If someone with bipolar denies they have it, even though members in there family have it, and wont seek medical help or support from family and friends, do you believe there last resort for them to realize they have bipolar disorder is to “CRASH”?
Wow, what a NOT fun question to answer. It really depends on the person, but I’m afraid the answer is most always yes. The majority of us with bipolar disorder probably had at least an inkling that there was something going on long before we were diagnosed. Our friends and family may have pointed out their thoughts and concerns. In my case I even had friends TELL ME I was manic. But the problem was, I was so terrified of the label and the stigma attached to that label, I refused to confront it.
These days, it seems like everyone and their brother’s uncle’s monkey seems to suffer from some sort of depression. So I had very little issues admitting that this was a problem for me. Depression to me seemed temporary, something I could work through and grow out of. But bipolar!!! That’s a lifetime commitment. And one I was not willing to make. (I mean seriously, Bipolar didn’t even offer me a ring or get down on it’s knees…what kind of crap is that!?!?!)
So what did it take for me to get the help and the diagnosis I needed? Yep, you guessed it … the inevitable CRASH! My entire world fell apart, I went off my meds because they weren’t helping anyways and I completely lost it. Luckily my crash wasn’t as bad as some, and I had my children as motivation to keep from doing anything stupid, but it was still a crash. I still lost my my best friends (whom I have since reconciled with … three years later), my house, my job, my credit, my mind and also threw my marriage into a downward spiral.
Being who I am, someone driven by success and control (Control issues? Who? Me? Noooooo….ok maybe a TINY bit…), not to mention the need to be there for my children, not only physically, but emotionally as well, I gave up and gave in. I was sleeping 18 hours a day and crying at every ounce of stress that was thrown my way. There was no possible way I could deny that there was a problem anymore. I knew I needed help, and I wasn’t going to let anyone else make that decision for me. I had to make it for myself.
Thus I drove MYSELF to the hospital. And I checked MYSELF in. And I decided when I thought it was ok for me to go it on my own and take responsibility for my own illness. I had to do it alone, because if I did it fore the sole reason that someone else wanted me to or made me, I’d have failed in getting better.
It’s kind of like smoking or drinking or losing weight. I begged my spouse for years to quit smoking. It was unhealthy, expensive, he stunk, and I knew that as long as there were cigarettes in the house, I was going to smoke them too. But because I was pressuring him and because I was begging him, he refused. It wasn’t until he took over the budget and realized how much money we were spending a month, and until he got sick of the coughing and all that other great stuff that goes with being a smoker, that he finally decided to quite. But not for me, for HIM!
When people beg us to get help, it only makes us resist even more. Claiming responsibility for issues this large and this life altering need to come within. We can only seek help when we are ready.
And unfortunately, yes, that does often times mean hitting rock bottom and losing everything. It’s a sad, sad fact, but one that can rarely be avoided. Sure, in some people, sometimes you are able to get through. I’m not trying to make you lose hope. But I also don’t want you to get so hopeful that you are let down if and when that crash does occur.
HOWEVER, take heart, because in a good majority of us (from my experience with getting to know so many other bipolarees) if we are truly seeking help because WE want it, we rarely crash again. Sure, we may relapse and hit our highs and lows, but we won’t be so resistant to help when there is no more denying we have a problem. I can tell you one thing, I hope I NEVER go down that road again. I know I can be stable and I know I can keep myself healthy. And I will, now that I know what my illness is and how to treat it, try my damnedest to never let myself crash again!