For years I felt as if I was one enormous burden, a grumpy pest that hung on for sympathy and purposely alienated people.
In 1998, while in hospital, they diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder.
Bipolar I. Moods can swing from extremely ‘low’ (depression) to an exhilarating ‘high’ (mania). My disorder was BPII, meaning I still experienced ‘depression’; however, the ‘high’ (mania) is lesser of a degree and therefore named ‘hypomania’.
For a decade, I literally “lived” in and out of hospitals. My wonderful husband stood by me through those turbulent years. Years of endless hospitalizations, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, shock treatments), suicide attempts and a myriad of medications became the norm.
My immediate family (my side) were absent when I needed their support most. Friends? They were supportive at first, regularly visiting me in hospital, but as the years lingered on, friends became scarce. Had this been cancer or heart disease, would they have been more empathic?
I believe it is the stigma attached to mental illness that drives people away.
Are mentally ill people dangerous? No, but some surmise they do! A family member (his side) cut ties with us during the past years of my illness and hospitalizations, assuming I was dangerous and feared for his children. At Christmastime, only my husband’s name appeared on the Christmas card–it excluded my name. We haven’t seen them since 1998.
Continue reading Am I A Burden For Having Depression?
What is Stigma?
When an individual appears to differ from us, we may view him or her in a negative, stereotyped way. People who have personalities or characteristics that society values negatively are said to be stigmatized.
Stigma is a reality for people with a mental illness, and how society judges them is one of their most significant barriers to cope and live their life. We feel uncomfortable about mental illness, perhaps due to not fully understanding this disorder. It’s unlikely to see stigma present with other invisible illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.
Continue reading STIGMA – And Mental Illness
Bipolar Disorder Often Misdiagnosed as Major Depression
Researchers Pinpoint 5 Factors That Can Help Improve Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
I’ve been hunting for an article just like this, perhaps info for my dilemma ‘Major Depression diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder’.
I was diagnosed as BP II in 1997, at which time psychiatrists prescribed mood stabilizers, followed by antidepressants and a myriad of medications throughout the years.
A number of these medications are still prescribed, so I’m puzzled by this diagnosis, considering primarily fighting off major depression for years. Episodes of “mood swings”, “rapid cycling” or “mania”, just aren’t there. I’m demanding a reevaluation; perhaps confirming meds that may not even be necessary.
About one in three people diagnosed with major depression may actually have bipolar disorder, researchers report.
Five characteristics, including extreme mood swings and psychiatric symptoms at a young age, may help pinpoint which patients actually have bipolar disorder, they say.
Bipolar disorder covers a spectrum of disorders in which patients may be sad and down one day and feeling on top of the world, hyperactive, creative, and grandiose the next.
Continue reading Bipolar Disorder ~ Were you perhaps Misdiagnosed?
Mental illness is surrounded by a glut of half-truths and untruths. If you tell someone that you’ve been diagnosed with, for example, bipolar disorder, they are likely to roll their eyes and say, “I don’t believe it – you don’t look mentally ill…?” What does mental illness look like then?
Which brings me to my question: Do I perchance look like I have Bipolar Disorder? I don’t think I do. Am I perhaps making something out of nothing?
Self-confidence and self-esteem slid into the basement and remained there for too many years. Trudging through the mud, and finally locating a ladder to climb up, rung by rung, I achieved the surface. An awfully scary surface.
Continue reading Can you tell if I have Bipolar Disorder?
This article was written by: Natasha Tracy from HealthyPlace.com (Breaking Bipolar Blog)
Sometimes people don’t believe I’m particularly sick. They meet me, I look fine, I interact, I charm, I wit and all seems, if not normal, at least something reasonably normal adjacent.
And that’s fine. It’s by design. Being a high-functioning mentally ill person, I can’t really afford to run around with my hair on fire. But faking normalcy, happiness and pleasure is a tricky and very expensive bit of business.
Being a “high-functioning” bipolar doesn’t really have a definition, per se. The term indicates that I’m not in a mental hospital, and I do things like live on my own, pay rent, work, and whatnot. I would suggest that being “high-functioning” seems to indicate that I can fake not being a crazy person.
Continue reading “High Functioning” Bipolar Disorder
In my opinion, for years now, whenever bipolar disorder is revealed on social media it relates to some heinous, horrid crime. Mass shootings or some horrific crime such as a vicious assault, or violent murders. Less often is anything else said about bipolar, such as research or how the average person struggling with this disorder lives.
No surprise there is a stigma with mental illness, let alone bipolar disorder or depression. I was diagnosed with BP in the late 1990’s due to a few hypomanic episodes, however, my history shows I’m usually in the “basement”, staggering through the muck, fighting depression. I wonder how thorough that test was for the doctor to diagnose me as Bipolar?For me, it’s a label, but I hate to even divulge I have BP. Shame really….imagine being ashamed of an illness?
Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017