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Bipolar disorder diagnosis Do you tell your friends?

HLon99

HLon99

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
66
Location
London, UK
Dear all,

3 months ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It is something that I have been struggling for more than a year now, but have only just accepted my diagnosis and begun treatment. During this time I blatantly was not been myself and people around me noticed this. But whenever they asked, I told them lies or half-truths such as, 'I was depressed because of problems in the family', or I was physically unwell or chalk it down to my (now former) drug use. In fact, I have not shared my diagnosis with anyone other than my immediate family.

It feels strange to be keeping such a big secret from friends that I have known since my school days. That being said, they are all still relatively young (early 20s), and I doubt they will be able to fully understand my position. I am concerned as to how they will take the news, as when I have opened up in the past about my personal problems, I wasn't met with empathy and understanding, rather judgement and ostracising. They are not bad friends its just a lot of guys that age are immature when it comes to talking about personal stuff.

In the end the decision rests with me. But I want to hear about your experiences. Have you told your friends? How did they react? What the best way of going about explaining your disorder?

-H
 
midnightphoenix

midnightphoenix

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Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
17,148
Location
Tigger and Willow's house UK
i dont have bipolar but i have not told my friends about my disagnosises cause i cant be sure they would understand, so i keep that information strictly private :hug:
 
HLon99

HLon99

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
66
Location
London, UK
EDIT:
My biggest problem with keeping it a secret is that I feel ashamed of this because I tends to be my policy that its best not to hide who you are and to live true to yourself, dealing with the consequences of rude behaviour head first. Why give a sh*t about things that people say behind your back when they dont have the balls to say it to your face right? But then I think that I am still not strong enough to be able to defend myself against this just yet, and I worry about the public knowledge of my disorder and how that might in the future affect my employment opportunities.
Another question is what if I start dating/get into a relationship? What to do then?
 
midnightphoenix

midnightphoenix

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Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
17,148
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Tigger and Willow's house UK
if you get into a relationship and really get to love and trust the person, telling them would be okay :hug:

even my own family do not know my disagnosises
 
Scapes1986

Scapes1986

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
1,445
Location
Planet Mercury
My friends and parents were part of my tx so I didnt have to tell anyone. They slowly got involved with it. It was wonderful.
 
P

Pear

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Joined
Apr 12, 2020
Messages
77
Location
Ireland
Need to know basis. Only tell non family what they need to know. The problem with bipolar is that it is impossible for regular people to understand. I tried talking about my mental illness with a few friends whose mother was schitzaffective because I thought they’d be more understanding. But they didn’t want to know about it. They’re still my friends but they can’t seem to cope very well with mental illness strangely enough. I rely heavily on my mum (also bipolar) and sis (phd in science so very rational) for support. I did tell another friend and she was cool with it and I forgot I even told her. I suppose it depends on the friend.
 
HLon99

HLon99

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
66
Location
London, UK
Need to know basis. Only tell non family what they need to know. The problem with bipolar is that it is impossible for regular people to understand. I tried talking about my mental illness with a few friends whose mother was schitzaffective because I thought they’d be more understanding. But they didn’t want to know about it. They’re still my friends but they can’t seem to cope very well with mental illness strangely enough. I rely heavily on my mum (also bipolar) and sis (phd in science so very rational) for support. I did tell another friend and she was cool with it and I forgot I even told her. I suppose it depends on the friend.
Thanks pear, that's some sound advice
 
