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I'm Bipolar, Not A Killer.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about 7 years ago.  My meds have changed several times and the stuff I’m taking right now seems to be doing its job with minimal side effects.  My only problem is my family, they…treat me differently now, like they really don’t know what to say to me and they hardly want to be around me.  I’m still the same person.  I have explained to them over and over that I will still have episodes and the pills are not a “Magic Cure” for bipolar disorder, they just lessen the frequency and severity of my episodes.
        Now I still get angry, sad or just have a “blah” day, but that’s normal I’m still a human being.  My family seems to think that it’s always because of the bipolar disorder and will frequently ask, “Are you taking your meds like you’re supposed to?” or “Do you need to see your doctor?”  So, I guess I’m not allowed to express any kind of negative emotion without them wanting me locked in a mental institution.  I told them that people with bipolar disorder lead normal lives.  I've put myself through college and I'm currently earning my Masters degree in Health care Administration, all while battling Bipolar Disorder, so I'm living proof that I can have a normal life.
ImNotGood ImNotGood 31-35, F 149 Responses Jun 6, 2010

Your Response


Reading through these posts you could almost piece together my life story. I know it has been said over and over but I too have suffered from people seeing the bipolar and looking right through me. I do not share the fact that I am bipolar with anyone except close family. I don't ask friends or co-workers about their health conditions and I like it that way. I will also say - stay on meds! Through a lot of hard work and some great meds I have been stable now for almost three years. There have been times when I have needed to be hospitalized and mostly times where I just needed to be left alone. I trust only a few people with helping me make that decision. Uneducated people just overreact and make the situation worse.<br />
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My heart goes out to you. I haven't told my brothers and sisters because I fear exactly what you describe. Once it is out there is no way to put it back in, ya know? Stay strong.

that is really awesome. I am doing a masters in health care admin also. Do you go to NAU? They have an online program. I am quite a bit older than you of course.<br />
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Congrats on getting your masters.

No, I'm only about 5 years younger! Not working on masters at the moment but I should!

I attend a college in VA and I'm completing my yearlong internship now. I should be finished in May!!! Yay!!!

You are a person. You are you! Aside from a diagnosed medical condition, you have just as much right to be accepted into society/family as anyone else. You are special but not because of the issues you have, but because of the talents you possess and the big heart God gave you!<br />
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There is a fine line in between "bi-polar, narcissism and manic/clinical depression". One doctor may diagnose you with one condition, and another doctor with another. It is only "you" who has the most control and be the deciding means concerning everyday encounters. Basically, do not worry about every little thing people think about you or say about you :)

Thank you very much for this.

thats sad sorry to hear that

S'ok, I've learned to let haters hate.

Dont worry about ur family so much stay focus on the things ur doing. Keep educating them and they will start to come around youll see. Your a great person and you should talk to more people around you about it and you will see that many people have it and may not even know it you maybe able to help someone else

Im so sorry 4 how they r hurt n u. I know exactly how u feel. I have p.t.s.d.(post traumatic stress disorder. bi polar & ptsd have some similar symptoms. I notice once I tell ppl I take anti depressants they treat me differently & lose respect for me & they become afraid of me & they dont want to be around me anymore. I've decided not to tell ppl anymore that im on antidepressants. Its no 1's business. I keep it to myself

True, it's no one's business but yours.

Having been diagnosed with having a ' manic episode' several months back I would like to say that I understand the rejection and deiscrimination that you are currently feeling. My family treid to remove my Child from me and his father and have disregarded everything I have said and done. I am a Biomedical science Student hoping to start my masters next year.<br />
Sometimes those closest to us hurt us and that has been the case with my family I have had false accusations reports written to social workers etc ! DONT let this ' diagnosis' distroy your life, if the meds work keep on them also start and excercise programme - this has helped me when I am manic I may go run a couple of miles. Also take time to relax and listen to calming music - you have your life to live many sucessfull people have a mental health condition - reject those who are trying to hold you back.

thank you for your thoughtful comment,

I get that question all the time "do you think your meds are working?" "did you forget to take your meds today?" and yes, it drives me crazy, but i usually just say something like "yes, are yours?" hah. i make jokes out of it to avoid the embarrassment of feeling so... diferent? but if i were you, i would go find a brochure on what bipolar is. they have them for families of people with the disorder. put it on there kitchen counter, tell them to read before they assume. it helped my family understand that i will not just be mellow all the time from these meds. no human is that way!

