Hi, dear reader, and happy holidays. As I have imparted in my last few blogs, holidays can be a hard time for us and the many other millions of mentally ill people in the world. So much pressure on saying and doing the right thing. Add to the fact that some people just do not understand bipolar disorder. When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, not only was I surprised by this new diagnosis, but I also knew nothing about it, like, at all. We need to think of those around us having the same confusion.
Confusion about our illness – yes, disregarding it – no. It is one thing to misunderstand, it is another to believe these misunderstandings. One quick (and horrible) example: I recently told one of my psych professionals about my hallucinations and in return, after telling me my hallucinations were not real, he said we needed to explore if I was saying these things for attention, perhaps I was looking for love. I call bullshit and find it absolutely ludicrous that a psychiatric professional would say such a thing. After over five years of writing this blog, I assure you, I am not doing it for pity or love. You know that by now. I know that by now.
During the holidays, a lot of us see our family and friends and, if we are brave enough, we will tell them or have told them about our bipolar disorder. Some people like to ignore it. It is like a toddler that closes his or her eyes and everything disappears. They do not want to talk about it or hear mention of anything to do with our illness. It is easier for them that way. We make them uncomfortable and they do not like it.
Others will want to talk about it – ALL THE TIME – like you are an illness. This can be embarrassing if we are not comfortable talking about it yet. If we are, shoot go for it. Some people do this because they are just trying to learn what is what. This is an excellent chance for us to educate those we know about what our mental illness. Even if all we know is that we have a mood disorder that oscillates between depression and mania, let’s be open about that.
Some of those we know will drown us with concern. It will feel like that time your aunt hugged you so tight you could not breathe. They just want to know “How you are doing?” They will ask us if we are taking our medication and if we are seeing the same therapist. It can be overwhelming. Now, as I recently said we can use these times as a platform to speak our truths, but we can also nicely tell them to butt out. Nowhere is it written that we have to tell everything to everyone. That is why we have that therapist. We can say something like, “Thanks, Uncle Ted, but I have it under control.” We can be open, but we do not have to be read like a book.
Remember, whoever you face this time of year, you are strong. Stronger than the whispering. Stronger than the ignorance. Dear reader, you are fierce! So hold your head high because you, my lovely, are beautifully bipolar.