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Topic: Recent bipolar diagnosis and the struggle with social stigma.

2 posts, 0 answered
  1. Yelmel
    Yelmel avatar
    3 posts
    9 August 2019
    I'm 23 and have been coping with a bipolar II diagnosis for 9 months.
    At first, I thought bipolar was only my past extremes of blurry party binges, cheating strings, snap lifechanging decisions and periods of depression, complete social withdrawing and suicide attempts.

    Recently, I have noticed how much I hide behind a fascade throughout my more subtle, regular cycles, trying to channel it into work and unreasonable lifestyle goals. When I'm hypomanic, I work multiple jobs on top of uni. I set unreasonable career goals and hide behind a fascade of being hardworking, high achieving all the while dealing with racing thoughts, uncontrollable spending, erratic behavior and an increasingly busy schedule.
    Trying to hide my internal struggle eventually leads me to a place of anger, anxiety, frustration, uncontrollable crying, overconfidence and egocentrism. It's logical that denying my internal struggle, hiding my symptoms from the world makes me explode and spiral into depression.
    When I'm depressed, all my hard work is suddenly left unfinished, I disappear from social media, avoid family and friends, cancel on work, stop cooking and eating, lose all motivation and interest in doing anything. Soon enough, the depression disappears and a new lifechanging goal or snap decision comes along and sweeps me up. Nobody knows I was depressed for weeks because I have pushed everyone away, broken friendships and hidden away before making my grand, confident entrance into my work and a new social life.

    I am going to therapy which has been helpful in tracking my moods, recognising the signs and understanding strategies to counteract the cycles, but in reality it's hard when I don't want to explain to people why I'm taking a step back when I look like I'm doing well, or am heading home early from a party when I don't look tired or sick. Im afraid of the social stigma associated with the disorder so continue to make excuses that don't add up when people ask why.
    Despite my therapist reassuring me this is a common disorder, I can't help but feel isolated.

    How has everyone learnt to deal with their illness head on, breaking the established habits which hide the illness, but perpetuate their cycles?

    How have you learnt to apply your therapists advice, and not care about the social stigma associated with taking care of yourself?

    Does anyone else feel isolated by their illness itself and by practising self care strategies?
  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    470 posts
    9 August 2019 in reply to Yelmel

    Hi, welcome,

    I'm bipolar2, you've described the symptoms perfectly. The illness can be brought about in various ways but living with it, accepting it and explaining yourself all the while appearing normal, is your challenge. I hope I can help.

    Firstly, we have an ongoing thread here called "my bipolar life" that you can chat to other sufferers. Put it in the search bar. The thread exists because of the isolation of which you mention.

    Nobody will understand you that doesnt have the disorder nor the empathy level to do so. If they at least try then they are special people.

    Google

    Beyondblue topic they just wont understand- why?

    The extreme option is hermitising. I've mentioned in the next thread this less appealing option

    Beyondblue topic want to be a hermit?

    Overtime you'll get more and more annoyed with peoples lack of tolerance. Better to take the view that you have a right to not have to explain or give excuses. Seek employment non customer service, non food, non assembly line, non law enforcement and non shift work. Best is 2 or 3 part time jobs working alone-the ideal. That gives you a regular change of environment and less hours with the same people.

    Beyondblue topic fortress of survival

    Beyondblue topic fortress of survival part 2

    Beyondblue topic fortress of survival (work)

    My cycles slowed and my swing extent lowered when mood stabilisers were prescribed. With a small amount of AD I eventually found the dosages just right. In my ex you'll try to get it perfect in vain, so get it as stable as you can.

    I have triggers that are annoying like a stretched rubber band. Pow! My wife nor I see its coming.

    beyondblue topic triggers that down you, triggers that life you

    Beyondblue topic triggers recovery

    Re: "Soon enough, the depression disappears and a new lifechanging goal or snap decision comes along and sweeps me up" I have found that mood stabilisers slow that down as does aging. But Ive also learned to embrace my spontaneity. Google: famous people with depression /bipolar/mental illness and you'll be surprised.

    Sleep. Get into a pattern. Very important. I have sleep apnea and a cpap machine ensures enough oxygen for good sleep.

    Toxic people. Mentioned in the fortress thread. Remove them from your life. A pet helps and distractions when depressed even jigsaws, crossworfs, suduku.

    Self esteem takes a battering.

    Beyondblue topic low self esteem

    Beyondblue topic worry worry worry

    Well done in joining us. Post anytime here or in those threads.

    TonyWK