I actually took my mom, sister and grandmother to a doctor's appointment and let them ask a bunch of questions about bipolar disorder.

Good point! I take Prozac and it is not supposed to have an initial effect! It resides in your system to be combative against ill feelings and depression and only works when it needs to!

OMG! im on anti-depressants and my husband asks me from time to time if im taking my pills. just because i have sad or angry feelings doesn't mean im not taking my pills, its normal for a human being to feel that way and i get pissed when he asks me. i can't help but feel offended and huff that i'm still using them.

If they ask in a way that is caring and loving then fine, but asking someone so that their feelings are hurt....well that's unacceptable.

Congratulations! For your hard work and determination in the face of obstacles set before you.

thank you very much.

I have the same problems, but understand that in my case it is because they love me and don't wnat to have me get hurt and not because they are affraid of me.

I'm glad you have a genuinely concerned family that cares about you.

The World is a cold place. I find it amazing that most survive. Sadly, I have allowed my anxiety and depression to isolate me from friends and family. Afterwards, I have found it extremely difficult to cope with life stressors without a "shoulder to cry on." <br />
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As you know, it is very common for patients to go off their meds. As such, I believe it is a common question for family members to ask. I have experienced my family members asking me the same question and I have been hurt by the question at times. With that said, I believe it is a family members way of "helping". I think we all know that it is very difficult to help someone who is suffering from a mental illness. It is a characteristic of the disease that causes so much pain and isolation. <br />
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Sadly, some people are vindictive and will use the knowledge of ones mental illness to cause that person pain. I have experienced this as well. In fact, an ex-wife use to ask me in public if I took my meds if we argued. She knew it hurt my feelings. Sadly, the ones we love will purposefully cause pain at times. In truth, I believe we are all capable of malice at times. Hopefully, we, on average, bite our tongue when the opportunity presents itself.

I'm not bipoloar, but I do have depression, which I think is pretty similar. I thought I was biplolar at first though and it was scary. I went to a doctor about a month ago and he put me on antidepressants. Medication really doesn't fix EVERYTHING but it has major significance and keeps me sane. I know you think it's hard, but it makes you who you are. I understand how frustrating it is for your family to be questioning you like that all the time. I also have ADHD and the kids at school always ask me if I took my medicine. I don't even know why they care! It makes me feel bad about myself.

Don't let others get you down, forget these kids at school they have the problem not you.

thankyou, these days i'm workking on trying to get better

I'm bipolar as well. Don't breakdown in a busy store. U go away for awhile lmao

I've already been put away a few times. Not fun at all.

I'm bipolar as well and I am on a lot of meds to keep me stable. I still work and lead a pretty normal life. My family didn't get that I could still have problems after being on my meds, either. They treat me a little differently than they use to, but by and large they have now accepted my illness. Good luck to you.

Thank you.

My sister, who died in late 2005, had depression and occasional angry fits at someone. I was scared about her anger, especially after she started to threaten to kill whoever she was mad at, and she started beating people up. I have learned from your story. We have to treat people with mental illness like normal people. Plus such people can live normal lives, and I'm proud of you.

Thank you. I understand that dealing with mental illnesses can be scary for some people.

I think this applies to so much more than mental health .. groups of people are labelled and generalized

Very true. I have only experienced this concerning my mental health.

