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Do people really understand when we tell them ?


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I saw a best friend of mine that I lost 3 years ago, due to my behavior at the time, in fact, repeated behavior is more precise.

I saw him today, went out for lunch... I wanted to explain to him that I've changed, how things were before and how they were today, that I've been diagnosed as Bipolar and, not blaming my disorder, but explaining why I ended up doing this and that. Explaining that the diagnosis (done after 2 years of turning around it) made in the last few weeks came as a great relief to me, to finally know "why", telling him I wanted to mend old broken bridges ...

He looked at me with a puzzled expression followed by a blank one, not knowing what to say about it or how to react. Frankly, I ended up talking about my disorder for 5 minutes and after a while realized that around 4 minutes and 30 seconds ago he had stopped listening to me. He then just ignored the whole explanation and went on to other subjects. We talked about lots of other stuff, even saying that he was glad to have seen me again and that we will meet again, etc.

He didn't understand a thing....

Apart from close family members and friends, do anyone really understands or even care ?

On my part, I'm slowly realizing that it does not seem to be case.

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My stepmother and biological father are the only ones who get it. My mother, brothers, boyfriend, boyfriend's family....they all think I'm either making it up, or being dramatic.

Even my friends tell me I don't need medication. So no. People don't get it. Luckily it isn't their job to, though it does make life harder when they don't even make an attempt.

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No, most people do not understand at all. I am not surprised that your explainations fell on deaf ears. My husband get it - but he lives with me and has mood problems of his own.

My mother is supportive but she does NOT get it. My sister is an MSW so she has exposure to MI and she understands a little bit. Basically I think most bipolar people are pretty much alone with this disorder. That is why CB, or in-person support groups are so beneficial, yes vital. It was a tremendous relief to visit some in-person support groups for bipolar.

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No, most people do not understand at all. I am not surprised that your explainations fell on deaf ears. My husband get it - but he lives with me and has mood problems of his own.

My mother is supportive but she does NOT get it. My sister is an MSW so she has exposure to MI and she understands a little bit. Basically I think most bipolar people are pretty much alone with this disorder. That is why CB, or in-person support groups are so beneficial, yes vital. It was a tremendous relief to visit some in-person support groups for bipolar.

I work at night so I'm not sure about the support groups but that would help so much. I'll have to see what my options are in my area. Most of the therapists in my area do not accept insurance and I can't afford to pay out of pocket even if it is temporarily.

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My husband is very supportive and understands the best he can. My daughter, 18 years old, has anxiety disorder and panic attacks, and occasional depression, so she understands a lot more than anyone else in my life. When I go through a psychotic episode, the fallout takes a long time to dissipate. I cut off friends and family, except for my Dad, who is physically disabled, and one of my brothers. I have other family and friends who don't understand, so I just don't talk to them, because it is SO hard to explain to someone who is mentally healthy and pissed off at my behavior in the first place. In the end, all you can do is try to educate them (If they are willing), and explain as best you can what you go through and why you behave the way you do. They either stand by you or they don't. I hope they do.

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i have been very fortunate with people understanding my mental disorder. even though when i have been at my worst i lost many friends who i've never later recovered, they didn't go with arguments or bad feelings, they just told me "listen, it's not possible for us to be your friend. we have no hard feelings but we just can't be friends anymore" and i totally understood and i still talk to them sometimes, they've just turned into acquaintances. a couple of them stayed with me even with all the shit from me they had to deal with. those people are the most precious to me and make me feel like life is worth living and i am not a total horrible monster. i've had a girlfriend for a couple of years who just dealt with it all and she brought lots of happiness to me. we had to break up, a couple of times, because of my illness but we inevitably stayed friends. even though we're not together anymore, she is still my best friend and she stuck with me through it all.

at work it has been good as well. i have never acted out but i've taken a lot of sick leaves but because i am in academic psychology, all of my supervisors and coworkers have been very understanding.

my family has always been with me and supported me as best they could.

so yeah... i've been pretty lucky, all things considered. i am alone now, very few friends, no gf, but it could have been much, much, much worse.smile.gif

Edit: what's funny is what i've noticed is people tend to understand "bipolar" more than other, more "obscure" disorders. i have never tried to explain to anyone that i am possibly borderline, they just don't know what that word means, as opposed with bipolar, when they have a sort of a vague notion of "ups and downs"

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Guest Vapourware

I also find that people don't understand, I think it's hard to understand mood disorders until you've actually been there yourself. Describing depression, for instance, to someone who hasn't had an episode of depression is like trying to describe an ocean to someone who's only ever seen a pond before - it's really hard for them to comprehend the enormity of the issue.

I've had people tell me that they couldn't believe there was anything wrong with me, which I guess is a compliment, and I've had people tell me that I can overcome my condition through willpower and exercise alone. I've been told by people that I don't need medication, and I've been told that there's nothing "serious" about my disorder because "everyone gets what you get". So generally I've stopped trying to explain to people because it's like trying to talk to a brick wall.

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I View post-event apologies as the kiss of death. They already don't want to be around you, so why is telling the person you are batshit crazy gonna make them change their mind?

The old "12 step" plan where you atone for your wrongs doesn't apply to bipolar. It's good that you learned now rather than later.

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Guest Manontherun111

2 of my 3 friends are Bipolar II so it is fairly easy for them to understand, but i get the feeling that they envy my manic phases, In that sense no they dont understand.

Trying to describe mania to some one who has only known depression and med induced hypo fells kinda condencending and they tend to feel like im trying to play down there levle of illness. well my social skills are not the greatest. but i assure them that its much worse when feeling like crawling out of your skin for 12 hours of a day or what ever they describe to me that i experence in a more profound form.

Phycosis they will never grasp. I dont even attempt to tell any one about that. too ashamed and too hard to describe any way.

And my 3rd friend is very supportive, he pretends to listen and just agrees with what i say, makes a good way to dump emotions and what not.

My parents are right against me being on meds and think i can get along with out them, sure i have gone off them a few times with out problems for a few days, but then when reality comes crashing in or my setting changes, poo poo hits the fan and I sure wish i had not listened to them when they say try a few days with out the sugar pills...

yea they dont get it.

I feel like my Pdoc dosnt understand some times too...

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