Things I wish people knew about mental illness: the bipolar edition

Standard
  • Having “mood swings” does not mean a person is bipolar.  There are a lot of reasons, medical and situational, for a person to be “moody.”  Leave the diagnosis to the professionals.
  • I am not bipolar.  I have bipolar disorder.  Big difference.
  • No, it’s nothing like they show on TV or in the movies.
  • No, it won’t go away if I just think happy thoughts.
  • Sucking it up and pushing through are only short-term solutions.
  • Depression isn’t just feeling really, really sad.  It’s sitting in the dark feeling empty and hopeless and worthless too, all at once, and knowing the light switch is RIGHT THERE but being unable to see it, much less reach it.
  • Mania isn’t just feeling happy and hyper.  It’s feeling like you could do ANYTHING, only you lose interest in the middle of whatever it is and scamper off to something else and wind up with 20 different half-finished things going on at once.  It’s feeling like you can’t sit still, like you’re jumping out of your skin, and not being able to manage a normal conversation because your brain keeps skipping all over the place and where the brain goes, the mouth follows.  It’s frustration and anger because you just want to concentrate but you cantslowyourbraindownlongenoughtothinkstraight.
  • No, there is no cure, only maintenance and periods of recovery.
  • No, the medications don’t make it all better.
  • Yes, I have to take them anyway.
  • No, you don’t need to ask if I’m taking them.
  • In fact, it’s okay to ask if I’m okay.  It’s NOT okay to ask if I’m taking my meds unless you’re one of my designated support people (husband, therapist, doctor).
  • It’s okay if you can’t be there for me when I’m recovering from an episode.  Just don’t disappear without a word.  A simple “love you, praying for you” is enough.
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2 responses »

  1. I love you always and I hope I don’t ever say anything stupid. Feel free to smack me if I do. Oh, and call me if someone asks you if you’re taking your meds. I’ll help you kill them. 🙂

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