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hiding MI sucks


resonance

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I've been going through my livejournal entries from 2005 and making the MI-relevant ones private, because my friends from 2004-2005 may have ditched me because of them. I don't plan to ever tell anyone about having bp again, if I can avoid it.

It's hard to do. It's hard to wrap everything I feel about it up inside me and watch it to make sure it doesn't get out. It's hard to make sure it extends to other things like linking to articles on other aspects of mental health in my journal.

It's especially hard because I have so much cultural programming telling me that good people are open and honest about what's going on with them. And because we have this wonderful cultural myth that says when you find the right people, you open up to them, and they're warm and supportive.

It's hard because even though it's mostly under control, coping with small swings is still a major part of my life. And I just can't talk about it. I have to make stuff up when people ask me how I'm doing, because I can't always be "fine".

):

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Why would you want to be friends with people who would ditch someone for being bipolar anyway?

Would you want to be friends with racists or homophobes? I know how it feels to be stigmatized, how unfair it feels. At the same time, what do you gain by making yourself attractive to bigots? Aren't you validating their worldview and denying your own? Denying yourself?

It's never really ocoured to me to not be out of the closet, but I'm not bipolar. I The whole autistic / aspie thing is fairly new and I've not really dealt with that one much in a social setting yet.

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you can always make a filter for posts about your mental health that only certain people on your friends list can read. i think i have 4 filters right now, because sometimes i need to talk about things but i don't want to talk about them to everyone.

about hiding your MI. i've been trying to grapple with the issue of how i present myself to the world. do i think it's bullshit that people discriminate against MI? yes. do i want to let people that i don't know incredibly well, and who i know don't really understand mental illness, to know what i've been through? no.

we all put on personas. when we go to work, for instance, we get dressed professionally, we make small talk, we are polite... we don't talk in detail about our personal lives because that isn't appropriate in that setting.

i don't know how long you've known this group of people. but, if they are newish, people that aren't confidants, aren't people that you know well enough to trust with your private and painful personal struggles, then there is nothing wrong with keeping this from them. you are noemie, you are not bipolar. bipolar is an aspect of your life, a very influential aspect, but it is not you, we are more than our DSM labels, so to speak.

if you were talking about holding this back from a significant other, or your best friend whom you've known for years, then i'd say it was a problem.

but it seems like you are talking about a group of people you are getting to know, a group of acquaintances that are turning into friends. there is nothing wrong with keeping certain things to yourself until you feel that you are comfortable confiding in some of them.

i'm all for being open about MI, but the reality is you can't always be. it doesn't make you a bad person, and it doesn't mean you are being untruthful.

i look at it this was: there are very few people who know my real life story because it is hard to tell and it is easier and more socially acceptable to say that my mother is dead than to explain that she is an abusive alcoholic and i have no idea where she is. problems with an abusive mother are just not cocktail party talk, and not the answer people are looking for when they ask "what does your mother do?".

i think you should make a filter on your LJ so that you still have an outlet to talk about what is going on inside you. and maybe eventually you will feel comfortable enough with some of the people in your life to add them to that filter.

i just rambled here because this is something that i have a hard time with. (not in my LJ, that is full of insanity, but it's also read by people who i've either known for years or people who i will probably never know in person.) but it is hard to grapple with what persona you should put forward and it is hard to feel like maybe you aren't being truthful if you hold a part of you back.

but i don't think it boils down to what VE said "Why would you want to be friends with people who would ditch someone for being bipolar anyway?" because a lot of people have never had personal contact with bipolar and it scares them. if they get to know you and if you one day feel comfortable telling them, then they will know you as you, and will not focus on your bipolar. and maybe their relationship with you will change their views on mental illness.

i hope some of this made sense.

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Why would you want to be friends with people who would ditch someone for being bipolar anyway?
Well, I didn't know they were going to. But I don't have lots of people to choose from for friendships. I've got some acquaintance-y sorts of friends now and I want to avoid losing them.

you can always make a filter for posts about your mental health that only certain people on your friends list can read. i think i have 4 filters right now, because sometimes i need to talk about things but i don't want to talk about them to everyone.

