20 thoughts on “Should I Stop Talking About Bipolar Disorder?

  • January 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Just the other day I was having lunch with my husband and could see that his eyes were glazed over as I was talking about feeling some mild depression and some medication changes I wanted to talk to my doctor about. I asked him if I talked about myself too much and he just smiled at me so I stopped talking.
    Same goes for talking to my parents or sister. I mention the word “bipolar” and they start shifting uncomfortably in their seats until the subject gets changed.
    So, I can definitely relate to your feelings.

  • January 10, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    You just nailed it! You couldn’t have described it better. Our significant others, have to take us, as we take them – with a big dose of Love & Compassion.
    Great post, Kat!

  • January 10, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    For a long time my issue was the label of ‘bipolar’. Lately, I’ve begun to see it as a factoid about me rather than seeing it as the root of everything I do. The word Bipolar is just an adjective to describe the way that you are. It’s definitely hard to reconcile though.

    Other people will always feel some level of discomfort when you talk about it, but it isn’t out of spite. They just cannot relate, and that’s scary. We all have our own individual perceptions that shape our own individual realities and you just can’t put that into someone elses head. It’s hard because you have to think about so many things that other people never consider, which makes it impossible for them to relate.

    I’d go on, but my browser and this website don’t seem to get along.

    • February 20, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Kat you say it so perfect here: “It’s the anxiety I feel in the morning, the depression I feel during the day, the anger and restlessness I feel in the evening.

      It is the medicine I take, the appointments I make, the time I go to bed and the amount of social interaction I can handle.

      It is the loss I feel when I think about my past. The fear I feel when I think about my future.”

      I don’t talk about being bipolar very often to anyone, but these thoughts don’t go away and it would probably help me a lot if I could more openly share with the people I care about.

  • January 11, 2014 at 3:04 am

    My daughter was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She somehow found the courage to leave her controlling husband. Unfortunately she had to leave the kids with him because she couldn’t take care of them. He had convinced them that she is a drug addict and her suicide attempt was fake. I am her major support right now. She’s getting treatment and I will be attending classes given by NAMI. I see a long journey for the 2 of us. Thank you for sharing yourfeelings.

  • January 11, 2014 at 4:48 am

    Yeah, I know how you feel. She told to stop posting things about my Major Depressive Disorder or everyone was going to start thinking me exclusively as”Crazy Chris!” I obeyed her and stopped. But feel like a liar.

  • January 11, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Great post! I can relate. I’ve found that trying NOT to discuss these things is what landed me in the hospital last time. If I don’t talk about my mental illness or the feelings that come from it, I feel isolated from those around me…and isolation is a primary trigger for my depression.

  • January 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Good post, Kat. It was hard for me to explain how I felt and my fears until my husband finally took 2 workshops on mental health and bipolar. Then the lightbulb went on. Now he feels protective of me but at a distance since I am very independent and don’t want him hovering. We need the person closest to us to be on our side, to be our cheerleader as we try to gain some mastery over our condition, and to hold us close and care for us when we have tough setbacks. We need them to try to understand although it is hard to do for someone who hash[‘t had our experiences. I’ve found using analogy’s using something people are familiar with helps to some degree.

    Kat, I hope things get better and your husband and family come to realize how important they are to your well being. And for you, that you find people who do understand and give you space to express your concerns.

  • January 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    this is good!! Very good! sometimes, by it’s very nature, bipolar can be pretty self-absorbing. Not to be ignored but acknowledged and dealt with. However, we and others in our lives do much better when we are able to spend minimal time speaking of it, speaking of other things, etc. Particularly uplifting or leading to uplifting or positive action! Easier to say than do, though! The best all! I sure have seen this one at work in my life, tho!

  • January 11, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    OMG, I could have written this post myself because it’s exactly what I live with every day. I’m the only one in my family with this monster, and if it consumes me sometimes, I can’t help it—I need to talk it out. I’ve only recently fully accepted that I have bipolar, even though I was diagnosed 2 years ago and realize that I’ve had it most of my life. It still confuses and angers me—I feel betrayed by my own brain—and the fact that NO ONE else in my life understands it doesn’t help me a bit.

    This is why I blog too; writing for other people who know what I go through with this illness has been lifesaving. It’s probably also saved several relationships, because getting rid of the emotions allows me to talk about other things besides bipolar. Sometimes.

    Thank you for this article, Kat. You nailed it!

  • January 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I’ve lost virtually all my friends because of this illness, except for a few online, and I’m beginning to doubt them too.

    My entire family has shunned me after going to great lengths to hide my diagnosis from me when I had my first manic attack which resulted in a hospitalization.

