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BP and Discrimination


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Bipolar Disorder Patients Find Discrimination Globally

Among the findings were that:

-- 47% of the respondents feel that their disease has a highly negative impact on their quality of life.

-- All respondents said they had been subjected to social discrimination, but 35% said they have been highly discriminated against, because of their condition, often in everyday social relationships.

-- 71% believe the public does not understand their illness.

-- 79% said they believed successful treatment would lead to significant improvements in quality of life, including their ability to maintain a job, have relationships, living independently, and achieve goals.

Garrison noted that 25 to 30 years ago in many of these countries many of these patients would have been hospitalized, frequently involuntarily. Now he said, although these patients are largely living in the community, they have a long way to go to be fully welcomed into society, even though in many cases their medications have enabled them to be highly functioning citizens.

The survey was developed by AstraZeneca and the World Federation for Mental Health, and overseen by an independent panel of bipolar disorder physicians and advocacy group representatives. It was conducted by Research International, an independent marketing research firm.

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Who me paranoid? Ok, sometimes

Hehe....just trying to have some fun!

Statement wasn't meant as a derogatory remark. The stigma is still there. I don't know about you but I am a hard person to deal with on a day to day basis but I'm getting better. That being said yes, I have been 'shunned' by all the local musicians I used to play with but heh, they're all nutz too!

People always fear the unknown. And only MI people know what MI really is. Bad combination.

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Hehe....just trying to have some fun!

Statement wasn't meant as a derogatory remark.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I know and I took no offense. Just wnated to get people's thoughts and experiences.

Erika

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I gotta agree with the research as well. I recently lost a close friend because I'm a "psycho". Umm, OK. Not that such people are worth being friends with, but it still hurt like hell.

And "the public understanding my illness"? Hell no! If I tell an average person I take meds they look at me like I'm crazy. Ok maybe I am a bit crazy, sometimes but that doesn't mean I'm a stereotype psychopath. People have such a low understanding of mental illnesses, not only bipolar. Like most people still think schizophrenia is having multiple personalities. And I know lots of people who doesn't even know there is different diagnoses, they just figures either you are a psycho or not.

Garhh it's making me so angry just writing this.

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In the survey, I would be interested to know what percentage were openly bipolar. Did the discrimination result from people knowing or was it from the manic/spazzy behavior of bipolars? If the latter, I definitely have suffered, losing and/or getting rid of friends, jobs. Ironically, now that I carry the label, I'm med-stabilized and am a better "citizen." Discrimination? I hate it. I hate sneaking around, fearing exposure and the stigmatization that would follow, the cruel jokes, the easy target of blame. bastards!

7

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i definately see the discrimination... its everywhere for people with bipolar, even on popular t-shirts...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What shirts? Curious...

And yeah, I've lost friends over it, back in the day before I was DXd but still nuts. Not that they would say anything to my face, but I found out that they'd been talking behind my back about how crazy I was and I made the choice to fuck 'em rather than to, say, try to engage them in an open dialogue about mental illness. I don't regret it. Besides, both of my friends were AT LEAST as screwed up as me...one was obsessively following INSYNC and living at home with her parents when she was 25...I was (still am) married and owned my own home. Crazy my ass. Sorry to rant, you know how it is.

As for family, they're funny! Everyone treats me like The Goddess of Insanity. If I don't know the answer to their questions about mental illness, no one does. They refer people to ME before they talk to their own doctors about the possibility of having MI (I have a ton of undiagnosed but very, very sick relatives). It's amusing around here since I came out of the crazy closet to my fam. As far as DH's fam, I think it was one of those "Aaaaah...that explains it" as far as my MIL was concerned. She still likes me, tho  ;) . No one other than fam knows. I can't even beging to imagine how horrible that would be. Seriously. I wish I could totally come clean to everyone about my illness, but hell, no. Discrimination is real, and people are bastards.

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How about this for discrimination. I had a nervous breakdown at work. I always wondered what a nervous breakdown was until I had one and don'tknow what else to call it. Anyway, my boss told me I could take the rest of the school year off paid(he later rescinded that request- another story) He told me when I WAS Droopping off report cards that he was not asking me back for next year as I had too many "issues".

Whaen I was laying around suicidal, I got an e-mail from another teacher I worked with saying I should consider doing something else because I couldn't handle teaching. She left that school and got a job at school A, which had several openings that I applied for and was very qualified for. I took my resume to that prinipal and have totally gotten blown off and I think the teacher I used to work with bad-mouthed me. Is that paranoid? I really don't think so.

The only people who know I am bp is my tdoc, my pdoc , and my older sister. I am scared to even tell anyone else in my family because they are worried enough about me and I also don't think they could deal.

I have always had trouble making friends. I have always felt like a freak. I guess I sort of am. The only place I have ever truly fit in and had people really respect me is when I was in art school.

Discrimination?

I think so.