I had some. But I still lost friends who were on those filters, even a couple who actively said in response to a poll that they wanted to be on a mental health filter. (It may not have been all MI why I lost them, but I'm not sure exactly what it was.) Several of them had issues with dysthymia or depression and were on medication for it at various points, which made it more surprising to me that they had such a hard time with bipolar. But I guess for a lot of people there really is a line there.

i don't know how new this group of people is to whom you are refering. but, if they are newish, people that aren't confidants, aren't people that you know well enough to trust with your private and painful personal struggles, then there is nothing wrong with keeping this from them.
I've known most of them for a couple years, but have only started hanging out with them semi-regularly for the last six months. There's another set of people that I've known for a year and a half, and many have been pretty open about their own/their family's MI issues - two with schizophrenic mothers, one with panic attacks, one with "biological depression" (which I'm assuming means "major depression that's really for real serious I'm not faking"). One knows because she was on an early filter before I stopped talking about it, but I dunno. I guess part of the problem is that my intuitions about who it was safe to trust and when were really wrong, and now I don't want to trust them at all since they can be so far off.

i think you should make a filter on your LJ so that you still have an outlet to talk about what is going on inside you. and maybe eventually you will feel comfortable enough with some of the people in your life to add them to that filter.

I might. I've known other people who've talked about their symptoms, and don't live here, so I wouldn't be losing them in that sense.

but i don't think it boils down to what VE said "Why would you want to be friends with people who would ditch someone for being bipolar anyway?" because a lot of people have never had personal contact with bipolar and it scares them. if they get to know you and if you one day feel comfortable telling them, then they will know you as you, not you as bipolar.

I'm figuring that sooner or later that will happen at my martial arts school anyway... I'm hoping it's far enough along to have a positive effect than a negative one.

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I had to hide my MI in a job interview today. I almost called it off (it was a second interview), as I don't feel ready to start another job just now (too depressed).

I was one of 2 best applicants for the job and I know that if I'd mentioned my depression they'd use that against me and choose the other person.

So yeah, you have to make good judgment when deciding who to confide in about having a MI.

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Hi,

I suppose Im a lot like VE - never leave the house...and when i do, strangers seem to approach me. yuck.

On the very off-chance i talk to a stranger (usually a family members friend or friend's friend) i say im "on a break." and ive had people keep pushing for more info. i usually keep saying "on a break." I gladly talk about my past employment....

the people close to me know im on social security disability. they know not to ask why do i sleep 12-14 hours a day.

others dont get it. and when i do tell them my dx, i cringe at the response "you need to exercise more." that makes me want to punch them in the face.

but im not violent. ;)

so here is to safely screaming "im bp2 with psychosis + anxiety!!!"

love,

december

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personally, i'd stick with the filters.

people you meet who cannot handle what is really going on in side you, the real you, shouldn't have any place in your life (in my opinion).

would you want to hide diabetes, heart problems, or a broken leg? bipolar disorder, while a mental issue and scary to many people, shouldn't be something to turn away a true friend. i lost a "friend" over bipolar disorder. she just never called me again or returned my calls after i told her, and we were "friends" since first grade. hey, shit happens. sometimes people can't take it.

but you want the strong people, the real people who can take it. why would you want to spend your time with wimps?

i'd show them the real you, without shame, and if they can't take it, give them the finger and move on. life is worth more than people who have prejudice against MI. people who don't care enough about you to learn about your condition, by asking you intelligent questions and researching it, are just assholes and are unworthy of you. fly by night "friends" if you will.

you may want to gear them up for it first, by discussing that mental health case that was in the news or that aunt who has sz. some education prior to your disclosure may make a difference between panic and acceptance.

best of luck, i hope i gave some good advice,

loon

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I made a filter. And I might even post to it at some point. All are people who have MI or who I've had friendly and reasonable conversations with about MI before, mostly both, and almost all of them know about me, but a few don't, so that's a little intimidating. I might take them off before I post.

I also finally fixed the title on this thread so it wasn't overlong. ;)

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