Monday, January 21, 2013

The Stigma To Finding And Keeping Friends When Your Bipolar

Finding friends when you are bipolar is very hard, not to mention trying to keep them can be next to impossible.  I find that if I tell someone up front I am bipolar, then they distance themselves far from me.  They think or assume I'm crazy when that's far from the truth.  I have also tried waiting in telling people that I'm bipolar only to have them "dump me" as a friend later.  They dump me like a hot potato, like there is something horribly wrong with me.  They're either afraid of me or embarrassed by me.  And I'm bipolar II which is a much less form than that of bipolar I.  People don't think of how cruel and ridiculous they're being, and it's very hurtful.

People with bipolar do tend to think differently from others and can have different emotional responses, but it certainly doesn't mean they're crazy.  Bipolar is an illness, it's a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.  Most people tend to think of psychosis when they think of bipolar, but that's simply not true with bipolar.  Bipolar is a mood disorder, you get highs and lows or in my case for instance, as I said, I am bipolar II and I tend to be moderate to low most of the time.  To help you understand it more here is a link to a great article on 9 Myths of Bipolar Disorder.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

An Insight To Christmas With Depression

December is here and that means stress and depression!  Stress of finances, shopping and dealing with crowds, missing family, dealing with traffic, cleaning, putting up Christmas decorations and cooking.  Christmas just isn't a good time of year for me.  It's very stressful and often times I deal with depression throughout the season.  Just dealing with the finances of Christmas alone is depressing. This time of the year is a day to day battle for me. 

On top of it all my husband hates Christmas, so that ruins it for me.  And he works straight through it.  My son is now grown and I miss my family.  My family lives an hour and a half away and my vehicle has some problems, so I can't travel to see them.  My parents are both deceased.  My mother passed away right around Christmas 2001, it was on December 13th.  My father passed February 2, 1982.  I miss them both dearly. 

I always feel exhausted as it is and the thought of cooking, cleaning, putting up decorations and shopping is overwhelming to me.  Not that I hate Christmas, I don't.  Matter of fact, it use to be one of the happiest times of my life.  I lived for Christmas.  Losing my father was hard, but I think once I lost my mother that was the final blow.  Then once my son was grown and I married someone who hates and wishes the holiday didn't exist that was just the icing on the cake. 

I just don't feel joy anymore.  All I feel is stress and depression.  I look around and see how happy everyone else is and I feel jealous that I don't have that.  It's hard not to be envious.  Every one telling you Merry Christmas and you feel pressured to be joyful and happy when your just not.  All I strive for at Christmas is to just get through it.  I take it one day at a time.  There's only one reason I still try to make it through Christmas and that is my son, even though he is grown, I know he still loves it, though he wouldn't say so.  He probably gets that from me over the past several years. 

This is just an insight into someone who deals with depression throughout the holidays.  But while I am just going to try to get through Christmas, I do hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas out there.  Because even though it's hard on me, I don't wish my predicament on anyone. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

World Mental Health Day: My Personal Experience

I blog for World Mental Health Day

I am blogging today about World Mental Health Day.  I have what's called Bipolar II.  Bipolar II disorder (pronounced "bipolar two") is a form of mental illness. Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time.  However, in bipolar II disorder, the "up" moods never reach full-on mania. The less-intense elevated moods in bipolar II disorder are called hypomanic episodes, or hypomania.

A person affected by bipolar II disorder has had at least one hypomanic episode in life. Most people with bipolar II disorder also suffer from episodes of depression. This is where the term "manic depression" comes from.  In between episodes of hypomania and depression, many people with bipolar II disorder live normal lives.

I was only diagnosed with Bipolar II in 2007, but have been hospitalized, been to many doctors and counseling over the years and I have had issues with depression and hypomanic episodes since I can remember.  Having Bipolar II has been very difficult for me at times, but over the last few years, with the right diagnosis and medications, I am more stable.  I still have my ups and downs of course, but they're no where near as often or as bad as they use to be. 

Unfortunately, I still fight the stigma of having Bipolar II.  There are those who aren't interested in trying to understand the illness and don't even won't to be around you, but there are a few of those that do.  My wish is that one day the stigma of mental illness will be less dominant rather than being the dominant. 

If you take time to get to know those with mental illness you will find they are human beings just like you.  We just may have higher ups and downs than the average person, but we are still human and deserve to be treated as such.  So won't you please take the time to better understand mental illness and offer your support in what ever way you can?  Now is a great time to start, after all, it's World Mental Health Day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Personal Stigma Hurts

I know first hand what it's like to deal with the stigma of having Bipolar. I have met many people in which we could have become friends, but the minute they found out I had bipolar, they backed away. It's as if I had some contagious disease. Either they were afraid of catching it or they're ashamed to know me or be seen with with me. I can't tell you how much that hurts me and how bad it really makes me feel. Then there are those who pretend to be your friend, but they're only there when they need something from you...when it benefits themselves. Otherwise you never see or hear from them. They are the fake friends who pretend the Bipolar is okay, that it doesn't bother them, only it does.

I am a regular person who deals with an illness in which I take medication to help control it.  I'm not all that different from so called normal people, except sometimes my mood may be down more so than the average person and sometimes I may be up more. But I am a human being and deserve to be treated like one and as an equal.

A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.  A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.  That last beautiful quote is a quote by Bernard Meltzer. So if you can not be those things to me just because I'm bipolar then your truly not a good friend to anyone. Your only lying to yourself and to them. You are an impostor.

A great place to start to fight stigma is NAMI StigmaBuster. NAMI StigmaBusters is a network of dedicated advocates across the country and around the world who seek to fight inaccurate and hurtful representations of mental illness. To join, click here NAMI StigmaBusters

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Positive Attitude Is Important

A positive attitude is very important, especially if you are one who tends to be a negative person or depressed.  Like myself for instance. Read More