F

Failing Heart

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Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
112
Location
Virginia
EDIT:
My biggest problem with keeping it a secret is that I feel ashamed of this because I tends to be my policy that its best not to hide who you are and to live true to yourself, dealing with the consequences of rude behaviour head first. Why give a sh*t about things that people say behind your back when they dont have the balls to say it to your face right? But then I think that I am still not strong enough to be able to defend myself against this just yet, and I worry about the public knowledge of my disorder and how that might in the future affect my employment opportunities.
Another question is what if I start dating/get into a relationship? What to do then?
These are all good things to be thinking about. My Instinctual response is “hell no“. Don’t get me wrong, you will 1000%percent need a support system for this! I would focus first on helping your immediate family that is supportive and already knows how to help you deal with it and the best way to interact with you.
if your friends tend to be immature and have not been empathetic in the past… They don’t seem to be the right people to lean on for this...especially if they aren’t up front enough to talk to you directly about “rude” behavior. If my friends tell me that I have acted in a way to hurt or embarrass them… I apologize simple as that. Let them know that wasn’t my intention and that in retrospect blah blah...I’m sincere and they can either except my apology or not… All I can do is try not to do it again. I have found that a lot of people that don’t understand(VERY few people understand) see a diagnosis as an excuse Instead of an explanation.
I know you only very recently received a diagnosis… But do you think this is who you are? My motivations to tell people in the past have been because this is not who I am, this is a sickness that I struggle with.
as for the job… Don’t worry about that, it is none of their business if you have mental illness. Don’t ever tell them. The only thing that matters is that you can do your job. period!
Relationships are tricky and I’m sorry to tell you it’s probably going to take some trial and error. My illness doesn’t become an issue until I’m about 6 months to a year into a relationship and I try to forewarn anyone I see exclusively before it “hits” by educating thEm about it and how it manifests in me. I would never disclose this kind of information to someone I’m seeing casually and would def leave it out of a dating profile 😂. I do know people that prefer to have it all out in the open from day 1 though and for some people I’m sure that’s best...like I said, trial and error. Good luck!
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

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Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
2,643
Location
Nashua NH
I explain to people that I have problems with depression or have difficulty managing stress.
I feel like these lesser things are more acceptable and understandable than bipolar disorder. I don’t trust people not to take it the wrong way or to not have it come back to bite me somehow. It’s good to trust your friends but when it comes to mental health issues my feeling is that you can’t be too
safe.
 
Zero One

Zero One

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Joined
May 19, 2020
Messages
919
Location
United States
There was a time when someone had this really bad attitude and was snarking everyone and somebody commented, "Well look who just jumped off the Bipolar Express!". I was not diagnosed then but I laughed like heck....still wondering what it really is to be bipolar, but thinking what was mainstream then....that bipolars fly off the handle and can go postal. I still laugh now that I know😋. I found that people don't really understand the disorder or may not understand the disorder so you have to be careful who you tell. I told this one guy and he laughed and said oh so you're hot and cold and I said no, then explained it a bit more to him. He freaked out and said something to let me know he would like to keep his distance with me. Then 15 minutes later he sexually assaulted me....and he NEVER EVER touched me before. So it can bring out the crazy in people. Nowadays I don't tell anyone unless necessary. I don't tell anyone at work.
 
HLon99

HLon99

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
66
Location
London, UK
These are all good things to be thinking about. My Instinctual response is “hell no“. Don’t get me wrong, you will 1000%percent need a support system for this! I would focus first on helping your immediate family that is supportive and already knows how to help you deal with it and the best way to interact with you.
if your friends tend to be immature and have not been empathetic in the past… They don’t seem to be the right people to lean on for this...especially if they aren’t up front enough to talk to you directly about “rude” behavior. If my friends tell me that I have acted in a way to hurt or embarrass them… I apologize simple as that. Let them know that wasn’t my intention and that in retrospect blah blah...I’m sincere and they can either except my apology or not… All I can do is try not to do it again. I have found that a lot of people that don’t understand(VERY few people understand) see a diagnosis as an excuse Instead of an explanation.
I know you only very recently received a diagnosis… But do you think this is who you are? My motivations to tell people in the past have been because this is not who I am, this is a sickness that I struggle with.
as for the job… Don’t worry about that, it is none of their business if you have mental illness. Don’t ever tell them. The only thing that matters is that you can do your job. period!
Relationships are tricky and I’m sorry to tell you it’s probably going to take some trial and error. My illness doesn’t become an issue until I’m about 6 months to a year into a relationship and I try to forewarn anyone I see exclusively before it “hits” by educating thEm about it and how it manifests in me. I would never disclose this kind of information to someone I’m seeing casually and would def leave it out of a dating profile 😂. I do know people that prefer to have it all out in the open from day 1 though and for some people I’m sure that’s best...like I said, trial and error. Good luck!
Thanks for the thoughtful response. This seems like pretty good advise. I just wanted to clarify I didn’t mean my rude behaviour, I meant them talking about my illness behind my back or judging me for it. I’ve seen it happen to another guy who became severely depressed after a rough breakup, who my supposed best friend described as ‘a fucking schiz’. This is why I’m avoiding telling people. People make assumptions about your character based on your state of mind. It’s unfair, but that’s by and large still the general consensus. That being said, I hate the fact that I have to hide a part of myself, just in order to get ahead. I sincerely hoped that I would have a more supportive network by this point in my life.
 
