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Bipolar disorder diagnosis Do you tell your friends?

UpnDwn1978

UpnDwn1978

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
68
Location
Horten, Norway
I have no problem telling people of my diagnosis but I don't wear it on my sleeve. If they're curios or it comes up in a conversation I will gladly talk about it. There's a lot of stigma and misconceptions about mental illness and I think it is important to be honest and educate people even if they judge us or don't take us seriously. I used to make up excuses and avoid the topic, but no I don't care what people say anymore. If they want to judge me or act like jerks that's their problem not mine.
 
ara13

ara13

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
44
Location
USA
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
I agree 100% regarding stigma. If you have one near you I would highly recommend going to a support group. It was really uncomfortable for me at first vor going to a group was a big weight off my shoulders in terms of being able to express myself and relate to other people with this illness. It’s really amazing feeling like other people understand what you have gone through. If you live in the US I think DBSA has local chapters in a lot of states. It sort of depends on who’s in the group, but I definitely got lucky and even made a friend there. Hope this helps, feel free to message me with questions about finding a group I might be able to help. All the best
 
HLon99

HLon99

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
66
Location
London, UK
I agree 100% regarding stigma. If you have one near you I would highly recommend going to a support group. It was really uncomfortable for me at first vor going to a group was a big weight off my shoulders in terms of being able to express myself and relate to other people with this illness. It’s really amazing feeling like other people understand what you have gone through. If you live in the US I think DBSA has local chapters in a lot of states. It sort of depends on who’s in the group, but I definitely got lucky and even made a friend there. Hope this helps, feel free to message me with questions about finding a group I might be able to help. All the best
Thanks appreciate it, but I live in the UK. I don't really know if we have those kinds of groups here. We have AA etc, but I don't really feel like thats right for me. Therapy would be the way forward for me. Just gotta wait it out until lockdown is over.
 
F

Failing Heart

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
112
Location
Virginia
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
Keep talking to your family...if you stop, they will never get it (or at least come close). As for therapy, find a doc that does video appointments, that’s what I’ve been doing and it’s been great.
 
B

Berg

Active member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
33
Location
UK
I tell close friends because I have to. I don't drink alcohol and my life is fairly rigid with routine which allows me to stay well. They are supportive although they obviously don't understand how it feels - good listeners though and they also understand when I don't feel well enough to do things (as a general rule - obviously at the moment this doesn't matter anyway due to lockdown)

I've lost friends in the past when I was REALLY unwell but the loss was only a gain - they were terrible people anyway.
 
A

Another Maniac

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
33
Location
Melbourne
I'm not going to throw advice at you since it seems you've already decided what's best for you at the moment. I'm just going to to let you know my experiences as that's what you asked for in your original post.

My close friends know. Two of them were with me when an episode of mania quickly turned into my first bout of psychosis. Many of my friends have visited me in hospital towards the end of an episode. I really appreciate their support and am quite open with them about it. However, I also have friends that I haven't told, simply because they don't need to know and I feel I already have enough support.

I understand how you are dubious of telling people. Everyone reacted differently when I first got sick. My sister and mother doused me with almost suffocating attention, my dad thought I was absolutely crazy and told people so while my brother thought he had lost his sister. I can't imagine what my friends thought when they find out (although I'm pretty sure I traumatised the two who witnessed my psychosis) but they have all been absolutely supportive and try to empathise as best they can. It's also interesting to hear stories of what I got up to in the hospital from them since I usually have no recollection of what I did. I'm exceptionally lucky to be able to have so many people to find comfort in and to have care for me even if I am a nutter.

I agree with others who have mentioned that those who do not have troubles with mental health find it hard to understand our experience but I don't think that stops them from the ability to show some compassion. Of course if they're immature and bigoted that's different. I'm sorry that you can't trust your friends enough to tell them. Hopefully the therapy helps you.
 
HLon99

HLon99

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
66
Location
London, UK
I'm not going to throw advice at you since it seems you've already decided what's best for you at the moment. I'm just going to to let you know my experiences as that's what you asked for in your original post.

My close friends know. Two of them were with me when an episode of mania quickly turned into my first bout of psychosis. Many of my friends have visited me in hospital towards the end of an episode. I really appreciate their support and am quite open with them about it. However, I also have friends that I haven't told, simply because they don't need to know and I feel I already have enough support.

