I’m struggling with this today. First off, we’ve tried very hard to help our son understand that his illness is nothing he should be ashamed of, that mental illness is like any other illness and that many other people suffer just like him. He’s felt comfortable in the past to tell a friend about his illness and at the time I let him know how happy I was that he had a friend he felt close enough with to open up with.
On the other hand, we’ve already seen relationships end when his friend’s parents found out about his illness. This is devastating and hurts deeply.
So even though I understand the reason first hand, I can not imagine sitting my son down and telling him that he should keep his illness private because the world doesn’t understand. I can not imagine how this can be done without bringing on feelings of shame and self loathing.
This whole situation disgusts me.
I feel angry at the world for this stigma.
I feel sadness that my son needs to keep his illness private when he wants to share.
I feel scared and nervous about where we go from here, so I’m reaching out to you for your thoughts and any experience on how you’ve handled this with your own children, and if you have regrets either way.