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Old 03-08-2005, 11:51 AM   #1
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Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

I just joined the group a few days ago, and so far I have just offered advice and encouragement. I never realized how much prejudice we all have to put up with from society and even health care providers. I was just reading anjeleyes post, about coping with her BP boyfriend, and what a comment that a nurse made to her about his bp condition. You would think that at least health care providers would be less ignorant. My husband and I moved across the country in November. And the last time I saw my Primary Care Doctor before we moved, he said "Make sure you don't mention your diagnosis to anyone, people there will never understand". As if being an outsider moving to a small mid-western town from California wasn't bad enough. I shouldn't have to feel ashamed, or "stay in the closet", so that my neighbors wont get upset.
I have to go to the "mental health center" which is next to the biggest shopping center in town. And of course my daughter's school calendar is on the wall, and I recognize the receptionist as being a mom of one of the other kids in her class. So, I think to myself, Gee, I wonder how long it will be before my daughter's teacher begins to treat me differently, and when I walk in the school, everyone starts to whisper....Of course they say that your medical information is confidential. Right. Everyone gave me the exact look I was talking about a week later when I went to the school for a parent-teacher conference. The irony is, when I was manic, I would have already told all my neighbors about my bp, along with my entire life story.....!! Now that I'm medicated and "mostly" stable, I shouldn't be treated any different than anyone else. I just had to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening!!

 
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Old 03-08-2005, 12:02 PM   #2
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

I know exactly what you mean. One of my neighbor's knows about my bp and has always been supportive and diligent about checking up on me. But outside of that politeness I have no family or friends near me to have a support network. So I keep it to myself until I have no choice but the talk. At my old job quite a few people knew because it was there that I had my first breakdown that landed me the diagnosis. I have since changed jobs (due to large amounts of stress and lack of motivation and other hardships at my old job) I've been at my new job for 2 weeks and now and I haven't told a soul except the medical department. I've been stable the entire time I've been here (except for today) and had hoped I'd remain stable so the subject wouldn't come up. But like you I am concerned about being treated differently if others knew. At my old job I was babied and constantly watched and my work double checked (I'm an engineer).

 
Old 03-08-2005, 12:37 PM   #3
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

It is sooooo embarrasing to break down at work, (I used to be a medical insurance billing clerk) and have people know your business when you life in a small town, that was one of the reasons my husband and I decided to move. We thought we could get a fresh start. Also, his (rather large) family couldnt understand why he would stay with me after some of the stupid things I did. ( My husband and I separated a couple times, I threw him out once when I was having a manic episodse, and took off to Santa Cruz with some guy I hardly knew) They told him to leave me. And last Easter while my husband and kids went to my sister-in-laws for the holiday, they let it be known that I was not invited. So, we moved more than two thousand miles away. Of course, that wasn't the only reason, my husband got a really big promotion to move here, but I doubt that we would have moved otherwise. I guess I should look on the bright side, my husband stuck by me, and I have my kids, and a beautiful house. It's really hard to adjust to the cold weather, I've always been an outdoor person, and its hardly ever over 30* here so far.....

 
Old 03-08-2005, 12:47 PM   #4
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

wow, you're lucky to have your family and the support of your husband. But you are right breakdowns at work aren't fun. I had been manic and popping off to everyone for weeks to begin with but then the stress caught up with me and I started convulsing uncontrollably and the company fire fighters and a nurse wheeled me away from my desk on a stretcher and placed me in an ambulance and took be to the plant hospital where 5 different people took my blood pressure and asked me questions! it was great fun. I spent the next 2 months in and out of work as adjusted to medications. My one fear right now is that changing my work environment won't help me improve and that I'd forever have issues holding down a job. I support myself alone so I can't imagine how I would survive.

 
Old 03-08-2005, 12:57 PM   #5
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

Yikes! Yes, I'm lucky my husband supports me, my p-doc said I should wait at least another year before I try and work, and even then I don't know if I could hold a job. My problem has always been getting angry at co-workers, and telling them off, or just feeling overwhelmed that I couldnt seem to focus and keep up with my responsibilities, and so I would just freak out. My doctor told me that I could qualify for disability, but I don't need it and don't want to drain the system.... Maybe you could see if you qualify. I'm sure you would rather work, but you might need to take time off to re-boot. That's how I look at it. My husband's a computer engineer. I figure that when we breakdown it's like a computer crashing... The seroquel isnt working for you anymore, so maybe you need to get stabilized on a new medication before you re-group...

 
Old 03-08-2005, 01:04 PM   #6
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

At the rate I'm going I would need to reboot every 2 months. I'm only 24 years old, I hate to think that this all I have to look forward to.