F

Failing Heart

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
112
Location
Virginia
Thanks for the thoughtful response. This seems like pretty good advise. I just wanted to clarify I didn’t mean my rude behaviour, I meant them talking about my illness behind my back or judging me for it. I’ve seen it happen to another guy who became severely depressed after a rough breakup, who my supposed best friend described as ‘a fucking schiz’. This is why I’m avoiding telling people. People make assumptions about your character based on your state of mind. It’s unfair, but that’s by and large still the general consensus. That being said, I hate the fact that I have to hide a part of myself, just in order to get ahead. I sincerely hoped that I would have a more supportive network by this point in my life.
Ohhhh, gotcha. I’d say your friend sounds like a real judgemental idiot except I think he is in the majority… People just don’t know and understand and it’s scary so they don’t want to. If it doesn’t affect them, it isn’t their problem so they don’t educate themselves. I am very conflicted myself. I want my friends and family to understand what it has been happening with me so badly… I have opened up to a couple of them and even though they try, they just don’t quite get it. It’s disappointing for me and confusing for them and just doesn’t really help anyone:(
 
K

karl7

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Messages
481
Dear all,

3 months ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It is something that I have been struggling for more than a year now, but have only just accepted my diagnosis and begun treatment. During this time I blatantly was not been myself and people around me noticed this. But whenever they asked, I told them lies or half-truths such as, 'I was depressed because of problems in the family', or I was physically unwell or chalk it down to my (now former) drug use. In fact, I have not shared my diagnosis with anyone other than my immediate family.

It feels strange to be keeping such a big secret from friends that I have known since my school days. That being said, they are all still relatively young (early 20s), and I doubt they will be able to fully understand my position. I am concerned as to how they will take the news, as when I have opened up in the past about my personal problems, I wasn't met with empathy and understanding, rather judgement and ostracising. They are not bad friends its just a lot of guys that age are immature when it comes to talking about personal stuff.

In the end the decision rests with me. But I want to hear about your experiences. Have you told your friends? How did they react? What the best way of going about explaining your disorder?

-H
im open to all about my diagnosis.....i wouldnt keep it a secret
 
ara13

ara13

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
44
Location
USA
I would recommend being very intentional about no you tell. Also, when you do tell them it helped me a lot to have an explanation of how the disorder manifests in you, basically so the person doesn’t just go and google it and make their own assumptions.

I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with people saying nasty things or being dismissive, so the only people who know are people who are close to me who 100% need to, or people I’ve met in a bipolar support group. Hope this helps, wishing you the best!
 
HLon99

HLon99

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
66
Location
London, UK
I would recommend being very intentional about no you tell. Also, when you do tell them it helped me a lot to have an explanation of how the disorder manifests in you, basically so the person doesn’t just go and google it and make their own assumptions.

I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with people saying nasty things or being dismissive, so the only people who know are people who are close to me who 100% need to, or people I’ve met in a bipolar support group. Hope this helps, wishing you the best!
Dear ara13,

Thanks for the advise. Just an update, I've decided against telling my friends about my condition at this stage. But I have to say, its frankly outrageous that there is such a stigma against people with mental health conditions. Its a sorry state of affairs which leaves us all robbed of a voice, at times leaving us with no one to turn to.

The only people who I can really talk to are my family but the more I do so the more I notice that they are struggling under the pressure of doing so as they cannot fully understand what I am going through. I'm looking to enter therapy, but so far it has been impossible due to the coronavirus.

Nevertheless, I would like to thank everyone on forum for their support and advice and wish everyone all the best.


-H
 
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