OliverB

How do you tell people about your MI issues?

31 posts in this topic

I am trying to push myself out of my isolation existence, I want to make friends, true friends....

and I wonder... what when I have to tell them about my MI health issues? 

I don't intent to tell the first person I meet the first time... but when there is a friendship building.......

 

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You don't have to tell anyone. I would side on being discrete. You can't take it back once you tell people. 

you may be putting the cart before the horse. First try to make new friends. Then decide when you think they would "need" to know or you would want them to know.

i have thought about this a bit myself. It was hard for me when I felt like I had a secret. Now, I am more open, but it is safe for me to be. I work in a position where I am required to have had mental health treatment.  I was worried when my children were younger that they would be treated differently if people knew I had a dx, but now they are in high school and it doesn't worry me as much.

I am pretty open. I work in the field, I Volunteer giving presentations on my experience, I have made YouTube videos, and some live streams. Most of my friends I have met through meetings or volunteering so we share having a mental health condition. I don't bring it up in most other company.

i am on ssdi also, and I never mention that. It is a very controversial subject and I don't want to discuss it or try to defend myself.

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13 hours ago, OliverB said:

I am trying to push myself out of my isolation existence, I want to make friends, true friends....

and I wonder... what when I have to tell them about my MI health issues? 

I don't intent to tell the first person I meet the first time... but when there is a friendship building.......

 

For me, I would take the opportunity only if it comes up in conversation ... I wouldn't flat out say it, but if it fits into the conversation I would do it.

Confused has some good points:  You can't take it back.  But on the other hand, you might want someone to know, ie as in building a friendship.  As I was saying though, I wouldn't blurt it out.  Only if it worked in the conversation.

About being on SSDI, I completely agree about it being controversial.  The only problem I find is when someone asks me 'do you work,' or 'what do you do with your day.'  I don't have answers for that other than 'no, I don't work,' ... and the eventual default for me is telling them I have a MI and am on SSDI.  I don't have other ideas to say back in response.

Look forward to reading others' responses.

 

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Posted (edited)

I don't. Its nobody's business. Not unless it is somewhere like here. And I certainly don't disclose that I'm on a pension. Both of them are private. 

If you have a partner, that's a different story, but friends, I don't think they need to know. But I have none, and don't care to have any, so what do I know?   

Edited by Hopelessly Broken

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2 hours ago, Hopelessly Broken said:

I don't. Its nobody's business. Not unless it is somewhere like here. And I certainly don't disclose that I'm on a pension. Both of them are private. 

If you have a partner, that's a different story, but friends, I don't think they need to know. But I have none, and don't care to have any, so what do I know?   

Out of curiosity ... what do you say when/if someone asks you 'Do you work' ?  Even though it isn;t their business, is there something you say to get around the question, to put the ball back in their court and re-direct the conversation?

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I only tell people when it comes up in conversation. If I've been acting strangely (as is quite common) and people want to know what's going on. Most of my friends know about my sza but not my AsPD, only my best friend knows about that and she keeps it to herself. So yeah, only mention it when it becomes necessary to tell someone about it imo.

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I used to just tell people and they were cool with it, but now days I try and keep my bipolar and anxiety a secret because it seems like the stigma is so bad (especially in Utah where I live) that if people found out, even friends that got close, I think they might question the friendship. 

I'd wait until super good friends that I know I could trust, and then tell them about it, in passing perhaps. LIke it's not a big deal. And hopefully they'd realize it's not a big deal, and you've been super cool up to that point so there'd be no need to freak out...

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Posted (edited)

I mostly agree with everyone else........Don't tell a friend unless you feel it's absolutely necessary,  AND you trust that person enough to know they won't "spread it around"....

When it comes to someone you're dating, it's a little different...If you're getting into a serious relationship with that person, they would certainly need to know, and you should be honest with them.

I'm not exactly proud that I'm on disability, and don't discuss that with anyone except close family members...

I'd really give anything to be able to do the job I used to do,  but if someone asks me about what kind of work I do, I tell them I "retired early". (I'm in my 50's, so this wouldn't be totally unbelievable).

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, melissaw72 said:

Out of curiosity ... what do you say when/if someone asks you 'Do you work' ?  Even though it isn;t their business, is there something you say to get around the question, to put the ball back in their court and re-direct the conversation?

Simple, they don't. I have nobody in my existence that would ask, and nobody has ever asked. If they did, I would say its not their business. I am an adult and I have every right to choose what I disclose. If they are bothered by it, that is their problem, not mine, unless they are in a position where I have to tell them. 

But like I said, I barely talk to anyone. 

Edited by Hopelessly Broken
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6 minutes ago, Hopelessly Broken said:

I have nobody in my existence that would ask, and nobody has ever asked

You are very fortunate!

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Hardly. That is because I have basically zero abusive people in my existence. 

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I don't. It is no one's business where or if I work.

Edited by notloki

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True, but IME that is when people assume. And that can be worse than telling the truth sometimes.

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I try to be open about it, now that I have a less stigmatized diagnosis. With old diagnoses I kept my cards close to my chest. But when you tell people you have anxiety they usually just kind of shrug. I don't just go "nice to meet you! I have GAD!" but if it comes up in conversation, I tend to be honest. Few people know the actual impact it has on my life, of course. I minimize it, except with people I'm close to

Edited by huntforbravery
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I found that when I minimized things too, people would wonder if I was really telling the truth or not. 

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Basically, I don't. 

