Bipolar Disorder doesn’t just affect the individual diagnosed with it, it affects loved ones, family and friends. I decided this month to do a series of blogs, asking my support system to answer some questions about my Bipolar Disorder from their point of view.
When being treated by the emergency services or in the hospital for self-harm, suicidal ideation or actions or other mental illness symptoms, it’s a common experience to be looked down on, talked to with disdain and treated as though you are wasting resources and time.
Unfortunately, there is so much stigma and lack of understanding within the medical profession surrounding mental illness. There have been some improvements over the last few years from my experience, but not enough by far. It’s something that really has to change.
When a mental health professional first mentions the word ‘bipolar’ in relation to your symptoms it can be a very scary time. It can feel overwhelming and it is definitely a journey. A few things to remember when this happens from my experience are below.
I think there’s a fairly common misconception that mental illness can be ‘seen’ or looks a certain way. This isn’t the case. People can be going through so much and you would never know by looking at them. Mental illness doesn’t ‘look’ a certain way and it’s vital that we raise awareness of this where we can.
Fatigue isn’t just tiredness, I think that a lot of people who haven’t experienced it assume that it’s just feeling tired, but it’s so much more than that. Fatigue can come with so many illnesses, both physical and mental as well as with side effects from medications.
New Year’s resolutions can be a great thing for a lot of people, and if they work for you that’s a fantastic thing and completely valid. However, they can also be a lot of pressure and can be tough to stick to. They can evoke feelings of guilt and encourage you to be hard on yourself in the longer term.
When you have a mental illness to deal with or any other struggles, life is already hard enough. Just functioning is difficult enough at times, just getting through everyday life. There is no shame in making life as easy as possible for yourself when you can.