idea that her friend was depressed. I also had a friend in year 12 who had depression. She was hospitalised too.”
Aunt E thinks that it’s really young to have depression. I asked, “Is that young?” She thinks that 17 or 18 is really young to have depression, usually it’s when your older and all the cares of the world get you down. Uhh, no? Already when I was 13 I had depression. I told Aunt E that a lot of young people get depressed, which is why they have school counsellors at most high schools.

Aunt E then went on to talk about how my cousin (her 16 year old son) and I are both the quiet type and we keep it in when something is wrong, unlike her and Aunt F. She then said that her husband is quiet too and asked me, “You know that he was depressed right?” I replied, “Ye…mmm…not really sure.” Aunt E then revealed to me that he was depressed and took antidepressants last year, which wasn’t really news to me. What WAS news to me though is that about 15/16 years ago, when my cousin was one year old and I was three, my Uncle tried to commit suicide. Apparently my cousin stayed with us while my Uncle was in hospital. Not that I remember, I was only three years old back then. But since then nobody has ever told me he has attempted suicide before. I’m not even sure if their own children know, my two cousins.

Then the next topic my aunt had to have a say about was self harm. “Harming yourself, this self mutilation, it’s so silly. I don’t understand how people are so brave to do something to harm themselves.” While I just went, “Mmm…” when she asled me if I knew what she meant. She concluded with, “I couldn’t be so brave to harm myself.” Good. For. You. She doesn’t know that I’ve been self harming for over five years. I couldn’t even say anything to defend self harmers. My mind was still reeling from everything my aunt said, I was upset at the lack of understanding from Aunt E about self harm while trying not to cry, and I didn’t want to raise suspicion of my own self harm if I defended the act of self harming.

She said that her and Aunt F has said that I’m strong. I asked, “…how come?” while genuinely bewildered and thinking, ‘huh?’ She said it’s because I still have a happy disposition despite living with my dad. That I’m still normal. Ha, f*** all you know. I wouldn’t blame all my crazy on my father. Plus I wouldn’t want to admit that he gets to me that much. But everyone who knows him knows that he is not an easy person to live with. Aunt E doesn’t like my father, her brother. She has told me stories about how when they were young, my father would beat her, even when she was in her twenties. He has gotten better over the years I suppose, but any childhood memories with him aren’t happy ones.

Despite having this conversation with Aunt E, I didn’t reveal any of my mental health issues and about seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist previously. Unlike when a conversation with my friends prompted me to tell them about my depression. Just the fact that my aunt has told me all this makes me think that she can’t be trusted. Did M give her permission to tell me about her depression and taking of antidepressants? Did her husband give her permission to tell me of his depression and suicide attempt? I think not… And she said it herself, mental illness carries a stigma with it, unfortunately. I’m already freaked out about who knows about my issues and about the whole situation with anonymity on my blog(but in my stubborness I refuse to make my blog private or move it.) So right now I’m thinking that the less people who know about my mental health issues, the better.

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