I think it's the same with any family to "walk on eggshells" around someone who's been diagnosed with a mental disorder, unless one of the family members themselves have a disorder. After I was diagnosed with depression some years back, and my dad reacted the same as your parents. I stopped taking my meds when I turned eighteen because I believed that I had been misdiagnosed, and whenever I had a mood change, I'd have to hear "you were more calmed down with your medicine! You should've never stopped taking it!" <br />
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Now on the other side, I could understand their worry if you were violent, which it doesn't seem you are. My mom has bipolar disorder and has some violent outbreaks if she skips her meds. I don't feel comfortable leaving her alone with my daughter unless she takes her pills.


My sister was diagnosed over 30 years ago. Since she got involved with The Independence Center (many cities have one) and has been able to see ONE mental health professional consistently, she and her med's have made SO much progress! For so many years, she was overmedicated, undermedicated, not medicated at all, etc. I thought I'd lost my sister to this illness. Since she's been working with I.C. and on better med's (including Abilify), she's better than she's been in 15 years! We are SO happy and proud of her. Before, she was NOT someone from whom you'd even want a phone call, much less "hang out" with! <br />
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I can agree with you being able to be successful academic wise most people with mental illness or some sort are very well educated and intelligent I guess now I understand why my mom would say your book smart not street smart but to not havepeople want to be around you is the sameas my mom cause she will dog you and drain the life out of you so I stay away she s toxic and that's not cool forget about normal when people who love you cant stomach to be around you and most time they really want to it's a challenge to understand bi polar people at times I use to think it was the way they are an actan at times I still do but I hope it works out for your family and you

Oh do I ever know how you are feeling.... I am 53 and was not diagnosed bipolar til I was 31... the drs. and my parents and I figure I probably entered the world of bipolar disease at least at the age of 16... ba<x>sed on my actions and roller coaster attitudes and mood swings.... the impulsive behavior.... that is a big one for me.... when I'm manic I am so impulsive it's not funny..... the chronic spending, partying, (which got me in trouble with my spouse at the time), taking a trip about 3,000 miles away without telling anybody where I was going... and not calling for over a month, staying for over 3 months off my meds... the behavior totally off the chain.... my mania feeds itself.... and once i'm there I have to have a major reckoning with my doctor, and usually a hospital stay to get a grip again. I've also swung the other way too.... so down deep depressed that I couldn't get out of bed... hoarded up medication, planned my suicide, and attempted twice to take my life. So you see.... everyone is different. You have to figure out where you are on a scale of 1 to 10..... if you think 1/2 of a pill and a bit of prayer is gonna do it for you then go for it..... or if you decide that spiritualism and zen and meditation etc is the answer, even though life throws us curveballs constantly, then go for it..... and if you still have those family members who you honestly feel are having a go at you by saying, "have you taken your meds today"???..... just remind them..... "have you hugged your child today?? have you hugged me for that matter... or asked how I was feeling??? and educate them that meds take 2-3- weeks sometimes longer to get into your system in order to work.... so even if you hadn't taken them today that shouldn't have any impact on you, or very little.... get in their face.... if they are getting in yours.... get back in their face in a dignified way and educate..... ask your therapist and psychiatrist for a list of books that would be good reading material for your family members... after all if they truly love you they will want to do anything to help you...... I bought a copy of a book for each member of my family after I was diagnosed and it helped enormously.... it was called, "Night Falls Fast".... you can get it through Amazon for very little especially if you buy several copies.... Christmas is coming eh?<br />
My best to you..... may you find peace and harmony and the ability to face the aggressions and challenges of this world even with the detrimental effects of bipolar disease dogging you..... hold your head high.....much love.....witzend009

im so sorry, would never treat you differently. i have friends with that problem and they will always be my friends

I like that kind of attitude and we need more people like that.

I so hate the fact that people think, we aren't supposed to have emotional ups and downs. An even keel is the way most expect life to be, but when your angry, you have a right to say that something is upsetting, When your down and don't want to do anything, you should be allowed to rest. There is no question that some go to extremes with both of these moods. And there should be something avaliable to help/motivate them. but you know, life is real, and it's real to be angry. Though it is appropriate to know when and where is the right place to be angry!

