Stigma This

There are days when getting out of bed is overwhelming.

There are days when the thought of going out the front door is paralyzing.

There are days when getting out of the house is an itch that can’t be scratched fast enough.

There are days when everyone around you laughs and you join them.

There are days when moving fast isn’t fast enough.

These are the days of my life. I am bi-polar with hypomania. Each person with this defect presents differently. I just happen to function and create on a higher level than others. I can have insanely organized and creative periods and times where being organized is not a priority to me.

Bi-Polar Disorder can be defined as the follow:

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are more severe than the normal ups-and-downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated. A combination of professional counseling and medication helps most people live productive and fulfilling lives.

Bipolar symptoms are sometimes not recognized as parts of a larger problem, so it can be years before a person is properly diagnosed and treated. While some experience symptoms during childhood, bipolar disorder often develops in a person’s late teens or early adult years. It has been reported that at least half of all cases start before age 25. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life.

Bipolar mood changes are called episodes, and people usually shift from manic to depressive episodes.

For many generations the word bi-polar has been taboo. Telling people that you have depression or anxiety or a mental health diagnosis was social disaster. Many patients have been told not to tell anyone for fear of being denied jobs, being considered a social outcast. It can be intimidating to tell people about your illness. You fret and worry about whether or not you will have friends left. You worry about keeping your job, getting a new job. You worry about being shunned by friends and loved ones because you are “unstable”. Due to the stigma many with mental health illnesses will forgo treatment and self-medicate with illegal drugs, alcohol, food or other reckless behaviors. These things can seem to help for some time but are not directly treating the illness especially bi-polar disorder.

Facts v. Fiction of Mental Illness BringChange2mind.org

FICTION: People living with a mental illness are often violent.

FACT: Actually, the vast majority of people living with mental health conditions are no more violent than anyone else. People with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of crime.

FICTION: Mental illness is a sign of weakness.

FACT: A mental illness is not caused by personal weakness — nor can it be cured by positive thinking or willpower — proper treatment is needed.

FICTION: Only military personnel who have been in combat can be diagnosed with PTSD.

FACT: While PTSD is prevalent in men and women who have seen combat, experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event can trigger PTSD, including violent personal assaults such as rape or robbery, natural or human-caused disasters, or accidents.

FICTION: People with a mental illness will never get better.

FACT: For some people, a mental illness may be a lifelong condition, like diabetes. But as with diabetes, proper treatment enables many people with a mental illness to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

FICTION: Children aren’t diagnosed with mental illness.

FACT: Millions of children are affected by depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. As a matter of fact, 1 in 10 children live with a diagnosable mental illness. Getting treatment is essential.

FICTION: “Mental illness can’t affect me!”

FACT: Mental illness can affect anyone. While some illnesses have a genetic risk, mental illness can affect people of all ages, races and income levels, whether or not there is a family history.

There has been some amazing and ground-breaking research in the last 5 years regarding mental illnesses especially bi-polar disorders. Quite a few studies have linking bi-polar disorder to a defect in DNA. The Medical News Today article explains the new research being done across the nation into what exactly causes or can cause bi-polar disorder.

The facts are that 1 in 6 adults are living with a brain-related illness including depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia.

The fact is, your child’s teacher, the bus driver, the next door neighbor, husband, wife, best friend, police officer, fire fighter, pilot, soliders and just about everyone knows someone with mental illness.

We can all agree that bullying is wrong that making fun of people is cruel and mean. Why is it then that when someone is acting differently than expected they are describe as being “bipolar” or you hear “The weather is totally bipolar” We expect our parents and Military to be strong and brave. So much so that men and women in our armed services are committing suicide at a rate of 17.5 suicides per 100,000 in 2010. That is 17.5 to many. Many are afraid that asking for help and getting counseling will undermine their career. As of September of 2011 there was an estimated 1,468,364 active duty service personnel. This number does not include reserves on active duty for training.

Now I’m not great with math but let’s take a look at the numbers. 1 in 6 adults are living with a brain related illness so that means out of the approximately 1.5 million activity duty military personnel approximately 250,000 of those men and women are living with a mental health issue. Now don’t quote my math. Some of you know I married my husband to do the math and well he’s sleeping while I write the post……..but back on topic.

There are so many false stigmas about those of us with mental health illness. Why? Why do people automatically assume that you are dysfunctional if you share your mental health status?

One of the websites I’ve quoted above www.bringchange2mind.org is one of the best resources on the internet.

Another voice in the dark stigma of mental health is Logan Noone here is his story Bipolar Disorder Recovery.

I’ve read it and heard it said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

I draw the line in the sand and I refuse to hide. I have bipolar disorder and I am not a stigma.

What do you think?

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