Why Am I Embarrassed?

These blog posts about my experience with depression and anxiety have been hard to share for one simple reason: I’m embarrassed.

Every time I punch the publish button I want to run and hide in the closet. But writing about this is therapeutic so I keep going, hoping my experience will benefit others.

Anyway, I’ve always written about my experiences. I wrote about parenting in my book, Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Lifeand shared my experience reporting in Nicaragua in “Central American Dreams,” an essay published in the anthology, Go Your Own Way: Women Travel the World Solo. I’ve kept a diary since I was seven.

But this feels so much different.

On the way to the hospital this morning, the cab driver asked if I were going for my hips, remembering earlier appointments related to two hip replacements  I had. “No, my hips are fine,” I corrected him. “I’m going for electroshock therapy (ECT) for treatment of depression and anxiety.” Speechless at first, the cabbie finally responded, “Well, I’m glad your hips are okay,” and changed the subject.

Turns out it was easier to talk about my hips than it has been to talk about my brain.

Depression and anxiety seem to come with a certain amount of shame and embarrassment. It is probably hard for some people to relate; I am keenly aware that I’m posting the blog essays on Facebook amidst announcements of babies born and awards won.

However it is probably more important to write about these subjects than it has been to write about many of my other past experiences. Because the fact is that despite the conspiracy of silence, I’m not alone. Many people are facing the same challenges. Major depression disorder is the leading cause of disability for ages 15-44.3. It affects more than 15 million adults or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in any given year.

Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1 percent of the U.S. population. And this doesn’t include the statistics for a variety of related illnesses like panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

So I keep trying to share honestly, reminding myself that I am far from alone. If I give the taxi driver something to think about, so much the better.

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Is there something you’re embarrassed talking about? Share by commenting below!

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  • Dianne

    January 14, 2017 at 9:39 pm
    Reply

    My heart sunk when I read the response from the cabbie. It's difficult to dare to be honest only to meet with an uncomfortable response. […] Read MoreMy heart sunk when I read the response from the cabbie. It's difficult to dare to be honest only to meet with an uncomfortable response. He could have asked questions about the procedure or asked what is going on. So do the treatments help? And will you be writing about what's going on? Blessings to you. Read Less

    • JenniferHull
      to Dianne

      January 14, 2017 at 9:42 pm
      Reply

      The treatments have only helped me for one day. Very disappointing. I think most people get better results from them.

  • Nancy

    December 30, 2016 at 1:30 am
    Reply

    We are far from alone..... Sending love!

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About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Credits

The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN.com, MS., Parenting, Real Simple, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.