I don't actually plan on telling them either way (in my opinion, they can be rather emotionally neglectful and have absolutely no desire to understand or change their views on mental illness), but, hypothetically, if I ever did want to tell them, how would one put it and when?
Or, how did you tell your family about your mental illness (depression or otherwise), and how did they react? Was it what you expected of them or did it go differently than planned?
I found that people only understand from their level of perception. My mother insists that i need spiritual intervention and that depression is a form of demonic posession. She's unwilling to see it for what it is and I've accepted that.
What puts me off are people who think they get it and start offering unsolicited advice.
My "coming out" was a disaster. I was a heroin addict at the time and my Dad confronted me and wrangled me into rehab. Which to this day I credit him with saving my life. Anyhoo, after that telling them I was depressed was kinda no big deal, ya know? But, we struggled along the way, especially me and my Mom. I blamed her for a lot. And after some counseling I confronted her about a lot. She was devastated, I was devastated. It was a mess. But, we got it cleared up and we are closer now than we ever were. If you love each other you will work it out.
My parents never knew about my anxiety and depression when I was a child. Heck I didn't even know it because I didn't know what my feelings meant. Only this year I started seeing that I have a real problem, and got medication, and then talked to my mom about it. I always talk to my mom about everything. She wasn't heavily surprised or empathetic in her reaction, but I think it's because it runs in the family. My grandma suffers from depression, and I think my mom suffers a little from anxiety, so it was easy to be open about it. But once I told a story about a funny event I had with an anxiety pill, and she was furious about it, and it definitely made things worse for me. So I think it depends on what angle you take it from.
People don't understand until it happens to them.