I understand how you are dubious of telling people. Everyone reacted differently when I first got sick. My sister and mother doused me with almost suffocating attention, my dad thought I was absolutely crazy and told people so while my brother thought he had lost his sister. I can't imagine what my friends thought when they find out (although I'm pretty sure I traumatised the two who witnessed my psychosis) but they have all been absolutely supportive and try to empathise as best they can. It's also interesting to hear stories of what I got up to in the hospital from them since I usually have no recollection of what I did. I'm exceptionally lucky to be able to have so many people to find comfort in and to have care for me even if I am a nutter.

I agree with others who have mentioned that those who do not have troubles with mental health find it hard to understand our experience but I don't think that stops them from the ability to show some compassion. Of course if they're immature and bigoted that's different. I'm sorry that you can't trust your friends enough to tell them. Hopefully the therapy helps you.
Thanks very much for sharing your experience.

Concerning friends I think that an earlier response mentioned that its best to tell people that you struggle with depression and anxiety. As this would make your actions more 'explicable' when your going through one of your moments, without the need to elaborate and would most likely be met with sympathy rather than fear, judgment and confusion. So I decided that on an 'as needed' basis, thats what I'm going to tell people

Concerning opening up to your family, it can really be a mixed bag as you never know how they will react. My mother and sister have been loving and caring even though they worry about me a lot. But they don't fully understand my condition. My father also seems to be very supportive, at least on the outiside, but I may be beggining to suspect that he might be thinking I'm a nutjob. It would really help me if you could explain to me how best to go about dealing with family, because thats what I'm focused on right now.

Thanks in advance
-H
 
A

Another Maniac

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
33
Location
Melbourne
Thanks very much for sharing your experience.

Concerning friends I think that an earlier response mentioned that its best to tell people that you struggle with depression and anxiety. As this would make your actions more 'explicable' when your going through one of your moments, without the need to elaborate and would most likely be met with sympathy rather than fear, judgment and confusion. So I decided that on an 'as needed' basis, thats what I'm going to tell people

Concerning opening up to your family, it can really be a mixed bag as you never know how they will react. My mother and sister have been loving and caring even though they worry about me a lot. But they don't fully understand my condition. My father also seems to be very supportive, at least on the outiside, but I may be beggining to suspect that he might be thinking I'm a nutjob. It would really help me if you could explain to me how best to go about dealing with family, because thats what I'm focused on right now.

Thanks in advance
-H
Do you want your family to fully understand what you're going through or is there love and care enough? You could have a chat to them about it, I'm sure they'd try their best to understand. But to be honest it'd be hard for them and I'm not quite sure if it's possible. I've come to accept that my family and friends will never quite understand what I go through even though they do try.

As for your dad thinking you're a nutter. Don't let it get to you and prove him wrong. Move through your life with purpose and show him that your diagnosis does not detract from your self-worth.

I guess my advice is to be open and honest with your family and trust them to be accepting and caring in the best way they can.
 
HLon99

HLon99

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
66
Location
London, UK
Do you want your family to fully understand what you're going through or is there love and care enough? You could have a chat to them about it, I'm sure they'd try their best to understand. But to be honest it'd be hard for them and I'm not quite sure if it's possible. I've come to accept that my family and friends will never quite understand what I go through even though they do try.

As for your dad thinking you're a nutter. Don't let it get to you and prove him wrong. Move through your life with purpose and show him that your diagnosis does not detract from your self-worth.

I guess my advice is to be open and honest with your family and trust them to be accepting and caring in the best way they can.
Yeah seems about right. Best thing is to push forward with life and don't let the illness weigh you down. I trust that in time they will get it.

Thanks for the advise and support! Really appreciate it.

-H
 
R

rawlinsc

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2020
Messages
130
Location
Perth Amboy, NJ
All my friends know I have bipolar and different mental and physical health issues. A lot of my friends are also mental health consumers.
 
H

Hannahjay85

Active member
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Leeds
I have no problem telling people of my diagnosis but I don't wear it on my sleeve. If they're curios or it comes up in a conversation I will gladly talk about it. There's a lot of stigma and misconceptions about mental illness and I think it is important to be honest and educate people even if they judge us or don't take us seriously. I used to make up excuses and avoid the topic, but no I don't care what people say anymore. If they want to judge me or act like jerks that's their problem not mine.
I've told nobody it's horrible but then again most of my family and friends wouldn't get it, on the flip side it might make them understand or justify how I am
 
UpnDwn1978

UpnDwn1978

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
68
Location
Horten, Norway
I've told nobody it's horrible but then again most of my family and friends wouldn't get it, on the flip side it might make them understand or justify how I am
It took me years to open up about my condition, even to people close to me, but I'm glad I finally starte to be honest to those around me. Even though I'm still often met with prejudice and misconceptions about my illness it's still worth it. I hate being dishonest and people generally notice when your hiding something from them.
 
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