Monday, June 23, 2014

Being Honest Can Be Brutal

           The term bipolar disorder scares people. The stigma associated with mental illness can be attributed the misconceptions of most people. They are uninformed about the facts and make assumptions. Some people use words such as crazy, maniac, and madness to describe bipolar disorder. This can cause negative reactions and fear. I have been guilty of this myself.

I have been known to put myself into situations where my mouth has gotten me in trouble. I consider myself to be honest when it comes to sharing my thoughts and opinions. More often than not, I will blurt out the first thing that comes to my mind. Sometimes the things I express are meant to be funny but it usually comes out as inappropriate. I am not trying to be hurtful.

While sharing my diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I have mostly received love and support. I have shared my story with many people through facebook and in person. I have spoken to friends and strangers. I feel the need to inform everybody that would listen about the facts about my disorder to help alleviate the stigma. I want to show others that having bipolar disorder does not mean you are a monster. I look normal, just like everyone else. My whole mission in sharing my story is to put a real face to a disorder that most people don't understand.

On the other hand, I have also left myself open to criticism from others. When I write, it comes from my heart. In sharing my story, I have given people access to my innermost thoughts and feelings; I have left myself vulnerable and open to be hurt. I am aware that there will be people who will not agree with my opinions or with what I have to say. I know that I should just let the negative comments roll off my back.

The biggest criticisms have come from family members; they either ignore it completely or enthusiastically declare their opinions about something they know nothing about. I do not need my personal truth to be negated. I do not believe I have an illness that can be prayed away. Yes, I feel that I have a proper diagnosis and need medication. I know enough about my condition to feel that I am doing what is best for me, despite your disagreement. I am proud that I am going to school and have a goal to become a psychologist. Yes, I know becoming a psychologist will take years. I do not agree that I am wasting valuable time in school instead of in the workplace; you have a right to your opinion but it does not make mine wrong. Yes, I realize that you think that the field of psychology is a load of crap. And yes, I would make an excellent psychologist, but not because "it takes crazy to know crazy".

I am sure I will hear worse things as time goes on. Anonymous people will disagree. People will question the validity of my statements. Others may tell me that I am not authorized to write about what I know to be true. I may get my facts wrong once in a while, but this is about my experience. I do not claim to be an expert of a reputable website. I will continue to share my story hoping that I am helping at least one person out there understand their disorder or the disorder of a loved one. I only wish that other people weren't so judgmental.
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