Hi, though I know that I have had this disorder since I was at least 7 or 8, I did not accept it until now, at 51. I was even diagnosed 14 years ago and still didnt believe it. I am also a 23 year recovering alcoholic and addict.
When I didnt blame how I felt on my childhood, I blamed it on my alcoholism. Then any illness I had was blamed, it was always the answer to how I felt. I felt trapped, lazy,angry, tired, sad, anxious, fearful, and worst of all, hopeless. I was always afraid that people would think I was crazy if they knew. My parents had mega problems and it was easy to make me the scapegoat.
No one knew about these mental illnesses then, it would never occur to them that something was wrong, except that I was an behavioral problem. I spent my life beating myself up. I have hypothyroidism, aloepecia, irritable bowel and suffer migraines, I never wanted to admit I was crazy too, who would love me, nobody. When I was diagnosed with bipolar, I was being hospitalized for 2 suicide attempts. 4 weeks were inpatient and 2 outpatient.
I was on lithium and I believe prozac. I couldnt work and was in constant therapy. Yet I still ignored the diagnosis and believed that because I hadnt been going to AA meetings that, that was the reason I was having a hard time. I stopped the lithium and prozac. It took ages but I started working again and life was managable, not great, but I could manage. Still I constantly beat myself up for my shortcomings.
I met my husband on the internet and moved to England. I got a job running a charity shop. At first I loved it, but it got harder and harder and less fullfilling. I wanted to move back home but my husband didnt. Slowly I started falling apart, oh yes, I was also going thru menapause, not on hormones. I talked to my GP, said that once I had been diagnosed with bipolar, but played it down, dismissing it. I did say that I was depressed and had suicidal thoughts. I went on hormones and prozac.
I quit my job in hopes of going home, but that never happened. It probably was just me trying for a geographical cure, though I do miss my nieces and nephew. I work for a friend ocassionally in her shop, see friends, but I am falling apart inside. It just finally hit me that I was bipolar. I am partially relieved as it explains my life, but it makes me feel like I am crazy and to be truthful, it is just something else to deal with.
I am just going through the first stages of accepting it and I am trying to take as much control as I can and not let it take my life anymore. Thanx Kym57
Hi I just posted something similar (Despair, Kaleidoscope of pills and my story). I'm younger ( 27 ) , but going through/went through the same stuff. I understand about self medicating and geographical inclinations.
Acceptance is the first step toward healing, and you're making it, so things are improving for you already.
Acceptance is a big one. I go through stages of acceptance, then denial, then trying to push it all away and forget about it. Inevitably, my disorders click right in and I get worse without noticing it (who wants to notice it?)
Accepting the bp diagnosis makes you NOT crazy, if anything. It explains why you've been and way you've been, it's not "crazy", it's an illnes. And you can learn to manage it effectively with meds and therapy...and the help of these wonderful people on this board.
After 40 years of anorexia, agoraphobia and bp, I was finally diagnosed correctly and am making some progress. I also never was diagnosed, since no, nothing was known about these things then.
Just take it gentle. I don't think acceptance is something that we can force. It has come, for me, in bit and pieces. If I dwell on it too long, then I get panicky.
You're not alone and not crazy. I'm glad you posted, it gave me pause to think about my own acceptance and denial.
Thanx for your reply. I am really trying not to force anything, I know I need to be gentle, but it is really just blowing me away. It is so nice though, to finally call it something and have people to talk with and be myself. I am so tired of trying to pretend to be normal. I still need to see my doctor and discuss this with her. I know I need med changes etc. but I am not ready to talk openly about, it will make it too real. I will when the time is right. I am lucky also that my husband is caring and some of things I consider crazy, he says makes me, me. Thanx again, you really helped. Plus I needed to see that people do respond on here and they do!
It is just Kym again, I just noticed that you were from Woonsocket, I lived in Portsmouth, RI before I moved to England. Seeing that just made me feel a little closer to home. That is where most of my family lives. bye!
Your last post identified something for me that happens to me all the time. When you said that acceptance makes it "real", I realized that's what keeps me having to be in denial a lot of the time. It's awfully frightening.
I thought of you today when I passed a window and glanced at my reflection. I also have a chronic ED, and I have no mirrors in my apartment and never look at myself.
Well, eeing how thin I am threw me into shock, and I stood there, saying "NO, that is NOT me, not my body, I do not look like that, there's nothing wrong with me."
Then I remembered your post and was taken aback and oh, so frightened. But our discussion of this is letting me gently focus on what's real, not my fantasy or denial.
Want to thank you for that.
Once I realize I am not alone, it helps so much. I guess we just have to keep plugging away at it, a little at a time.
I have a friend with MS, who is getting steadily worse. A woman of great strength and wisdom. She has said to me "You are just washing your energy pushing it away and trying to be 'normal'. Put your energies into a positive direction, concentrate on what you can do, and live your best within your limitations. And forget about the "if-onlies" and trying to be the person you were when well."
I am trying to take her advice.
That's all just thinking of you and how much your post is helping me.
