Jump to content

When to tell people/what to tell

Recommended Posts

My daughter has a best friend and I see her Mom all the time. I don't really know what to talk about with her. Since I was diagnosed in 2003 my life has revolved around getting better.

Some of the things on my mind are: I got approved for SSDI, I'm applying to be a peer mentor for NAMI (it's a voluntary position for their peer-to-peer program), my 8 yo was diagnosed bp, I gained a lot of weight since I started zyprexa and people are asking me if I'm pregnant, but I don't feel comfortable talking about these things.

She knows my daughter is in therapy, but she doesn't really know why. She's seen my daughter throw tantrums and have crying spells and she know it has to do with that. Actually my daughter has stopped therapy because she's doing well, but I haven't told her that yet. She started therapy for anxiety and depression, but after her tdoc saw one of her outbursts and knowing my history of bp he said we might be seeing early signs of bp and suggested bringing her to a pdoc.

My daughter takes lamictal and she talks about taking medicine so I'm not sure if her friend's Mom knows that. My daughter doesn't know the word bipolar, I tell her she takes medicine for all the sadness she has inside. That's what her therapist would talk about so I used his words.

The Mom been open to me that she had depression and was taking an anti-depressant and that her son takes medication for ADHD.

I feel like I have to watch what I say and I don't know what to talk about. My 5 yo goes to pre-school for 3 hours and then we just hang-out the rest of the day until my daughter comes home from school.

I mainly just talk about the kids and she talks a lot.

She is one of the few people I interact with so much. I go to a support group and I have a friend with bp so I do have people I can discuss these things with. I'm wondering if I should tell her and what to tell. My diagnosis was bp and it's been changed to sza. My family knows I have a MI, but only few know it's changed. If I tell her anything do I say bipolar? I don't think she would understand schizoaffective. I don't want to scare her.

I told my tdoc I'm ashamed of my illness. I feel like I have to keep it a secret. I'm not sure what I think would happen if I told people.

How do you know if it's okay to tell. What do you say?

I'm not sure what I'm afraid will happen. Maybe she'll treat me differently or not let her daughter come over here to play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Correct me if I'm wrong but didnt' you post in another topic that you were worried about going to a dinner party and not having anything to talk about because you are so immersed in your mental illness?

If so here is my thought and this could be psychobabble---

It sounds to me like the real issue in both of these posts is that you are questioning whether you have anything in your life besides your mental illness-- anything to connect you with the non mentally ill members of society.

When I was first diagnosed I also went through a point where everything in my life revolved around my message boards, support groups, therapy, medications, hospitalizations, etc and I suddenly couldnt' connect with people, didnt' know how much to tell people, etc.

The thing is that as I developed interests aside from my illness these issues began to be less and less prominant. I didnt' have to worry anymore about what to talk about with people because suddenly I have my school, my mary kay business, my hobbies, my volunteer work, books I've read, movies I've watched, etc to talk to people about. And trust me the vast majority of the population is more interested in those things than in the schedule on the psych unit.

In terms of what to tell people I have found that as I have developed a life aside from my illness this issue has become less prominent too. This actually surprised me. I thought that making more friends and meeting more people would lead to having to tell more people about my illness. But actully I am so wrapped up in my school/work/hobbies/life now that people fail to notice that I am "different" or they write off my "differentness" as quirkiness or just as my being a busy person. Most of the time they dont' ASK and I don't TELL. Sure, there are a few close friends that I have confided in and there are a few professors that I have felt it was relevent to tell. But how much I tell and to whom is completely up to me.

Ok thats enough psychobabble for now.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Shana. Yes, that was me. That was helpful and didn't sound like psychobabble.

I don't have friends and I'm not good at socializing. I have one friend from my support group. I guess this woman is a friend, but we're not close.

