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.