 
Old 03-08-2005, 01:40 PM   #7
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

I'm glad you posted this. I have been speaking with other people about my girlfriend and our problems. When she told me that she was BP, I never really had a negative thought about it. I need to pay more attention to who I speak with about our problems. I've just been so lost, I have been trying to find help anywhere since she won't speak to me about it. I really didn't know that people had such strong stereotypes against people with BP. Now I feel like I have betrayed her. I feel horrible. I am sorry you all have to put up with this stuff

 
Old 03-08-2005, 01:57 PM   #8
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

Don't think negative. It's no walk in the park. But you will learn to cope. I'm pretty sure I have been sick for several years, but undiagnosed until last year. So, in a way, you are ahead of the game. From everything I have learned, it's an ongoing journey to figure out how to manage the illness. The first step is finding the right doctor, and then staying on a med long enough to get better. You can do it. And you have lots to look forward to. Are you feeling depressed? Seroquel is a powerfull sedative, maybe it's not right for you....

 
Old 03-08-2005, 02:03 PM   #9
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

oh, hey colefort, that last comment was for reesie. I've responded to a couple of your posts. You are a super-sweet guy. Don''t feel so bad about everything all the time. You're completely anonymous here. How could you betray her? Don't be silly

 
Old 03-08-2005, 02:36 PM   #10
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

I'm not worried about talking here, its friends of mine that know her and one them that works with her that I worry about. I don't want anyone to treat her differently, or tell other people that there is anything wrong with her. I just feel so guilty that something I might have said could hurt her. I'll have to find other ways of coping. I'm going to speak with a counselor next week to try and help me sort out everything, hopefully that will help. Thanks for the compliment, replies, and the help. This board and you all have really helped more than anything else so far. I've spent hours on this board just reading about so many situations that are so similar to mine. It is heartbreaking to hear so many people suffer on both sides. I just hope that mine is one with a happy ending that I can post on here to give encouragement and hope to others.

 
Old 03-08-2005, 03:09 PM   #11
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

I wish I could say that you could talk to your friends about anything, and not worry about how it will effect her. If only people were more educated about this, and there wasn't such a stigma attached..... I think that was one of the reasons that I had a hard time admitting and dealing with my own illness. Unfortunately, people do gossip, and when someone is different, as we know, that's scary to them, and before you know it, you're outcast. Maybe I was only imagining that the people at my daughter's school were looking at me funny. I could be paranoid. I would like to think that my medical information is really confidential. But the fact remains, that I'm told that I have to hide my illness by my own doctor. How is it ever gonna get better that way?

 
Old 03-09-2005, 02:03 AM   #12
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

That dr. is a jerk! Or maybe just at this point in my "recovery", I just don't care who knows. If they think I am an idiot, who cares? I have enough crap to worry about without caring what the whole world thinks. And how do you really know what is going on inside someone elses house or mind for that matter? Maybe later in my treatment I will feel weird or upset that people know but for now, what am I gonna do? My coworkers and my dhs family know and my parents. A few others. If they look at me differently who cares. The only prob I would have is if like other kids said something to my kids in which case i would have to explain. But for now my kids are too little and I can't worry that far ahead. Have I rambled enough yet?? LOL! Lori

 
Old 03-09-2005, 07:21 AM   #13
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

I grew up in a small town in the midwest, and let me tell you the people in that town turned their noses up at me and my family....Mom was never "social" like the other mothers, had a nervous breakdown in my teens, and my stepdad was utterly a horrible person. Totally went off on I think everyone in the town at one point or another. He wasn't bipolar but had some major mental health issues. He was the cause of my mother's breakdown.
Anyway, as an adult talking to old friends, I hear about the problems that everyone else in the town had, I think everyone there was actually emotionally unstable. So I guess the moral of the story is that everyone has their problems. No one really is in the position to cast stones.
Even though that might not help that much, it has gotten me through a lot. I don't feel anyone should be embarrassed about who they are.
Nodi

 
Old 03-09-2005, 09:58 AM   #14
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

Quote:
Originally Posted by NodiGoiterGirl
I don't feel anyone should be embarrassed about who they are.
That is so true, but very very hard for a lot of people to accept. Thanks Nodi! Lori

 
Old 03-09-2005, 10:40 AM   #15
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Re: Ignorance and Prejudice against BP's

If we had something different like, say, diabetes, or M.S., or any other kind of disease, people (society as a whole) would be sympathetic and understanding. We have no more control over our chemical imbalace in our brain than anyone else has about the illness that strikes them. Even addicts and alcoholics carry less of a stigma with their condition than with mental illness. If I didn't have school-age children, I probably wouldn't care so much what others think. God knows I never used to! But then I was kinda nuts, too....I have another condition - endometreosis, which causes me a world of pain sometimes, so I use that as an excuse for when I can't go to my daughter's class and help out like the other mother's that are "homemakers". My kids shouldn't have to feel like they can't tell anyone that their Mom is having a tough day, and can't be around others. I haven't really talked to her, about my illness, cause she's so young, but when I do, I have to tell her to lie and make excuses why I can't be a girl-scout leader like other mom's? Some days, I try so hard to be productive, and I will start so many things, loads of laundry, cleaning out the junk drawer, or whatever, and I just can't stay focused enough to finish anything. That seems like a huge improvement from some of the really crazy things I used to do, so I consider it an improvement. I guess if more people like me were willing to stand up, in the REAL WORLD and talk about it, it might get better....?

 
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