I have Bipolar Disorder NOS. I don’t go shouting it from the roof tops but I don’t try to hide it either. I am very upfront about my disorder. I am a psychiatric nurse. I had worked at the same hospital for 6 years and all my coworkers knew. They never treated me any different. So when I went for an interview at another hospital I thought nothing of it. I was interviewing for my dream job at a child and adolescent psychiatric hospital. The chief nursing officer asked me if I was able to see past the diagnosis and see these kids as kids. I told her yes, that I had Bipolar Disorder and understood that people are not their diagnosis. I ended up with the job. I was talking with a fellow nurse one day about my struggles with Bipolar Disorder. The same chief nursing officer pulled me aside later and asked me not to talk to others about it. When I asked “why?”…. I was told that people may look at me different if they knew and she was trying to protect me.

What!?!? I was working in a psychiatric hospital where we were told to look past the diagnosis and see the kids but I was supposed to hide my diagnosis. I told her thanks for “trying to protect me” but that if I had to hide my diagnosis from my fellow co-workers at a psychiatric hospital because they might treat me differently then they needed to take a hard look at the people they hire to work with the kids. We want to teach our patients that they shouldn’t be ashamed of their illness but I have to be cautious so that I am not looked at differently. Talk about being hypercritical and perpetuating  stigma!  I thought for sure I was about to be disciplined for speaking to her that way.  She apologized and told me thanks for my honesty. I still work there. Most of my co-workers know and treat me no differently then they did before. I won’t ever hide my diagnosis to make other people treat me the same and my hope is that one day no one will feel that they have to.

2 responses to “Wendy”

  1. Jan says:

    This is so good to read this .My granddaughter is 23 and is struggling to get her last semester in As an R.N… She is bipolar and I have always thought she has so much to offer in this field … you give us hope she is having a hard time accepting her bipolar diagnosis .

  2. Kris says:

    I am on disibility now with migraines, and after 21 years with no bipolar meds, it has reared its head. I think not working in the health field as I did and keeping busy , although in pain with migraines, this kind of stress, led to rebound.
    I would like to “come out” but I worked in operating room before and when I was having ECT treatments 20 years ago for depression, a Dr, after I went back to work, ( anesthesiologist) referred to me as “crazy”
    How do I get past that? When he was a Physician! I almost sued him.
    I guess I could try again….the stigma is still great, the jokes, are there.
    Good for you.

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