I just saw a commercial on television and I will admit, I thought it was for a new scary movie. In a sense it was, but boy was I surprised ….. it was for a scary movie but not just a movie based on reality (which “fluffs over” all the really bad parts) but reality itself. I understand the stigma. I have bipolar disorder and whenever I am having a mood episode people pawn it off as me being a “drama queen”. Can I tell you how pissed off and frustrated I get when that happens? I know so very well how hard it is to survive in today’s overly judgmental society.
I have a Facebook account where, when I find one that I agree with, I will endorse with all my being, I post things about bipolar (specifically, but there are always other illnesses in the article too) disorder so that I may educate my friends and family. There are groups on Facebook for people with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. I have joined them knowing that they may not always be the best place to go just because of the chance of the group being breeched or hacked – I, personally, don’t care – I am proud of who I am and my condescending distrusting attitude is what defines me NOT my bipolar disorder. I have researched my illness and have become a self proclaimed advocate for mental illness (bipolar predominantly) in my local area and on Facebook amongst my friends.
I was admitted to the hospital for my first time in 1999 right about this date – I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital before I was discharged. It is tough to have a mental illness and I do any and everything I can to dispel the myths and stigmatism that is thrown around. I live in a place where the local hospital is affiliated with a medical school and has a medical school on the campus of the hospital. My psychaitrist was doing a presentation (which he now does every May during mental health awareness month) and I join him. I prepare my own presentation from a very personal viewpoint. My psychaitrist hesitates every year because he wants me to be even-keeled when I do my presentation but my argument for being there is if I am experiencing either a manic or depressive mood episode its even better because I rapid cycle, and during the worst episodes I can do a complete cycle within an hour to an hour and a half.
To end my long windedness, long and short of it is, I understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the sneers and dirty looks.
I have read the disclaimer that not all posts will get published. I am ok with that. I don’t need to have all that I said out there – I just wanted to let others know that I understand the stigma and I live with it on a daily basis. I also wanted to let others know that I am doing all that I can (when I can – sometimes my mood episodes are unrelenting and I lose any kind of control to them). If there was more that I could and can do I hope that someone will reach out to me and let me know.