In February of 2010, I wrote, out loud, about my bipolar.
After the article was posted in World of Psychology, I thought of changing my name and entering a convent but there’s that silly little rule about a vow of celibacy.
I googled, frantically trying to identify a disorder for someone who feels the pull to lie ; claiming to be afflicted with a mental health disorder in order to get their writing published! Surely there must be a DSM code for that, right? Mental health hypochandria?
Even better, I would feign innocence. I’ve never met a person who accidentally sent an e-mail or photo to an unintended recipient that didn’tsay “I’ve been hacked!!” OK, sounds good.
“What? That’s not my picture on Psych Central! I’ve been hacked!… It’s the wrong Leslie Hull.”
Ultimately, writing that article taught me many things and by it being published, it hopefully taught many others.
Slowly but surely, I began the complicated process of pulling back the layers. One by one, I allowed people into my world. I received everything from demonstrations of unconditional love to that look on someone’s face when they are wondering if they are being Punked while quickly scanning the room for hidden cameras or Ashton Kutcher.
It was hard at first to be open. I still carefully choose who I will reveal myself to…who I know won’t judge me and are emotionally plugged in enough to be knowledgeable about my disorder.
Countless times I’ve witnessed people poke fun of others, referring to them as Bipolar or Manic Depressive and though I act as though it doesn’t bother me, it often hurts me but more often angers me.
I have fantasies of ending the conversation with the revelation of my disease and showing them what Bipolar looks like while they show me their embarrassment.
Because of people talking about mental health issues, many more are finally knowledgeable about disease. And though I criticise the media for their often broad, overuse of the term, I am delighted that it’s out there!
I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I was properly diagnosed that cold, grey day for it saved my life.
And so I began the journey of tiptoeing …