I used to be afraid to tell people that I had bipolar disorder. I was ashamed. I thought bipolar disorder was a dirty, dark secret. I thought I was less than everyone else because I was sick. I felt like people wanted me to shake it off and get back to being the Elaina J that I used to be. I had to set up walls and guard them fiercely so no one new could get close and find out my dirty, dark secret.
But as time went on and I became more educated – read more, watched more movies about mental illness, met people in support groups, and worked with great therapists and psychiatrists – I found out I was okay.
I think one of the turning points for me was when Dr. C, the psychiatrist that finally got the meds right, told me I don’t have to apologize for having bipolar disorder. And it made sense. I have hypothyroidism. It’s hereditary. I don’t apologize for that so why would I need to apologize for having an illness of the mind.
Recently I was presented with the opportunity to share that I was beautifully bipolar with someone new. A guy. A guy I like. See, here’s the thing, if you know my name I am quite Googleable, so all anyone need do is to Google me and you’ll know I have bipolar disorder. I’ve been interviewed. I’ve written about it for websites and other blogs. I am being beautifully bipolar right here.
I’ll admit it wasn’t the easiest thing to get into and if it wasn’t all over the Internet, I probably would have waited a while before I got into it. But it is, so I did. I told him about this blog which is quite self-explanatory. So far, he hasn’t run.
Don’t be ashamed of having a mental illness. I’m not trying to say that being ill is great, mostly it’s not, but you are no less than anyone else. You can be honest with who you choose, but don’t let the “dirty, dark secret” eat you alive. Choose to shine. Choose to be like me – beautifully bipolar.
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