Closet

It was a very long and strange process for me to come fully “out of the closet” with the Bipolar I Diagnosis I live with. 

At first, I overshared amongst the people around me and told a lot of the people I saw. Looking back, that was some naive attempt to make the information not hurt me if it got back to me. As in, “I already told everyone so of course Person A knows.” I lived in a very small town at the time so maybe that was the way to handle it. I don’t know. I ended up feeling over-exposed. 

Weirdly though, back home, aside from my parents, my grandmother and a couple of aunts, I didn’t make an issue of my diagnosis at all. It was like it never happened. Even hoapitizations I just didn’t talk about. 

I was slightly better with my closest friends, but often not by much. Many of them would find out I was in the hospital because my phone was turned off or I called them when I got out.

I never posted a single thing on social medial about my diagnosis or my mental health. Ever. I worried about the stigma. I worried about people deciding they were better than me and the judgement. I worried about a lot of things. 

Finally, about 8-9 years after diagnosis, I got brave. 

I shared something about Bipolar Disorder on Facebook.

 It got a couple of likes but no one said anything bad. I instantly felt more free. I decided part of my issue with sharing things on my Facebook was that I had people on there that I specifically didn’t feel safe necessarily seeing all of that. If they found out, it would be okay, but I didn’t need to be the daily messenger. So I unfriended those people. 

Now I post and share about mental health topics all I want. I very occasionally link to this blog (I publicize on twitter instead). I enjoy Facebook more when I get on because it is more just people I care about on my newsfeed. 

I feel free to Educate people about mental health and mental illness in a way that I didn’t before. I feel like I can do my part to reduce stigma now that I am out of the closet as a person living with Bipolar Disorder. It’s a pretty big deal and it has changed my life. 

Image from Flickr 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Closet

  1. i’m glad you feel able to talk about it now and that you feel free and more able to discuss your personal experiences of mental illness with the world. I feel similarly to you. I didnt want certain family members knowing my stuff so i just unfriended them and they werent on my twitter so i was more able to be myself on there. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen the inclination to “overshare” the BPD diagnosis as you describe. I wonder if when there’s a diagnosis during the manic phase all that energy is going to go straight into explaining it to other people. I’ve seen someone start telling anyone they encountered about it, no matter how slight their acquaintance was. I think it can be hard for someone who’s FINALLY looking at a possible explanation to see that explanation as possibly embarrassing private health information. Important reminder for such people that is perhaps missing from the initial clinical discussions…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I think that mania was probably playing a part for me. I also think that relief in knowing or having confirmation or an explanation for my behavior was a factor as well.

      It was ten years ago so it’s a little difficult for me to do a forensic on what exactly was going through my mind, but I suspect mania was definitely a factor.

      Like

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s