Melissa-the "poster childd" for BP

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Well I add my 2 cents in everywhere else so why not here.  I seem to be the oddball when it comes to keeping my craziness secret.  I don't.  I would probably be better off if I kept it a secret but am unable to.  Over 30 years ago when I had my first real "nervous breakdown" I explained what had happened and how I felt about it.  Mostly friends and acquaintences were okay with that.  Over the years the more I learned about mental illness, the more I tried to explain it to non-mi people.  Sometimes I would get burned and back off, trying to keep my trap shut, but that never worked for long.  In jobs it was something I did not share. Until I started working for my brother of course.  I felt that it was used against me in some respects and in other ways I felt like they just did not try to understand and be supportive.  About 5 years after I quit working for him I got the bipolar dx, instead of just depression.  When I told my brother, his response was "I could have told you that". (Well why the fuck didn't you asshole? I thought to myself).  That made me even angrier because if like he said it was no surprise to him, why couldn't he have been more supportive.  I find the hardest part of being mentally interesting is that no one in my family seems to understand and act as though I am not trying hard enough.  I wish it didn't bother me so much.  Okay that's my rant for now. I don't even know if this is relevant to this thread now, but I've typed it so I'll post it.  Sueysidel Sulu

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I fall into the same category as Sulu...I am very loud and proud that I am MI, and it has bitten me in the ass more than a few times.

Personally, I realize that I am going to be discriminated against, and I accept this.  Sometimes I will make life difficult for those that are ignorant, but mostly I save that up for those that act with intent.

Work is where I have gone through the most trouble...I am a government flunkie working in communications. My job is...er was to write speeches, news releases and all that flowery PR shit you hear about every day.  Well, when I had a manic incident with a touch of psychosis the people around me went apeshit.  I became persona non grata amongst them and my bosses became concerned that I was no longer able to carry out my duties...

Pphhhht!  I am still perfectly capable of writing and I am still perfectly cabable of doing my job, but the asshats in power are scared of "the crazy guy" and want to keep me away. 

The funniest part is that my department has an extremely high proportion of clients who are MI and they claim to be on the "leading edge" of education and social programs for MI affected persons in Canada.  What a joke!

I have turned my job into a bit of a crusade these days...I push people and make them come face to face with their fears of MI, and I will not back down until they acknowledge that I can still do my job better than most of the non-MI clowns I worked with.

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I gotta agree with the research as well. I recently lost a close friend because I'm a "psycho". Umm, OK. Not that such people are worth being friends with, but it still hurt like hell.

And "the public understanding my illness"? Hell no! If I tell an average person I take meds they look at me like I'm crazy. Ok maybe I am a bit crazy, sometimes but that doesn't mean I'm a stereotype psychopath. People have such a low understanding of mental illnesses, not only bipolar. Like most people still think schizophrenia is having multiple personalities. And I know lots of people who doesn't even know there is different diagnoses, they just figures either you are a psycho or not.

Garhh it's making me so angry just writing this.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The other day at work, some coworkers were talking about being on ADD meds.

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I'm pretty out of the closet about my illness.  Not at work, although I highly doubt my boss would care.  But everywhere else in my life, people know.  My teacher this semester knows.  My family all knows.  My friends know.

I've never lost a friend because of MI, but my father told me it was his fault I'm crazy.  Gee, thanks, Dad.  ;)

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I would agree with the study, but like some others, I am pretty open about being bipolar. On my website, it's stated plain as day, and everyone in my life knows I am as well.  My main boss doesn't, but my supervisor/coworker does and she is the most understanding person, supportive when I started my meds up and had to take some "mental health days".  But, I know this office is rare in that it's small and has a good family feel to it.

I have very few friends and I'm okay with that. The few I have have stuck with me through the crap since middle school.  The one new friend since then has her own issues and we just support each other and it's great.  When I meet new people, if I don't tell them right away, they know relatively soon that I'm bipolar.  Screw em.  I've plenty of other things to worry about. 

Now, normally I wouldn't tell a coworker, but it slipped up and I had a feeling it wouldn't be an issue and it hasn't been.

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Discrimination against the mentally interesting is certainly not unique to those with BP. I too am always appalled when schizoprenia is mentioned people associate it with multiple personalities. Misunderstanding and misinformation about Dxs abound.

Erika

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I've totally seen this in my life. It's like there are levels of MI that are ok and other levels that are scary and not ok or something.

When I started getting help, I was mis-dx'd (my fault) and was given Prozac only. My coworkers and friends all knew and it was no big deal. Half of them had been on it at one point or another. It just wasn't abnormal to them. I was part of the club, it seemed.

Then my pdoc added Wellbutrin. This was before there were ads on TV for it, so it was unknown and nobody had been on it so I was kinda scary to people. I was obviously more fucked up than they were and therefore something was wrong with me.

