Coming Out About Bipolar to Friends and Family

I have bipolar 1 but none of my friends know it.

I have had it for 40 years. I never told anyone as I didn’t want to believe it myself.

I am at a point in my life where I have a mission to help other bipolar diagnosed people find relief. I am coming out as bipolar to squash the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Most of my friends in HS are the majority of my FB friends. They never knew I had it. They saw my manic moments via my wild rants and blogs. They didn’t know my behavior was part of a mental illness.

“My brain chemistry is messed up,

but my heart is still in the right place”. By BbqDad

I explain that I have a mental illness. A brain illness where my chemicals are out of balance. These chemicals interact with the brain to control mood and behaviors.

Bipolar symptoms include:

  • extremely high elevated mood (mania) with lots of energy and grand ideas
    • little need for sleep staying up for days at a time
    • racing thoughts and ideas non-stop, high creativity
  • extremely low mood (depresson) is the crash after mania that keeps you in bed for days
    • and makes you think you are worthless and should die
    • low energy, neglects self-care

When will you be cured?

It is something that will not go away. It can be stabilized with proper medication. I am on medication and stable.

I am taking care of myself by:

  • following doctors orders,
  • taking my meds,
  • practicing meditation,
  • getting proper sleep (8 hours),
  • eating healthy,
  • avoiding alcohol
  • and avoiding risky behaviors
  • or spending spree’s.

At least that is the script I have made up to deal with all the questions about “What is wrong with you?” That is what all your friends and family must be thinking. That was what I thought. They didn’t have a clue. (OK, so my sisters and mother understand)

Why am I telling my FB friends about being bipolar?

As part of my mission to help other BP sufferers I started this blog. I want to tell my friends and family to recommend my blog to people they know that have BP. BUT they don’t know that I have BP. So I wanted to finally tell them and see how it goes. I was nervous and afraid to be so open but I didn’t know any other way to handle the matter. So I decided to write a letter to my friends and family. In the letter I would tell them about my bipolar disorder and explain why I had acted so strangely over the years.

Here is the letter that I posted to all of my friends:

Hi friends, Most of you who follow me have seen my ups and downs or at least wondered what the heck is going on with Lance. For 40 years I have had a mental illness called bipolar disorder. It has taken me cross-country, on an emotional roller coaster that has lost me relationships, jobs, money and respect. For the past three years I have been under medication that has helped to manage my symptoms. It doesn’t always work but I have developed strategies to help myself keep from going off the rails. By using music, meditation and meds. I am thriving again day by day. I am sharing this to downplay the stigma surrounding bipolar and other mental illnesses. I’m coming out so to speak. (lol) My goal is to connect with others that have a mental illness or who has family members with mental illness and want to understand better how to help.

If you know someone or are someone with a mental illness like bipolar or depression or PTSD then let them know that I am open to a conversation.

How did my friends respond?

Here are some of the comments:

  • “it takes strength and courage to be so transparent. Praying for you as you walk this journey. May your post initiate conversations that need to be had.”
  • “I work at a hospital that deals specifically with this illness and it is an illness it is not something that you’ve done on your own intentionally. it is like any other illness and there should be no Stigma ever attached to this. we need more people like you to inform people who are ignorant about this. I love you tons”
  • “Very Courageous, Lance you will be in my Prayers.”

Besides that my FB app was blowing up my phone with: LIKE, LIKE, LIKE, LIKE, LOVE!

There were over 30 people that showed their admiration and support to the letter. Most all of them said I had a lot of courage to be so transparent. That went way better than I expected.

How do you think I felt?

I was high. I was happy. I felt relief.

There were no stupid questions. No one told me to get over it or just shape up. Or any of the other stupid and hurtful questions that I imagined they would ask.

What do you think?

Could you write such a letter to all of your friends? Maybe you wouldn’t have to all at once, but a few friends that you are close to.

I hope that my letter and script will help you draft your own explanation and script to answer that age-old question, “What is wrong with you?

If you got this far then please let me get to know you, and post something in the comments about coming out bipolar. And please follow me to get relief.

Published by bbqdad

pilot poet dad "I can open a pickle jar with my bare hands!"

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