4 Reasons Why It’s Hard to Share a Mental Illness Diagnosis

Since I have been publicly sharing my bipolar disorder diagnosis I have had some very interesting responses from other people.  Most of the time people are very supportive, however, when they start to know a bit more about the struggle sometimes the questioning looks begin to happen.  Here are my top four reasons Why It’s Hard to Share a Mental Illness Diagnosis.

#1 – People wonder if you are “crazy”

The general public has so little information on mental illness they don’t have a true idea on what the struggle really is about.  Granted there might be some “crazy” times in the world of a person who lives with severe mental illness.  But I have also personally experienced many times where I am really rather quite normal.  If I am really “crazy” you will know it.

#2 – They think you are always sick

Had a bad day?  Stressed out over life changes?  Not in a good mood?  The moment I am not my usual friendly self, sometimes I get very strange looks from people who mean very well, but don’t realize I am not always sick.  There are days when I am simply having a bad day.  Everyone has those days.  I just don’t get the leeway like everyone else.

#3 – People don’t believe you can recover

When I say I struggle and I battle and I fight bipolar disorder, this really means I manage it.  I work extremely hard at being “normal.”  Not everyone can get their illness to the point where they feel as if they have recovered.  I am not one of those people.  I have several occasions where I have been either extremely manic or so depressed I could not get out of bed, but I always get better and return to a fairly high level of activity.

#4 – Oh the stigma

There are countless misunderstandings about mental illness that is created as a result of stigma.  Stigma is shame.  Shame causes silence.  Silence hurts us all.  This is my number one reason why I am an advocate.  There more I talk about living with bipolar disorder, hopefully the more people will see that I am more like everyone else than I am different.  I just happen to struggle with an illness that effects my brain.  Does that make me a crazy, wacko, nuts or psyhco?  I don’t think so.  The more people come into contact with someone who is open about their mental illness the faster we can eliminate stigma.

My message to those who live with a mental illness is:  Keep talking about it or start talking about it.  Don’t be afraid.  Because all of these obstacles I mentioned can be overcome.  That’s how change occurs.



3 thoughts on “4 Reasons Why It’s Hard to Share a Mental Illness Diagnosis

  1. I only translate my disorder into my poetry. I don’t specifically name what I have and love to use symbolism. These days, people are using and glamourising mental illnesses as if it’s fun to have. It’s not. It hurts and hurts the people around the patient. I agree with what you write here, and like to add a number 5 if I may: “People think you’re faking it, to get sympathy”. I envy those who dare to truly come forward and are genuine.

    1. Thank you for commenting. Unfortunately, I believe you are right with your #5 suggestion. Actually, we could probably come up with a much bigger list. This is why we keep fighting. I don’t think celebrities coming forward is a bad thing..it does not make me feel better about my struggles but it helps me to know I am not alone…and for that reason their platforms are important to use if it raises awareness for mental illness.

      1. You are absolutely correct. One other point that I have experienced is that when I talk about my periodic bouts of depression/anxiety or suffer from regression people’s body language and sometimes verbal responses are: oh, you are just looking for sympathy; you are just a drama queen; you are just trying to dodge your responsibilities; you are not reliable

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s