Why People Hide Their Mental Health Illness

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Lots of people hide. You’ve got Clark Kent living a lie, Bruce Wayne hides a significant portion of his life. Then there is Mr. Fantastic or Reed Richards, as he is known to some. And lets not forget about Peter Parker (Spiderman) and Wade Wilson (Deadpool). Ok, so not that I would ever want to compare myself with a superhero* or anything but I am also hiding something.

Sorry to disappoint, this is no grand reveal – I have no superpowers*. In fact, there are times when I can’t even do ‘normal’ things, let alone ‘super’ things. That is because I have a mental illness, or maybe even illnesses. I hear voices, I have anxiety, I get depressed and I have huge periods of mania.

But why would you hide this Mindfump!? Surely society would want to care for you?

And of course some parts of society do care, but the majority do not. That is why we fear the reaction of society, or just feel there is no help available. Not entirely sure why you would think that however; it is not like Governments are cutting medical funding or anything*. You may also fear for your job – couldn’t have a ‘crazy’ person in the office could we? or godforbid you need time off because you are sick. Imagine that? People needing time to recover when they’re sick. Get struck down by any other near fatal illness and you will be sent cards, cake, donuts and well wishes. Ohh, you have the mental kind – fired.

Whilst these are all perfectly legitimate, and unfortunate possibilities, they are not the reason I am anonymous and they are not the reason I choose to hide.

I am sure there is also a significant proportion of mental illness suffers who have gone through some terrible childhood experiences, and unimaginable horrors. I mean, look at Superman, he is an adopted child whose planet was destroyed, and as we all know, rates of mental illness double when a child is adopted. It should be noted there are no current studies analysing the rate of mental disorder among kids whose planet has just been destroyed. But given the way we are treating this planet, those studies will be here soon enough.

So there we go, terrible childhood gives way to typically poor mental health. Who’d have thought it?

These are all tragic reasons one might hide mental illness but I had a perfect childhood. When I look back it was fun and pleasant. We have a happy family, my parents are not divorced, we went on regular holidays and always had food on the table. I had friends and I went through school, university and got my masters. I have a girlfriend and had girlfriends. All very normal, quite frankly. Maybe a few too many superhero movies, but apart from that – all was well.

So why should I hide it? I have nothing to be ashamed of, no past I want to hide, I have no risk of losing my job, and quite frankly I careless what society thinks.

The reason is simple.

It is for my family, and more specifically, my parents. You see they went through tough childhoods – specifically my mother. A very poor, broken home, with limited education. So that meant both my parents had to work extra hard – in a very poor area of the country, to give their sons the best opportunities they could.

Which they did. Extremely well.

That is why I want to be anonymous, that is why I will never tell my parents what I go through. They would understand, of course they would, they are the best parents I could imagine. But it would hurt, I know they would take it as a slight on their parenting. They are so proud, as they should be, for raising us and keeping us out of all the negative things that were going on around us –  the drugs, the violence, the discouragement…

Anyone who knows depression, knows pain. It hurts, more than any physical pain I have experienced. I know hearing their son is in a lot pain and deals with a lot of anxiety would bring with it a lot of pain. There is enough pain already, I do not think my pain would diminish by expressing my feelings to them, but I know for sure it would hurt them. I’ve never professed to be good at maths on this blog, but the equation goes something like this:

Pain + Pain = More Pain

And I just did a quick analysis of ‘more pain’ and it is indeed more painful. A world with more pain is a bad one in my view. My aim in adulthood is to give back all the happiness and pride that my parents gave to me. I love them very much and wouldn’t let anyone hurt them – including me. So I shall keep my identity, my secret superpower of teleportation and my pain all to myself.


*But a superhero would say that wouldn’t they.

*Just did.


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  1. I’m learning this more and more lately, but we SHOULD NOT have to hide our illnesses. Granted, I’ve been hiding mine because I don’t want people to think I’m trying to gain sympathy, or looking for attention. I hide it because I try so hard to be “normal”.

    But if I had cancer, or a broken leg, or any other “physical” illness, I wouldn’t hide it. I hate that mental illnesses are treated differently.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a shame mental illnesses are treated differently, but also people do choose to hide cancer. Just look at David Bowie, it is not always hidden because of stigma or shame. I don’t hide for those reasons (in fact, haha, I don’t hide at all now), but people should be allowed to be as open as they are hidden. If that makes sense.


  2. What a great article. I can relate to what you are saying about not wanting to tell your parents. I grew up in a happy family too, well, my parents were separated but I never felt any tension or negativity, and I also feel guilty for developing a mental illness with no justification for it ( I could go on about the subject of justification, but we would be here all night!). The general consensus is that if you have depression, you must have went through a traumatic event. I often feel guilty for being depressed because my life is generally happy and pleasant on the outside, but the voices in my head convince me otherwise!


    1. I think we are in the same boat here. From the outside I’ve had an amazing life, so I ‘shouldn’t’ have anything to be depressed about, but obviously that’s not how it works.

      Liked by 1 person

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