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"Coming Out" of the "Crazy" Closet


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Sorry...pressed the enter button too soon; I'm so green! My question is who do you tell about your diagnosis and meds. I am very private and only my wife and kids (pdoc, mdoc) know. Should I let my dentist or podiatrist know on their history forms that I take crazy meds and am Bipolar II? Why the hell do they need to know this? Workers and friends I refuse to tell even though they can sense my personality changes; I feel too awkward discussing this with them. The stigma, you know?  Has anyone "come out of the closet" to most everyone and found this to be favorable to just privately suffering?

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to CrazyBoards!

 

The issue of whether and how to disclose is pretty fraught.  I personally judge it on a case-by-case basis.  For example, my dentist might need to know that I'm on lithium because it affects my ability to take certain anti-inflammatory medication.  As far as disclosing at work goes, you'll find that people here have very strong opinions one way or another.  There have been numerous threads over the boards dealing with this very issue.  I have "come out" to my manager and senior manager because they need to understand why there are times when I've had to take off work to deal with medication changes.  Apart from the two of them, I keep it completely confidential, even though it would help the people who report to me if they understood some of my behaviour.

 

I think the bottom line is self preservation.  Ask yourself if there's a solid reason why someone needs to know about your condition, and make a judgement from there.

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I think that you should report to your various doctors what medications you're on, because you do need to think about drug interactions. But you don't necessarily need to disclose why you're taking them. Let 'em guess.

As for telling the people around you, that is purely a matter for your discretion, and don't let anyone tell you it isn't.

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I also tell all my DRs the meds I am on because of drug interactions I may not know of.  If the DRs ask why, I personally don't mind telling them why.  I find some judge and others do not.  I don't tell many people outside of my DRs what medications I am on.  I might say one or 2 of them in a random conversation (although very rare), but otherwise I don't tell anyone.

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Like others have already said, I will always disclose medications I'm on if it is relevant and my illness again, when relevant to other Healthcare providers.

When it comes to work, my direct supervisor is aware because there have been times when I've taken a couple days off for medication changes. As for the people that report to me, I supervise around 80 people and aside from about 10 of them, I don't spend a whole lot of one on one time with them so that makes it easier to try and hide any mood changes as I dont feel it necessary for them to know about my illness. When I'm hypo though it can be more difficult for me to not make it obvious.

As for friends and family, the family that I am lose to know but I don't talk a out it a great deal. I have a few friends that I talk to about it, a couple close friends, and another who also has bipolar. With everyone else I don't really tell but I don't go to huge efforts to hide it. I mean, I'm sure my Facebook friends see me comment on posts on bipolar pages all the time.

Also, welcome!! Good to have you here :)

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People have varying opinions about who to tell, some have had terrible experiences from disclosing, others have found things to be easier after telling select people.  You'll have to figure out for yourself what works best for you.

 

If a doctor (of any kind) asks what medications I'm on, I absolutely disclose -- they need to know about the meds but not the diagnosis.  As far as my personal life, I told my parents but not my siblings.  I told my girlfriend and three of my very close friends who I had been talking to about the difficulties I had leading up to diagnosis.  I told my manager at work because I needed to explain my many appointments and sick days, and to request the ability to occasionally work from home.

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I personally am very openly "out". I have openly said what I'm going through on Facebook, in order to support the U.K.'s time to change government campaign. they say we should be talking about mental health more openly to try and erase the stigma. I personally have found I only have positive responses, those that don't like what I say have, I assume, just kept quiet. I just found it to be easier to be open, then no one questions me, and I don't have to lie as to why I took a year out of uni etc. people haven't been as nosey as I expected either!

My tutor at college also knows, and my volunteering places all know, but I don't know who I would tell in the workplace. I had a very negative reaction when my old boss found out. But equally if you lie about your health in the UK that might mean employee laws don't cover you. So I would try and tell my next employer whenever I get one.

I would always be open with my doctors about what medication I am on, in case it interferes with any other medications. But if the dentist/podiatrist aren't prescribing you medication I don't see why they would need to know.

I think really it is a personal choice who you choose to tell, but I think the more we shush it up, the more the stigma stays.. My personal opinion anyways.

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About half my family know. The remainder tend to be a bit more judgemental than empathetic, so unless I have a serious melt down, I'll keep it quiet.

I have a few friends that know, and have been great about it. I told one friend who I was close to for years, she won't even look at me now, which really surprised me.

On a business level, my accountant knows, and one of my lawyers, but not my bank manager. My 2IC knows, but none my husband's staff. My livestock agent found out when I had a really bad day too, but we have dealt with each other for years.

In the past I have made some really big and risky decisions, which could have gone pear shaped, so there are enough people around us to provide a calm voice of reason; besides which I pay them, so they have to be nice. The bank have thought I'm crazy for years, so there is little to be gained by telling them :)

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I don't willingly tell anyone, but at this point in my life everyone who knows me already knows ... from either my mother or word of mouth or something.  In a way though it is a good thing because they don't probe with questions, etc. 

 

So I don't mind if people know, but if I meet someone for the first time I wait for it to come up in conversation.  And when it does, I will say it like it is.  And if they react negatively to it then fuck 'em.  They don't deserve my time and attention.  I won't go up to someone talking about it though and tell them.  And medications I don't usually give out.

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Thanks everyone for the input; just posting on this site is a big move for me. I was curious as to where others like me stood. I just think people will judge me from the label and not from the who I am, health care providers included. I know there can be contraindications between meds, but when my dentist or podiatrist or allergist gives me a med I always research myself if there are complications between the meds; never had one yet. Besides, I doubt my dentist knows squat about Bipolar II, SSRI's, Latuda, etc.  

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Thanks everyone for the input; just posting on this site is a big move for me. I was curious as to where others like me stood. I just think people will judge me from the label and not from the who I am, health care providers included. I know there can be contraindications between meds, but when my dentist or podiatrist or allergist gives me a med I always research myself if there are complications between the meds; never had one yet. Besides, I doubt my dentist knows squat about Bipolar II, SSRI's, Latuda, etc.  

 

^In bold ... you'd be surprised.  My dentist knew about all my medications when I gave her the list of them (see sig for meds).

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As far as providers go, more and more there is no choice; at least for me, all my providers are in the aegis of a single hospital with a common database of info they all can check at a moment's notice. I don't mind this though because they all need to know what meds I'm on.

 

But...when it comes to telling anyone else, I have an ironclad rule: DON'T. Even the ones you think are openminded and accepting will have a stigma somewhere in their subconscious, and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you do will be filtered through that. Even though those people don't *want* to do so, and struggle *not* to judge you, somewhere inside, they will. My immediate family and best friend are the only ones in my life who know--and only because I trust them never, ever to tell anyone.

Edited by wnek2
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