I guess I'm ashamed and embarrased of it. It still holds such a stigma, I feel, even for the more "normal" things like depression and anxiety, and I don't want people placing that on me. I say this even though I'm all for people being open and comfortable speaking about such things to lessen the stigma surrounding mental illness, I just can't (or won't) be open concerning my own issues. I don't talk about how it's affected me, that I'm on or have been on meds for it, or any of that stuff. Part of me feels like it's none of their business, and another part of me fears that people may use this information against me, to harm me in some way. Still, sometimes I'd like to be upfront and honest about it, and speak openly about it,

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On 1/8/2017 at 2:04 PM, OliverB said:

I am trying to push myself out of my isolation existence, I want to make friends, true friends....

and I wonder... what when I have to tell them about my MI health issues? 

I don't intent to tell the first person I meet the first time... but when there is a friendship building.......

 

You have to be able read other people, and you also have to be able to suffer the consequences if you read them wrong. For me, I'm old enough now that I just don't give a shit. If they run away, they weren't worth my time. But I understand the fear. I guess I would say that I would hold off until the person is comfortable enough with you that you feel that you can reveal it. How to judge when that happens is not necessarily so easy. Some people will run away. That's just the way it is. But better to know early on, than to be crushed later. 

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59 minutes ago, Flash said:

You have to be able read other people, and you also have to be able to suffer the consequences if you read them wrong. For me, I'm old enough now that I just don't give a shit. If they run away, they weren't worth my time. But I understand the fear. I guess I would say that I would hold off until the person is comfortable enough with you that you feel that you can reveal it. How to judge when that happens is not necessarily so easy. Some people will run away. That's just the way it is. But better to know early on, than to be crushed later. 

Flash is so spot-on. I wait until I know what people think about other social issues before bringing up MI. I guess I only open up to liberals, lol. 

But really, when I tell people, I just wait for it to come up fluidly in a conversation. And I just talk about it matter-of-factly. Like, "oh, I can definitely relate, I have terrible anxiety," or ", well, I certainly hear voices. That's some real shit."

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5 hours ago, heilmania said:

Flash is so spot-on. I wait until I know what people think about other social issues before bringing up MI. I guess I only open up to liberals, lol. 

But really, when I tell people, I just wait for it to come up fluidly in a conversation. And I just talk about it matter-of-factly. Like, "oh, I can definitely relate, I have terrible anxiety," or ", well, I certainly hear voices. That's some real shit."

Psychosis tends to freak people out more than mood or anxiety disorders. But I've found that the people I have known for a while tend to be more forgiving. Unfortunately, those are in really short supply for me these days. But they seem to be genuinely concerned with my welfare. I have told everyone about everything, and they haven't run for the hills yet. I can certainly understand if they did, but I can't get too invested in their decisions. Sometimes you just need to let people go if they can't deal, or simply not discuss it with them. It can be complicated sometimes. After I had my first full-blown manic episode, my grandfather asked me what happened. I told him that I choose not to discuss it. He blew up into a violent rage, but that was much easier to deal with then tell him the truth.

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If you don't feel comfortable saying that you have an MI, then you don't have to bring it up. But if you really feel like you need to, I'd bring it up in casual conversation when the timing is right.

If there's no timing for me, for example, and it's just eating away at my mind, I take the chance to bring it up myself. If I don't wanna just blurt it out, I might just say, "So, I saw this show/movie the other day called _____. Have you guys seen it? It's about this person who's struggling with x" and from there I just create a discussion. Often this leads to the discovery that you're not alone, that the people you're talking to know others who are struggling and are non-judgmental, or reveals that perhaps these sorts of people are rather insensitive and probably aren't best for me to be around. It's good to bring it up like that to test the waters but not completely expose yourself, you know what I mean? But that's just me.

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My opinion based on experience is that unless you need special accommodations, nothing good can come of disclosing and a lot of harm can result. 

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6 hours ago, jt07 said:

My opinion based on experience is that unless you need special accommodations, nothing good can come of disclosing and a lot of harm can result. 

How do you get around the questions asked by others to deflect the ball back into their court to hopefully change the subject ... questions like "Where do you work?"  What do you like to do, etc.  All those questions related to MI that you'd prefer not to disclose?

I honestly don't know how to answer the questions effectively.  As it is now for me, so many people know (and actually it is a good thing for me) so I don't always need to worry about disclosing or not.  But I don't know what to say if someone I am talking with asks the questions, and how to get that other person off the MI subject.  I have social anxiety so when I am talking to a person I'm anxious as it is, along with 'what should I say if ..."

 

 

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Just thought of something... it might be good to tell a friend (after a while and they become a 'good' friend) for support. If you are in a bad place and need someone to talk you down from the ledge so to speak, there'll be someone there for you. That could be a plus in telling a friend. But I'd wait until I was sure they'd not freak out about it.

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Long before I had any med or doctor worthy issues a friend told me he was stuck IP and would really appreciate a visit from someone because he felt like no one would see him because of his MI.  I knew nothing and was admittadly a little worried someone would suddenly go berzerk or something.  Anyway I visited him and it was all cool.   I think he said something to the effect that people just assume your "Artistic" or whatever (He was in the Biz) instead of assuming your "nuts" and in his case hearing orders from the radio or whatever. 

Its easier for me to let people assume its me being a tortured artist rather then having a medical diagnosis, seeing a therapist and taking pills.

Aside from that I think the world is dealing with less stigma over all this (Movies etc making it more mainstream)   People seeing a therapist for example is talked about a lot.  I learned that "Depression runs on your father's side of the family " from a cousin so that took some of the load off.  My sister said she and her husband have been in therapy like forever.   I think... its up to you how much you want to share and what its going to do plus or minus.   I don't break out my non MI diagnosis list and start telling anyone about it.   There are still patient / doctor things that don't have to go any further and I think that ok to keep it that way. 

I guess this is all kind of missmashed blather.  Hope it helps in some way.

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