I hope when I have more interests I'll have more to talk about. There really isn't any reason she needs to know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

some mental illnesses are more stigmatized than others. bipolar is often one of them, and anything with the prefix "schizo" almost always is. i can definitely relate to your caution. she may be open to it, since she has some experience dealing with depression and add, but she might not, since some people (including my former self) set up a convenient wall between "mainstream" ailments and "those crazy people." if your daughter values this friendship, i would advise you to be very hesitant about divulging the actual labels placed on her (and your) more unusual behaviors. tell the mother whatever she most needs to know for your daughter to be safe in her home. be careful with the rest until you are certain you are comfortable with disclosure.

sophia85 has some excellent advice on building up an identity apart from your illness. are you able to read? books you've enjoyed can be conversation fodder. do you like to play in the dirt? even if you just have a row of flowerpots on a shelf or a windowbox outside, you can experiment with gardening. there are many other solitary pursuits which don't cost a lot of money that you could perhaps work on in little pockets of time, things that might give you some sense of accomplishment, large or small, and also give you something to talk about. if you're comfortable with sharing more details of your situation - type of location, budget, time constraints, and personal quirks and interests - maybe some of us can make some practicable suggestions for you.

there is always more to us than our illnesses. sometimes it's just hard to put that into words.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

some people (including my former self) set up a convenient wall between "mainstream" ailments and "those crazy people."

This is pretty common. All our friends know my husband is BP. He never was one to keep secrets about ANYTHING. So anyway...everyone knows my hubby is a nut. Come to find out MOST OF OUR FRIENDS ARE ON MEDS TOO. But somehow if you are "only" taking Zoloft or Wellbutrin, it doesn't really count as crazy ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. if you're comfortable with sharing more details of your situation - type of location, budget, time constraints, and personal quirks and interests - maybe some of us can make some practicable suggestions for you.

there is always more to us than our illnesses. sometimes it's just hard to put that into words.

Thanks Sepia. I guess I just feel like there isn't more to me.

I live in Southern California. We make less then we spend, but I just got approved for SSDI so I'm hoping we'll stop having to dip into our savings. My son goes to pre-school for 3 hours/day. Sometimes I deliver flyers for a realtor when he's at school.

I'm not sure what my interests are. I seem to be drawn to what people around me are doing and I don't know what I like.

I used to work as a clinical laboratory scientist in hospital and reference labs. I worked at one company where we would grow tumor cells in culture and expose them to different chemo drugs to test if they were resistant to that type of chemo. The dr would have to order the test before surgery so they could send the tumor. It's called extreme drug resistance.

My BIL recently died of colon cancer. He didn't have the test done (not many dr's order it), but I don't think it would have helped. They tried a number of different types/combinations of chemo, but his tumor kept spreading. He was diagnosed in May and he died in January. He was only 38. My husband is doing fine, but it's really hard on my MIL.

I spent 2005 delusional. I was hospitalized in Feb 2005 and they added seroquel. It made things less intense, but I still had strange thoughts. I think my parents split me into different personalities (I don't have DID) and programmed me for entertainment. I've cut off contact with them for 2 years. I'm wondering if my thoughts are wrong and that they are harmless. I'm thinking maybe I should start calling them.

It has been less stressful not dealing with them. My Dad is sarcastic and my Mom lays guilt trips. Last year I started getting insight that these thoughts are strange, but now I'm not sure what to believe.

I feel like I have other people inside of me. They don't take over, but they affect what I say and how I behave. Sometimes they jump in and save me when I say something stupid.

My children were sending me messages so I thought they were programmed, too.

I was getting messages in the media. People were watching and filming me. They would break into my house and move things around to give me clues.

I thought this woman was hanging around with me because it was advertsing (she sells Mary Kay cosmetics). I thought there was product placement in the films.

It's hard for me to see that there is more to me than my illness when I have to keep challenging my thoughts.

I like to spend time on the computer (too much time). I sometimes read books when I can concentrate, but I haven't read anything recently.

My house is a disaster, but it's hard for me to get motivated to clean it. My husband has been walking the dog in the evening because I just haven't been walking her while my son is at school.

I want to train our dog. She jumps up and doesn't listen. I'd like her to be able to stay inside. Right now I can only bring her in on a leash because she goes through the trash and she'll eat things like crayons. She stays outside. I've seen dog training classes, but I haven't signed her up.

ETA: I took a water fitness class at the gym. I stopped going because I was having trouble getting there on time and they are working on the pool so I have to go to another pool nearby.

I should get back into that. Everyone was nice there.

I've gained a lot of weight since I started zyprexa and my friend said I need to find a sport I like. I think the water fitness might work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...