Saturday, April 13, 2013

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Hello Hello Hello!
I've been "off the air" for a while.  I had a big downcycle and anyone that's familiar with bipolar knows what happens then.  Nothing.  Not. A. Thing.  But the meds are readjusted and I'm glad to be back.

I've been reconnecting with some old friends on Facebook lately, and sharing with some of them my experiences as bipolar.  It's still scary to talk about it.  I'm always afraid of the reaction I might get.  One of my friends, who has a physical debilitation,  shared this with me:

When I first read it I thought, "yeah, those are some pretty crappy things to say to someone who's sick."  Then, I realized that I've heard ALL of those statements in response to my "coming out" as bipolar.  The most disappointing came from a friend I've known since elementary school who has become an MD.  He said to me, "well, we're all a little bipolar in one way or another."  I was really surprised that someone who practices medicine would be so dismissive. 

But, I've found that nearly everyone else has been accepting.  I've had a few people ask a lot of questions, and with genuine interest.  I've had some friends say, "Oh!  Is that why you're so weird sometimes?  Whatever!  What are we going to do this weekend?"  And, I have some friends that suffer from similar disorders and we've swapped stories. 

The hardest time I've had lately is with school.  I was in a bad depression for a month and could barely get out of bed, nevermind take a shower, get dressed and drive to class.  Two of my classes are online/attendance not mandatory.  But, for the third class I really need to be present twice a week for lecture.  I had to tell my professor what was happening with me.  I was so self-conscious and embarrassed.  But he took it in stride, gave me the assignments via email and, most importantly, graded me fairly -- no special favors.

My parents have been the best.  They watch me go up and down and give me the right amount of a nudge when I need it and leave me alone when I need to be alone.  And I love it when they laugh at me when I'm in an upcycle.  Here's Mom, "hmmm, feeling a little extra wound up this week, aren't you!  You were really funny on the phone yesterday!"

My parents have taken an active interest in learning more about bipolar disorder by reading books, talking with some of their health care providers, searching on the web, and even reading my blog!  (Hi Mom!  Hi Dad!).  There are not enough words to express how lucky I am to have such wonderful people as my parents.

I do still become anxious when I tell people I'm bipolar.  I'm still  very selective about who I'm going to share my information with.  But when I do talk about it with those friends, I realize that doing so is liberating.  I no longer have a "secret." 

No comments:

Post a Comment