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“No one is close to me, and no one ever will be”: An autoethnographic study of familial silence surround depression and sexuality
Autoethnographic study of familial silence surround depression and sexuality
Wehlage, Shane J.Geist-Martin, PatriciaPauley, PerryRothblum, Esther
Pauley, PerryRothblum, Esther
Depression is prevalent all over the world. Yet, depression is an illness that people are afraid to talk about because of the stigma associated with it. However, research reveals that most people with depression benefit from discussing with others their illness and accompanying symptoms. While opportunities may exist for people to talk about their depression, a wide range of factors inhibit their openness, thus limiting the support that family or friends might offer the affected individual. Specifically, depressed individuals fear that expressing their symptoms might burden others and possibly risk losing their close friendships. Furthermore, this relates to the fear of disclosure for gay men. Thus, individuals develop techniques for silencing themselves and withdrawing from contexts in which they might disclose to others. Although these disclosures may occur, many individuals integrate self-silencing tactics into their daily lives that exacerbates their depression or creates disconnect with others. Some research has shown that abstaining from disclosing may have negative ramifications. By unveiling the reasons people remain silent about their identities in families, professionals could enhance their understanding about silence, depression, and coming out. As someone who has suffered with depression and attempted suicide, I have engaged in the self-silencing techniques of my medical condition within my family. Moreover, before coming out, I engaged in concealment from my family about my sexuality. This research will investigate the perceptions of silencing that my family members and I have experienced throughout my episodes of depression and coming out. Through an autoethnographic approach that includes introspection and interviewing, this research blends my story with the stories my family members tell of their perceptions of depression, sexuality, communication, and silencing. Keywords: Stigma, Depression, Sexuality, Family Communication, and Silence
Professional Studies and Fine Arts
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2016.
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