I was talking to a co-worker today and the subject of not being able to tell people about being mentally ill came up. Which is funny because that was what I was going to post about today anyway. In this world being mentally ill is viewed as something to ashamed of. Something you shouldn’t talk about. It makes people uncomfortable. Well, guess what being Bipolar makes me uncomfortable.
When I was a preteen/teenager I did my best to hide what I was going through. It wasn’t because I thought it was none of anyones business. It was because the first thing someone thinks of when you say Bipolar is a crazy person. They think of the way it is portrayed in the media. I know I did when I was diagnosed. I hid what I was going through so I wouldn’t be judged. My life was falling apart and no one knew what I was going through. Even my friends and family didn’t know how to handle it. I put on my mask and went to school everyday. After failing 9th grade my parents home schooled me for the rest of high school. To this day I believe that if I could have put the energy into getting better instead of putting on a good face I don’t think I would have had that breakdown.
Once I confided in my manager about being Bipolar. Sometime later I found out from two friends/co-workers that when they were hired she told them to not get on my bad side because I have Bipolar mood swings. They told me this because we were talking about first impressions. They said they were scared of me at first because she told them this. My co-workers thought it was funny because I’m such a nice person. I was so mad I couldn’t think straight. Not only was that offensive and a lie, but it is also illegal to tell other employees my medical history. I have stated in my other blogs I am non confrontational, but I felt I had to stand up for myself. I reported her to the district manager. Nothing happened. She cried and they promoted her.
I am NOT ashamed of who I am or that I have Bipolar disorder. I am a survivor and I have no problem telling people who want know my story. I have fought a long hard war with my sanity. It is a war you can’t win, but you can win some of the battles. I have won so many battles. There are so many times I wanted and wished to die. I even tried once, but I am still here. I am not ashamed of that. I want people to know how strong I am. If someone wants to hear my story I will gladly tell it.
Mental illness is horrible and people suffer everyday with things some people can’t even imagine. Do not make it worse for them by making them feel they have to hide behind a mask. If we meet and you tell me you have an illness of any kind I will sit and get to know you for who you are. No judgement unless you are an asshole.
Do you ever feel like you can’t tell people you are Bipolar?