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changing how you disclose, over time

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This is something I've been thinking about lately. (and I was a while ago so I hope I'm not reposting what I've already posted.)

Before I was diagnosed even with major depression, I went through a period of trying to convince other people I was having a problem, and eventually giving up and not mentioning it anymore. After I was diagnosed I started talking about it again. More of of my friends knew about it than when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. When that happened I told a handful of people, and they seemed to handle it fine until I became severely depressed a week later and my friends/housemates decided I was being aloof and unfriendly because of how I was reacting to having received a diagnosis.

Now, to the extent that I can, I'm not going to tell anybody about it. But not everybody's experiences are like that.

So I'm wondering if other people here have had different patterns in their lives for disclosing to friends (before diagnosis, after diagnosis, after rediagnosis if they had one, or if there were other things that changed how much you've disclosed).


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The only patterns I can see are:

1) when I'm manic (eg. when I was first diagnosed), I tell everybody.

2) when I'm depressed, I don't tell anyone what's wrong, even if it's apparent.

3) when I'm stable, I'm very protective of myself and selective about who gets to know and how much. I've told one person this year, I "came out" to her on MSN and it was in the context of "My psychiatrist is leaving the Campus Health Centre so I have to find a new one" and of course that led to questions about why I see a psychiatrist, etc. Telling her went okay. She's very supportive. Although a little uninformed - when I told her about my BP, she said, "Do you think I might have it, too?" hahah.

I also tend to reveal my illness to professors with whom I'm comfortable, usually in papers due at the end of the term (namely so I won't have to see them afterward. ;) ) This term I did a paper on women's health and it had a section on mental health and I had every opportunity to disclose my illness - and I chose not to. The connection with that particular professor just wasn't there. I don't know if I missed an important chance, but it just didn't feel right.

I don't know if that's what you had in mind, but that's my $0.02! :)

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