Early in your disease did you have problems getting people to believe you were struggling with a mental illness?
I’m not going to lie, the first person I had to convince about my diagnosis was myself. Although the doctor’s reasoning made perfect sense, I was not ready for bipolar disorder to be the thing I had. I was surprised, to say the least. My first step was to educate myself and be open-minded.
Oddly enough, a former family friend had been diagnosed as bipolar a few years before I was. When anyone spoke of her diagnosis, the words, “It makes total sense” were usually included. She was the stereotypical example of a person with bipolar disorder. When I revealed my diagnosis to my family, they immediately compared, or rather, they contrasted me to our former friend. I was nothing like her in behavior or symptoms. But they had never looked deep into what went on in my daily life and they had no idea the thoughts that plagued my mind at the time.
In fact, no one beside yourself will ever be in your head, so don’t let anyone tell you what’s in their.
I think an important step when explaining your disease is to point out the medical facts surrounding your diagnosis. There is generally little need to go into personal details or TMI moments when you explain yourself. Avoid trying to convince others. While providing facts can go a long way, some cynical people will look at you as desperate and write you off. I have certainly had this happen. I figure it’s best to not buy into their stereotype of me and go along my almost merry way.