A Question For You!

It’s been a long week and our schedule is off a little. So although we need to clean it up a bit  (*runs for her dust rag and windex*) I didn’t want to miss out on our first Friday Question For You! After all, we value your thoughts and opinions too!

I can’t say there was anything in particular that prompted the question, though I have seen the conversation floating around the web this week. So  …. Drum Roll Please …

OUR FIRST QUESTION FOR YOU!

Do you feel it’s easier to be ashamed by your illness than to accept it?

9 thoughts on “A Question For You!

  1. No, not at all. I feel that as a Bipolar individual, it’s almost up to me to shatter the stigma attached to it and educate others what a typical life I lead (other than the medications). Most people comment to me that they would have no idea I was Bipolar other than the fact that I speak rather quickly. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Bipolar is a MEDICAL condition, and one that we did not ask for. Why would I be ashamed of something that I did not inflict upon myself. I am not dangerous, crazy, or looney as many would assume. I am just like everyone else. Only I have a chemical imbalance that can be helped with medication. I say prove to the world that we are highly intelligent, creative people, and a force to be reckoned with!

    Kaley

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  3. Although this blog is anonymous (because I need to protect key personnel discussed therein), I actually have found it harder to hide under my illness and ‘act’ due to shame. In the last year or so, I stopped hiding it and just decided to discuss it openly. From an entirely selfish perspective, it was a relief to bit have to pretend anymore, and further more it shows you who’s *really* valuable in your life.

    From a wider point of view, I think that openness is very important in normalising mental illnesses in a similar way to physical ones. Only by admitting to our conditions and discussing them in the public domain can we fight stigma and show that there’s nothing shameful or embarrassing about mental health problems.

    Best wishes

    Pandora

  4. I wouldnt say I am ashamed. I did deny my diagnosis when I was first told I had bipolar. For about 6 months I didnt believe it was true. I had read up on bipolar because my step daughter had it and although I knew all the symptoms sounded way to familiar to me I just couldnt accept it. Not me….I was just over worked, under alot of stress, had really bad anxiety & sometimes really depressed. I had plenty of excuses. But my excuses were running out. Then after talking to a couple of close friends I began to accept the truth of it, I was indeed bipolar & it was bad. I needed to be on medicine. I am not ashamed of it now. I actually tell people freely that I am bipolar & I educate people every chance I get. Granted its not the first thing that comes out of my mouth, “HI my name is _____, and I’m bipolar” no its not like that. but I do explain to people when I start acting all nervous & jittery & talking fast that I am bipolar. Plus I shake slightly from my medicine, when someone notices it, I simply explain. Now my 8 yr old daughter has been diagnosed bipolar. I try to set a good example for her so that she is not stuck with a stigma about being bipolar. I want her to know there is nothing to be ashamed of, it is just a part of who you are. It is no different than having diebeties or asthma. Asthma is a better comparison because even with medicine you still have flair ups. But no I am not ashamed it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is an illness that is out of our control. God has given us this as a test of our strength and indurance. He wont bring us to it without seeing us through it.

  5. I think it’s easier at first to be ashamed rather than to accept it… I know with me, I didn’t want to be different from everyone else… I didn’t want to be stuck on meds for my whole life… But I think everyone has those thoughts, even if you’re dealing with a disease of the body, such as diabetes or cancer… Eventually, you came to accept that you really aren’t all that different and that you can lead a normal life… Once you realize this, things get easier for the long haul… You learn to deal with your illess and how to manage it…

  6. Wow! What an awesome question!

    No, I have never been ashamed of my illness. I had been misdiagnosed about 17 years ago with major depression and put on Zoloft. Well, we all know how dangerous it is for a bipolar to be on just an antidepressant. I had an extremely major manic episode that lasted for several months where I engaged in many dangerous, self destructive behaviors that would take days to list. But I thought I was on top of the world and there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do!

    Then came the crash that resulted in a nearly successful suicide attempt. I was hospitalized in an excellent hospital with a very good treatment team. It was there that I was diagnosed correctly with bipolar 1/mixed. I felt a great sense of relief because finally I had an answer and knew that my illness could be treated. I say relief because I truly thought I was losing my mind and going “mad”.

    I’m a Licensed Psychiatric Technician and have worked in the mental health field for about 29 years now. I have always been an advocate for mental illness and the mentally ill. I knew my illness could be treated. Of course it’s way different being the patient as opposed to being the caregiver. I realize now looking back at my childhood I’ve been bipolar pretty much my entire life. I always knew I was different ( I can remember thinking about suicide as early as 8 years old) then into my adult life I had all the symptoms but got really good at hiding them behind being the “perfect ” wife and mother. Denial is a powerful thing!

    I have had some very good periods of stability since my diagnosis, however I struggle with my illness just like everyone else. I’ve had several relapses, some suicide attempts and another hospitalization. But I have also grown as a person and have learned so much about myself. I’m very pleased to say I have not been suicidal in over 5 years. Even now as I am finally coming out of one of the most severe depressive episodes I’ve ever had, I was always able to contract for safety.

    Now in the first few years after my diagnosis I did not have any real type of support system. So there were times when I would get very angry about it because when I had periods of instability people treated me like I was crazy. My self esteem was nil, so I really cared what everyone thought of me and needed( or so I thought ) their acceptance. I can remember thinking I wish I had cancer or diabetes because then people could “see” that you were sick. Yes, I know, very irrational and unhealthy thinking.

    Like I said, I have grown so much as a person and I believe a great deal of that has to do with the fact that I’ve had to learn ( and I’m continually learning ) how to live and deal with being bipolar. I still go through rough periods of instability, cycling…… sometimes extreme rapid cycling….. and what I call mini breakdowns. I am very fortunate to have an awesome husband who has educated himself about my illness. He is always supportive and loves/ accepts me unconditionally. My 4 adult children ( one daughter is also bipolar and in treatment ) and 2 teenage stepsons are also very supportive. My younger stepson is 13 and he is always looking things up online about bipolar and will say “hey did you know that…..?” and quote a statistic or something! lol I am truly blessed.

    So, to answer to your question is no I have never been ashamed of my illness. I’m very open about it as I truly believe the more we can educate society as a whole, we get that much closer to lessening and hopefully removing the stigma associated with mental illness altogether.

  7. It’s much easier to be open about my illness-illnesses than be ashamed. Shame hurts so much and does nothing but make you feel bad about yourself. And like kaley mentioned there’s no reason for shame. And, I feel the need to educate people about mental illness and reduce the stigma. But, I understand completely if people aren’t as open as I am. I’m 45 years old. I wasn’t like this 15 years ago. But wait I wasn’t diagnosed then/I lived in shame and thought I was freaky. And, I could pretend I was “normal”. Much happier once diagnosed-even though the wrong diagnosis- correctly diagnosed BP II just a year and a half ago.

  8. No, I’m not ashamed. If I had epilepsy or diabetes would I be ashamed? No. If other people choose to be ignorant of the nature of mental illness including Bipolar Disorder I don’t want to know them. I refuse to lie or dissemble when people ask where I’ve been, haven’t seen you for a while etc.I tell them I’ve been manic, really depressed or whatever the situation is. I have enough to contend with without concerning myself with the reactions of others. If this results in me having 3 friends in the world, so be it.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave your feedback here!