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What can I say to help people understand...


Guest Raquel

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Guest Raquel

My mom is my best friend, she loves and supports me no matter what. BUT she thinks that I am really just emotional, more than the average person, but she thinks I can get it under control without meds. I don't know how to explain how it feels inside me when it happens. Its like I am out of control and then the saddest possible sad there is in the world. I told her to imagine that she found out I was dead...that is how horribly sad i feel. and that the up part feels like my life is going a million miles and hour and i'm just trying to make it slow down but its not possible. Its heart pounding mind racing crazy feelings. How can I explain this feeling to her SO THAT SHE UNDERSTANDS!! That maybe its different than just emotional, maybe its too hard to handle sometimes. I don't know if there are words to help people understand.

Also, my boyfriend. Bless his little heart because he tries more than anybody ever had even tried to before. BUT i know its really hard for him. But even saying that i'm thinking- but i'm worth it so he should try harder and be perfect the way I want him to be. Its really hard to be in a relationship with me, unfortunately its extremely easy love me. When not manic or crying I really am a sweet, caring person.

I have been through some hard parts. I have lost many of my friends to manic episodes, drinking out of control, acting stupid, and then disappearing in times of depression.

I WANT TO KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN HOW I FEEL INSIDE.

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hi raquel,

i can sense your frustration from this post, and i understand it. ironically, i think you did a really good job describing what you feel. i'd suggest printing out this post and showing it to your mom, but you say you've already told her these things.

i think sometimes with family, a couple of things are in play. they might not want to admit to themselves that you have a mental illness, for several reasons: the stigma, not wanting to face the seriousness of a loved one being mentally ill, fear for you, fear for the family's reputation, even fear for themselves (lots of us have parents who have lived with the same problems, undiagnosed, for most or all of their lives). it can be easier, and less scary, to convince themselves that we're just "overly emotional" and need to learn some coping skills.

if your mom and boyfriend are willing to learn more, you might want to take them to a NAMI meeting. they often have good intro meetings for family members wanting to learn more about mental illness. you might also want to share some books or websites you've found helpful with them.

you might also remind them that you'll be your sweet, caring self more often when you're getting the proper treatment. ;) i can tell how badly you want them to understand what you're going through. but in the end, you're the one who has to decide what you're going through and how best to deal with it. please don't let people dissuade you from getting treatment if that's what you think you need.

don't know if this is too helpful, but fwiw - good luck -

bean

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Guest Raquel

Thanks, I mean my Mom really does try. With my family I am adopted so there is no link there with mental illness and my parents for sure have no concern about their "reputation" which would not be tainted by my mental state anyways. They are great genuine people with very close and loving friends. With my Dad it definitely is just a denial of even the possibility of a mental illness, but he's a sweet man and prefers just to stay out of it all together, no judgment or acknowledgment of it really. My mom has bought some books and really looked into it online and said you know what this really does sound like you (she is a doctor so she knows how to research well) and she gave my boyfriend a book on being in a relationship with someone bipolar which he read some of.

Despite that recognition she keeps telling me "i think you can handle this on your own" and "don't let the doctor con you into taking medicine you don't need" but right now i am kind of losing myself. She acknowledges and then dismisses the illness all at the same time. Similarly with my boyfriend. It's the mentality of "okay raquel, you're right....BUT maybe it isn't as bad as you think"---appeasement i guess.

I just wish I could explain to them that its not "all in my head". I feel like they think that I could stop being Bi-polar if I wanted to badly enough...Trust me, I want to badly enough, and it hasn't stopped yet.

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If you haven't already seen it, I recommend The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide by Miklowitz. It's outstanding and written for both patients and families.

I think your description is better than any I've read. THat is just how it feels to me. At some point you can't force someone to understand. Anymore than a blind person can force a sighted person to understand.

You might consider taking your boyfriend or mother to a session with your pdoc (with his prior permission). That way the could see what you do for a normal session and have the pdoc discuss your illness and treatment.

a.m.

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how long has it been since you were diagnosed and since you started showing symptoms? acceptance is a process and it does take time. some people just adjust more slowly. it may be that your mom and bf are still working their way through this.

granted, we are NOT talking years here though.

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Guest Raquel

how long has it been since you were diagnosed and since you started showing symptoms? acceptance is a process and it does take time. some people just adjust more slowly. it may be that your mom and bf are still working their way through this.

granted, we are NOT talking years here though.

I have been showing symptoms for a long time, since I was a kid. My private school required pdoc because of extreme adhd and other behavioral problems. He failed to see the depressive side and the mania can be slightly confusing in kids. I was formally diagnosed BPI about 3 1/2 years ago during a period of depression. Refused meds, went manic, and stopped going to the pdoc....went through a rough 2 or so years and then some calm before dropping out of a semester of college then depression and finally A few months ago I started to notice the mania coming back and I was smart enough to head to the pdoc before my life fell apart again....

So far I want it to be better, but it's not easy. It feels like a constant fight that makes me depressed because at times I feel like people just don't want me to be me. I cant help but wonder what is so bad about me that I need meds to be accepted in the "normal" world. Until the bad nights, then I know that it will all be worth stability if I can just keep trying to make it get better...

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I've found it's easier for women to understand than men. Ask your mother if there has ever been a time where she was so hormonal that she couldn't control her moods (This should be an easy one!). Biochemical imbalance = unfortunately natural and sometimes beyond control.

Granted feeling a bit hormonal isn't quite the same as having a mood disorder. But the analogy does seem to help.

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I am sure this isn't an original sentiment, but with bipolar, you're swinging high, you're low, you're both at once... just like regular people you have highs and lows. Your bipolar can hide in that range of normal people emotion, but no one but you knows how deeply and intensely those highs are lifting you and how you can become stripped of whatever it was that made you high in just a day. I think for me, it was the intensity of the highs and lows not the existence of them that helped me understand I am bipolar. Because I didn't have the giveaway signs in the manic phase.

Like you I felt my husband would not want me anymore if I was broken, and he really hates antidepression meds and in general dislikes the pharmaceutical business models. But he likes me better not being angry and crashing... not being able to work or take care of our home when not working due to mixed episodes and anxiety/restlessness.

Perhaps a gentle reminder of the quality of your life before and after meds to your mom will help her understand that the meds aren't a crutch to treat a bad episode. They in fact are on a daily basis providing benefits to keep you safe from harm (caused by you) so you can deal with the bad stuff better.

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