Was It A Mistake To Tell Them?

I’m 19 years old and in college and today I told my friends point blank that I am Bipolar. II I was diagnosed in 2010 after I drank bleach and went to the hospital. Do you think that it was the right thing to do? Because now I feel as though I’m becoming a bit manic and I’m afraid I may lose my friends.Should I have told them?


 I wish there were a litmus test that would tell you which friends were “safe” to tell. The problem is that we need to build support networks but, as you know, not everyone can be trusted with that information. I was diagnosed with Bipolar II when I was 18. I was 19 when I told an older cousin and asked her to keep it a secret. She blabbed it to my relatives, and I have a big family. It hurt. But in the long run I was thankful because in some weird way, it made me stronger. When I meet doctors who treat me like crap because they have a bipolar stigma, I’m not surprised—I know stigma exists and I can adjust my lifestyle to that reality. When I think back to what my cousin did, I remember why we need to educate people about this disease and it fuels my work.

I have a friend with bipolar who lost a few friends after her first manic episode; I myself lost a few friends after getting Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune illness that is not stigmatized. The point is: If people leave you, some of them would have left you regardless of whether it was bipolar disorder or some other less controversial problem because they are not true friends. If a friend betrays your trust after you’ve told them, you should stop sharing your life with that friend. On the flip side, for every person who surprises you by treating you badly, you will find someone who surprises you with empathy and compassion—someone you can rely on during bipolar episodes.


5 thoughts on “Was It A Mistake To Tell Them?

  1. NO ! NO ! NO ! Do NOT tell people ! Once the words are out, you cannot take them back. I was diagnosed 10 yrs. ago at the age of 50, w/Mixed Spectrum Bipolar Disorder w/Dysphoric Mania. I also have an Anxiety Disorder with it. I am now TRYING to get Disability thru Social Security due to this & several physical issues I have. My own son (25 yrs. old) would NOT even fill out the paperwork as a witness statement. My younger sister’s attitude is pretty much “oh here’s Sheila’s latest ‘thing’.” I have always been the “black sheep” of the family, so only my sisters know. I have not told my elderly parents as they would NOT be able to deal with it. I say let the CELEBRITIES share THEIR stories about Mental Health issues & break the ice or stigma for the rest of us. They have the means & money to do it when we don’t. In the last 10 years, I have had more then a few friends “dump” me, with no warning or good-bye. Some knew about the Bipolar, some didn’t. It is always painful, so my advice is KEEP IT TO YOURSELF !

  2. I agree that you can never be sure who you can trust with that information until you trust them with the information. The important ones will take care of you and your right to privacy. I would give you this to keep in mind though because it’s a problem I’ve had and still do. I am overly sensitive to reactions to the knowledge that I’m bipolar. I read it into people’s reactions to things. When I try to think more clearly later about my emotional response I often realize I’m just being a little paranoid. Remember who your friends are and allow them to be open with you and you with them. Don’t jump to conclusions and give them a chance. They won’t understand everything right away. They will need help with that and a little education from you. Be fair to them as you want them to be to you. They can’t be supportive if they don’t know how.

  3. It’s great when you find the right person person to come out to. They will be happy you could educate them and they will be able to understand that you are more than your mental illness.

  4. It is so hard to be someone that I am not and also I have lost a lot of so called friends too because of all the episodes that I have had and even don’t remember having. So be very careful who you talk to about all your situations, especially at work because you think you know someone and they are nice to you but then as soon as you talk to the back stabber then it’s so hard to deal with and it may or will set you into another episode of manic or mania because trusting people is really hard to do all by itself and with all the backstabbing it makes it even harder to trust anyone at all. I feel so sorry that you are having a hard time and sometime medicine is not enough to get you through the roughest times. I want you not to take bleach and there must be one reason to carry on. My only reason is my children and even then I struggle and scream out in frustration of pain and that there is no on to trust or cry on their shoulder. It’s hard and I wish you to be strong. As long as you can. you day at a time or one minute at a time.

  5. This is definitely a tough one. I came out with part of my story in a magazine, all at once, and it is amazing the feedback and treatment I get, both good and bad. I lost friends, clients, and gained some new ones. If someone is not in your boat, tip them out.

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