10. Do you tell people you’re bipolar? Why/why not?
When I was first diagnosed, I had a little episode of desperation. In my attempt to find someone to talk to, or someone to understand me, I told a handful of “friends” about it. Needless to say, I lost a lot of friends that year. I had a lot people point skeptical fingers at me, saying I was doing it for attention. I suppose, stepping away from the situation, maybe it could have been seen that way. However, that’s how I operate. Or used to, I should say. I snap. I get so desperate in my little cave of solitude that I begin to venture out into the world, waving a white flag around that has the word HELP sprawled in red.
I stopped doing that. As a matter of fact, I stopped talking all together. For six months, I didn’t say a word. I was on strike- oh the horror of the world!
After my attempt in 2010, I remember drunkingly slurring out warnings to friends, “You better leave me now, you’ll see how insane I am soon enough, and then you’ll hate me for it.” It seems I wanted to protect everyone from myself. I feel that I am a parasite to the people I love and care about.
When I entered the real world, aka employment, I never mentioned anything. There have been a few instances in which a person has confided in me about a mental health issue, and I would bring up my past experiences to help them.
I used to think (I still do, sometimes) that by me talking freely about my past and present struggles, I would be able to change the world. I know, that’s a little steep. But I do feel that there’s a large stigma behind mental illness, suicide, even addiction. If I could let it be known, hey, I’ve got a Glitter Rainbow Imagination, maybe then people could talk to me and learn about the reality of it.
For example, I talked openly, perhaps too openly, about my miscarriages. Like I said up there, when I’m coping with a life changing situation, I run around waving my arms, trying to find someone who understands. I was able to help a handful of women in my life. One of them, a cousin of mine, had come to me with a heavy heart; she had lost twins earlier that year. She hadn’t told anyone about it and her husband was less than sympathetic. So, for me, I like to help people. It doesn’t always matter about the social consequences, but what matters is making yourself approachable to people that are too scared to come out on their own. Unfortunately, my public announcement of miscarriage was a little too dreary for people, wonder why. If someone asks me, I don’t mind speaking out about it.
No, I don’t talk very openly about bipolar or schizophrenia. There is one person and one person only that I’ve ever talked so freely to. She knows everything from how I’m really feeling each day, to how Allie is feeling, or Micah, or anyone else. Which, by the way, I’ve never talked about them aloud, either. She understands (thank you, love).