I was glad to hear from you. When you wrote what your friend said to you about not wasting your energy trying to be normal, it took me back. I have been saying to my husband how hard it has been, my whole life trying to be normal. I am trying to redirect myself, but today we went to this huge mall here and I kept looking at people, wondering what they were thinking and how do they think different than me. I tried to explain this to my husband, but as great as he is I am sure he does not get everything I try to explain to him. It helps though that he lets me talk about it as much as I need. It is always comforting hearing from you!!! Kym
I think it is hard for people to talk about this sometimes because they are scared. Scared of being different, being singled out or being the center of negative attention. Everyone in my life knows I'm bipolar. I am not ashamed of it, I can't change it and the less concerned I act about it the less people treat me different. I hear the comments people make to other people when they get mad all of a sudden.
Oh quit being bipolar...things like that. To me that is very sad. It doesn't hurt my feelings because I think it is unintentional but it could cause someone with problems to withhold their concern for fear of people like that. I try to be as open as possible so people feel like they can talk to me...I feel that if I can at least help other people this isn't a waste. If I can help people accept themselves I have made a difference for the better.
Its unfortunate that we live in a society that is so quick to label peoples reactions and "moods" as bipolar. I work in a hospital and frankly I work with a lot of a- holes. Most of them come in with a chip on their shoulder and a nasty attitude and its very common for someone to say " she must be bipolar " when in all reality she's really just a jerk with a bad attitude.
In the past I have let a few people know about my illness at other jobs and it just leaked out and just caused me nothing but grief. I mean everybody knew about my hospitalizations, and medications. I was already feeling bad about being depressed and up and down, now I was forced to feel bad about feeling bad???? Once I relocated to this job I tried a whole new angle. Tell NOBODY, NOTHING! I go to work, do my job, made plenty of friends, but my personal life is completely separate from my job. I sit there and listen to these people label others bipolar to me, who is bipolar.
My whole point is, I truly do accept myself for who I am. I was made this way for a reason and there is no changing that, just medicating it and calming it down. I don't deny that I'm bipolar because I'm ashamed but because its still taboo to many people in society. There are still so many people out there who think they understand it, but truly do not. Thats why they say things like " Oh stop being bipolar" and ignorant comments like that. I just decided years ago, to make my life easier to deal with, I withhold information around the people I feel can't handle the truth and share it with the ones that are mature enough to handle it.
So far it has worked with the acceptance on my end and the end of the ones I choose to share with.
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For me, it is not really a fear of being different etc. I am very open about being a recovering alcoholic and addict etc. because I want to educate people about what that disease is and anyone can be one. I have no predjudices about anyone being bipolar, I am very educated and open about many disorders and always have been. I think, though it explains so much to me about my life and things that I have felt and how i have reacted, being bipolar, I have to get know myself better, learning what makes me bipolar and what is natural or "normal". Some things that I just thought I knew, now are different.
I am questioning all of my reactions, because I can look back and say "Wow, I thought I was right at the time, but there was an overreaction or I thought that I was a little loopy, now I know why." I always knew there was something wrong, I never understood what or how, now I do somewhat and I have to accept it, so I can be the best me I can. Just being able to discuss this with you, is new, I am used to AA, but this is even deeper and it is just another life adjustment.
I think that there is part of me wishing it wasnt true, that would just be easier. Yet knowing what it is gives me another tool to help me grow. I am just accepting the need to readjust my life abit, and also accept that I am not ever going to be normal and what is that anyway. Thanx Kym57
Hey guys, I hope you don't mind me jumping into your thread....I haven't posted much lately, busy with summer, kids and activities. But I could totally relate to what you're talking about, accepting something like mental illness especially with the stigma attached is a complicated thing, and it's a process, I think that takes time. I was diagnosed in 2004, so I've had a couple of years to 'wrap my brain around it'. That's my favorite term for the stages of acceptance.
I was thinking the other day while I was driving and listening to the radio, you know that song by matchbox 20, 'Unwell' have you ever listened to the lyrics, it describes us perfectly...
"I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell, I know right now you can't tell
but stay a while and then maybe you'll see a different side of me..."
It's exactly what it's like, we can be so 'normal' sometimes, but we can't hide our illness from those who are around us for long periods of time,and it's so difficult to know when and who it's going to be okay to open up to about the illness. And sometimes we're even able to convince ourselves and those around us that we're not sick, and that it's a part of us we can somehow overcome if we try hard enough. Just when we think we're ok, we realize we're not, no matter how hard we try, we're realize we're never going to be the way we used to be.
My best advice is to surround yourself with people who love you unconditionally, and try not to be too hard on yourself when you have a 'moment'. We all do our best to manage our condition, and as long as you know your limitations and triggers, you can really life a relatively normal life.
The amount of ignorance out there is mind-boggling, this is the 21 century, you would think we would have more sense by now as a society, but it is what it is, and as long as you know you're a good person, and doing your best to be a good friend, daughter, mother, wife or whatever, and managing your condition responsibly, then that's all that really matters in the end, right?