We're always telling people to share their feelings... "Don't be ashamed," we say. "Having bipolar disorder is not shameful and it's not your fault!" However... those of us that stick to that line of reasoning and start talking to others about our disorder are still a problem for the general public. AARRGGHH!! Damned if you do, and damned it you don't. Some douchebags take issue with people who DO publically share the knowledge that they are mentally ill. Especially those who announce it for all to hear (like me!) .
There have been many accusations chucked at me, but the most frequently used accusation (by a landslide) is “You’re an attention seeker”.
What the general population doesn’t know is that THIS attention seeker went through ten years of hellish episodes and denial, denial, denial before I accepted that something was mentally wrong with me. The reason for the denial??? I thought I was an attention seeker. Ha! And I thought all my problems were so insignificant that if I did try to get help, the doctors would laugh at me and say "Do you need a little atten? Ha Ha Ha"...
I have always been fairly open. The VERY DAY I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1, Rapid Cycling with Mixed States, I went out with my friends and told EVERYONE IN SIGHT!
What I was seeking was general reassurance, naturally. (DUH!) I know that left to my own devices, I would have self-destructed. I openly discuss my mental illness because I'm working on SELF PRESERVATION; NOT ATTENTION! Jackasses.
Another reason I am open (especially now) about this is because I don’t want people like
me to be tarred and feathered, then labeled "seekers of attention". Manic depression is an illness, like diabetes; like any incurable disease that needs to be treated ...
There's just something about mental illness that makes the general population blink from the glare and look the other way. We are falsely accused - we're told "You're bringing this on yourself" or that we're doing something to cause ourselves to spend all our money, talk really fast, not sleep, not eat, fight with everybody, cry, think of dying... Yeah - you're right "Einstein"... all of that stuff is something I love so much that I intentionally bring it into my life... Asshole.
Bipolar, as you probably already know, is something that's difficult to explain, BUT IF MY STORY HELPS JUST ONE PERSON TO UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THIS DISORDER AS A REALITY, THEN I'LL SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE EXPLAINING IT!
There’s more to this than documentaries interviewing fuzzy haired artists tell about in their litle indie flicks... And more than the mental wards you see on 20/20 or 60 Minutes. It isn’t all about crying in your bed, or just sitting, always simply being mentally ill. Nor is it about running down the streets half dressed (although I have done a fair amount of that, too). Our life revolves around taking medication and coping with the problems that go along with it..
Pills for the Mentally Interesting have pretty tragic side effects. I really don’t blame people when they go off their meds. It seems to me that they'd prefer going insane over having side effects like the dreaded Lamictal rash from the pills they're taking. I've been tempted to throw the little fuckers down the toilet too! But because of the hundreds of thousands of banner-waving depressives, boasting about their “meds” and wearing t-shirts listing their mental problems, people get nervous about it and put it on their politically correct list of "Things You Must Never Talk About". They raise their eyebrows at the mentally ill; they can't stand it when we bring it into the light and encourage open conversation about our disorders. "Taking medication & mentioning it means you’re proud" they say. You’re showing off. You’re oh-so-fucked up. Blah blah motherfucking blah. How DARE they put a label on me?
I've got news... I have a label for YOU too: "IGNORANT"!!! I'm not a fucking dress on a rack at Macy's... I'M HUMAN!!! (I just live in technicolor while they have to settle for a black and white world)