Now, over the course of 5 years, all these people who I used to work with have seen me through a very bad mania and a few very bad depressions. They don't know my current (and correct) dx (BP 1 w/ psychotic features and anxiety). They treat me weird enough just knowing that I go to the pdoc every week. There's no way I'm going to tell them all I'm on 4 drugs every day with another one as needed. I'm thinking names like Seroquel and Zonegran would just scare them shitless and I'd never hear from any of them again.

My husband has been really, incredibly good about things, but my best friend has had a hard time with me being bipolar. She was ok with me being "depressed." It's like that's normal and socially acceptable, but bipolar is scary.

Hell... the way some people act, you'd think it was contagious...

jen

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I wouldn't exactly say that I am completely open about it, but some people do know.  Most of the friends I have now who know were a little scared at first (and prob still are), but they haven't left me like so many others have in the past... I was pretty much alone before I met my closest current friends... I didnt tell them anything for about a year, but they had taken note of some things and know that there was *something* I was keeping secret.... lots of things actually.

My freshman year roomates  would sometimes talk about how MIs are fake and shit like that.... people would mention things like that and it sorta hits you smake across the face, ya know?

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For years I was in the MI closet - I mean NO ONE knew.  Then I met one of my dearest and closest friends who is living another kind of life out of the closet - he's gay.

Through his example I was finally able to have the courage to tell certain folks that I am an MI person.  Just like him, I've also had to be careful about to whom I come out of the closet.  But basically, its the people who stick by you who matter, not those that don't.

I have it better than most of you folks, I guess.  My boss understands that I am an MI person, and she doesn't hold it against me to much on the occasions that I am late to work.  Like when I was put on Seroquel, I overslept until 9:00am.  I'm supposed to start at 8:30! ;)

As I become more comfortable with people knowing about my MI, I've come to have the attitude of "OK, I'm a BP I, if you don't like it, it's you problem, not mine."

Not the greatest perhaps, but it gets me through life right now.  Tomorrow, who knows?

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My immediate family all knows, and they're all relatively okay with it. My Dad's been on generic fluoxetine for years, so I'm hardly the only person in the family with a mental illness. My non-MI family members have been very understanding and non-judgmental, and my mother has been flipping through books on bipolar ever since.

Friends have been okay so far. One of my best friends just pretends it doesn't exist, possibly because a physically abusive ex of hers was bipolar. Another is bipolar herself (though in denial) and acts like the label and medications don't exist while all the while commiserating with the ups and downs and dreadful moments of realizing that "Fuuuuuuuck. I've destroyed my life." The third has other bipolar friends, and just took it in stride. Among less-close friends, some are totally clueless about it but try to understand, another is MI herself (more rotating diagnoses than she knows what to do with), and most just seem to shrug it off. "Bipolar? Okay. Dunno what it is, but that's fine, as long as you don't squeak or bark or make other animal noises."

Work is another story. My manager has asked me several times about which illnesses I have and which medications I'm taking, since I've frequently had to ask for days off to see doctors of varying specialties, including my dentist. At times, I've considered telling him. Then he says something tremendously ignorant about mental illness, and I instead give him a one-minute lecture on why his last statement was harmful and inaccurate. So far, he's made derogatory comments about depression, psychosis, self injury, and schizophrenia. Since I'm bipolar, half my family is depressed, many of my friends struggle with self-injury daily or hourly, and my friend from my college drawing class was schizophrenic, I just can't let these things go lightly.

I really wish I didn't work for a dumb-ass.

I'm also wondering if I was right to avoid the question of just why I was registered with the Office for Students with Disabilities during my interview for the college of my choice this past week. Right or wrong, the interview is now past, and now I simply wait.

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This is an interesting topic. As for me I have  always been thought of as "unique" by friends. Called crazy by lots in a goodnatured way, but with undelying meaning.  If you know what i mean.

That said, in my opinion the "normal" people out there don't have it so damn good either. They all have - and I mean all- have secrets about there personality, family, secret thoughts, there wives or husbands that beat them up, there closet alcohol or substance abuse, there disfunctional families - I believe all families are disfunctional in one way or another. They just hide it better than us. Or maybe we are better than them because they don't accept that there is a problem.

I know, I am the king of (a river in Egypt) de nile.

Just some thoughts.

Take care of you.

CAH

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Non MI people fear what they don't understand. Also are too fucking lazy to actually educate themselves about MI. It's easier to watch TV, which does such an accurate job of portraying MI characters (fucking NOT!)

I'm in the closet as far as my day job goes. There's so much gossiping, nosiness, talking behind someone's back and two faced bullshit. I don't need that on top of everything else.

As a singer/musician, it's almost acceptable to tell people. It's like they expect it.

I have lost a lot of "friends"and jobs, not even coming out of the closet.

I have a friend who is a interior designer and she's very open about being BP. She's thinking about working an office job and I warned her about being open in an office.

I envy those of you who don't have to hide and have such great support. More power to ya.

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