    My wife falls back on statements like “that’s your illness talking” when I try to speak my true mind or express my true emotions. So yeah, my choice is easy.

  • January 12, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I do not have bipolar disorder, but I am a licensed therapist. I agree that loved ones should show empathy, but we must also empathize with them. We all need to realize how much is enough or too much sharing and develop different groups of people who serve different purposes in our lives: friends who share our struggles, a counselor or therapy group who can be objective, friends with similar interests, family who has our best interest at heart but can’t relate, etc. Over sharing about our struggles can be overwhelming to loved ones who usually feel hopeless and frustrated because they can’t help other than listening. It’s hard to be objective and empathetic when you are emotionally invested in someone’s wellness. Communication is essential to effective and long-lasting relationships.

    • January 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      While I certainly sympathize with your plight, Kyle makes a good point. Constantly harping on ANY illness bores and overwhelms people, no matter how much they may love us.

      If I had diabetes, lupus, chronic fatigue or other lifelong illnesses, I would not constantly talk about them.

      After I was first diagnosed, I did the same thing, talk, talk, talk. After a while of this, I’d see people doing eye rolls.

      Between my therapist, support group, bipolar folks online, and peers with bp, I pretty much limit my talking about bipolar with family and close friends.

  • January 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I am bipolar 1 (or so my dr. tells me- sometimes I don’t accept it) and have a very hard time functioning. I force myself to work, get involved in PTA at my child’s school as a board member, write (although my stuff is so dark lately it scares even me), host playdates and sleepovers and parties, and it all terrifies me. I do not disclose my illness to most people, even in my family. My husband knows of course, and my father and 2 friends and that’s it. I rarely discuss it. I have a relative who is lactose intolerant. Not her fault, nothing to be ashamed of. She talks about it constantly. It makes me avoid her and feel like screaming at her to shut up. I have a friend who has a back injury. Again, constantly talks about it. I no longer talk to her. The negativity of these people dwelling on their conditions was not good for me. I believe it is the same with BP. Not our fault, nothing to be ashamed of (although of course most of us do feel ashamed and weak), but people do not want to hear it constantly. Even those who love us so much, unconditionally, so not want to hear it constantly. I don’t think they are being mean, I think they are frustrated because they can’t help us. We are not fixable, and those who love us want to fix us. It’s so painful for them, and although I am in pain all of the time I do not wish to put that pain out there and onto others. I don’t go to therapy any longer because talking about my illness, knowing there is no cure and no resolution, was frustrating and sad and in my mind served no purpose. We do the best with what we have and that is all we can do. We will always have this. We will cycle over and over and it will never stop until we stop. Talking does not solve it. Maybe it makes us feel better for a moment, but it also allows the illness to define us not only in our eyes but in other’s eyes, and that is a slippery slope. I hope I made some sense here- and best of luck to you and thank you for your blog. I do enjoy it very much.

  • January 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you so much for this. Im in tears right now. This has been something I’ve been struggling with for a while now. My family and boyfriend constantly tell me I’m too fixated on my illness and I shouldnt dwell on it so much. That I’m just making things worse. But I need to have as much knowledge as possible. I feel guilty and wrong so often and end up biting my tongue and holding in my thoughts and feelings, which often lead to extreme emotional repercussions later on. I feel so isolated and alone almost all the time. I am constantly at war with my brain. Thank you for making me feel like less of a freak. I really needed it.

  • January 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Kat. I love and understand where you are coming from to a degree . 3 of my family have different types of bipolar . im bipolar 1 with rapid mood cycles . its great to talk about it or to let people know about it because it lifts the stigma about mental illness universally . im from Ireland 450,000 people have depression out out of a population of 4.000.000 20.ooo have bipolar . I have been diagnosed with bipolar for 25 years , I think its good to let people aware of the situation , but who am I to judge when and how often we talk about it . I lost a lot of and people in my life with this illness , and I know im not the only one . Cognitive behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness can of great help to people . I wish you all well

  • April 18, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I have just the opposite. My partner wants to know how I am feeling, when my appointments are, and what medications I am taking and when they change. The problem is me, I don’t want to always share. I feel that if I do share, she will see the inner turmoil that is a constant. She would be shocked because of my thoughts. I struggle everyday with bipolar encompassing my waking hours. Who can share the chaos that lies within.

  • April 22, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Very well stated. Line for line, the story of my life. Thank you.

  • June 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I have been diagnosed bipolar for 8years. In that time, I have shied away from talking about my illness. This has resulted in many negative situations for me. I am now with someone who actually cares and understands. She wants me to let her know everything. If I feel like something is happening. She wants to try everything to divert an episode. I am lucky in that regard, however, I still find it hard to talk about it. This is especially so when I think I can handle it all by myself.


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