I hold off on telling anyone that I am bipolar for a very long time. I usually stick with depressed because most people, even if they don’t “get it”, at least know someone who has been depressed. Once they ensure that I’m not suicidal (which luckily I’ve never been) we can talk about how I’m feeling and I always feel like I’ve bummed them out for the day but I don’t feel as though they judge me for my disorder I find that they often think all I’ve accomplished is great considering what’s going on inside.
It’s not really a lie to tell them I’m depressed because 95% of my bipolar is depression fluctuating from functional to severe. Only 5% is mania and that is hypomania which is less severe than mania. I think I have good reason for not telling people about my bipolar disorder, there is a huge stigma around it.
This is the reason for my defensiveness.
I also know I am just reinforcing the stigma by telling people about my disorder the way I do; “I’m bipolar but, not the scary kind, I don’t hear voices or anything.” It’s wrong. I promise to not do that anymore. If someone asks for more information I’ll explain what my mania (which again is hypomania [I have bipolar II]) is like but, no more unnecessary rambling about the “scary” bipolar people. That must just do so much more damage to people who are already stigmatized enough and I am very sorry if you are one of them. They deserve just as much respect as I do.
As a Doctor Who fan I know that time is not a strict progression of cause to effect so starting at the beginning would be silly and it would take a long time to get to any real events of consequence. No I think the better option is to make this post my mission statement of sorts as well as a getting to know you, ice breaker post. I have been told time and again that I’m a great writer but, thanks to my very low self esteem, I often think people are saying this to be nice. I don’t think I’m a terrible writer though so I thought blogging along with my twitter feed @RealismBites would be a good way to get my story out there and hopefully cause many people to say, “I’m not the only one!”
So that is the basis of my mission statement. It is to help those who need to know or be reminded (as I often do) that depression is as real as a broken leg. That you aren’t the only one who finds daily things, that others seem to do without thinking, extraordinarily difficult. That it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that you might be extremely lonely and yet cancel every set of plans because you want to be alone simultaneously. That you had a severe panic attack when you heard about the most recent mass shooting. That hearing your neighbors argue gave you a PTSD flashback to feeling exactly like you did that time your ex husband wouldn’t let you leave the bedroom until you agreed to have a drink with him and yelled for hours about you judging him. That it is impossible to watch a rape scene partly because it is a horrific thing for anyone to go through but, also because you wish you had been as strong as the women fighting and clawing and screaming at their attackers. That it isn’t abnormal for you to be able to binge watch Jessica Jones but be incapable of concentrating in a 30 minute meeting. That people do not often go out of their way to be so nice as to make much effort or in my case to promote you as my therapist has assured me many times.