I agree, it's normal to be sad or angry. When someone with bipolar disorder or depression gets sad, we're having an "episode". Why can't ewe just be sad for a moment?

Sounds like your family has a problem. Sounds like you are doing your best to cope with what you were dealt. I have Bipolar Disorder also. I go on meds until I was about 33. I could have used intervention many times before that..I can say I have stayed in therapy since I was 17 and that has helped the most but couldnt keep episodes from occuring. I am 43 now. I have been on and off drugs. I have been stable again for almost a year now again. In 2009 I got very sick and spent the next rolling calendar year in and out of the hospital. This included going toxic on my lithium. I almost died and I was pretty pissed that I woke up a mess. Did meds play a part in the problem yes that time they did. But meds have been both good and bad. Then problem with medicating Bipolar is that it is a changing physical imbalance in your brain. Do what you think is right and keep yourself accountable with a few trusted friends and the doctors of your choice.<br />
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Don't let anybody tell you it isn't a physical disease. I am sure you have taken the time to educate yourself about your disease. Our mood swings are so similar to people who have diabetes. There is no rhyme or reason for why I go over the egde sometimes. Sure you have to eat and sleep and manage your stress; but then you are still going to have symptoms sometimes. The key is knowing when to go for help. That is hard for me cause usually I feel extra great before I need help. Just seeing someone regularly that you trust can help you manage that.<br />
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As far as the spiritual fix??? Bullshit. Everything is spiritual as well physical. I do believe our spirituality can affect us for better or worse but don't let some charleton pray over you and promise you a rose garden cure. Take care of your mind body and spirit - yes. but you can't cure this. It isnt something you grow out of. Although, Bipolar can be degenerative and your symtoms can change over the years. It can be managed - sounds like you are certainly managing well. <br />
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You may still be in the age of individuation. Time to figure out which things your family was right about and which things you can discard and go on to make your own life the way you think you should live. My family of origin is so codependent I still have to fight for my right to be who I am and how I am. I wish you the best.

Its good to know im not the only person who goes through this with family members. I was diagnosed with psychosis and BPD years ago. Iv had some tough times, what with trying different meds and becoming unwell. But iv been in recovery for seven years now. I still take a small amount of medication but i do well in my life and im happy. Over the years i kinda became a scape goat in my family for everyone else's negative issues and bad behaviour. If i had a bad day or different opinion or stood up for my self i was just told i was obviously un well or not taking my meds. To most of my family members ill always be the sister or daughter with mental illness, even though i have been told i no longer have any serious mental illness. But im really lucky as i have a great partner and son and to them im just me, just a person like any other. As for the other members of my family, well i now realize they have issues of there own so for my own emotional health i have to keep my distance. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, recovery is a very personal experience. And id say if the meds help then keep taking them. Iv defiantly become more spiritual too but im not anti meds. Anything that helps you on your journey and it sounds like your really doing great : )

I will comment soon. I wrote a thing on here, but I lost it. Just wanted to make sure I could find it again. I have been diagnosed with it a year ago. Story similar, but different.

I could write a book on this subject. I've gone thru all the meds I could. Then it was all the medcation combo's that I could tolerate. I'm on a reg of meds right now that seem to be keeping me at bay. Plus I have a very supportive and now educated fiancee who handle me and my 8 year old Bipolar/Autistic daughter. Thank your for telling us your story. Having family that doesnt want to understand your disorder, makes life more difficult. Hugs your way.

I suffer from it, and know a few other people who do also...we all receive the same generic doctoring...."take your meds, get a job, life will fix itself"<br />
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funnily enough, we are all ****** in our own ways, despite receiving such great care and advice.<br />
I am an emotional roller coaster...main moods being anger, and rage, followed by depression.<br />
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Another is so paranoid about life she barely leaves the house....she used to never stay home, now she goes nowhere, cos of paranoia.<br />
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Another suffers (as we all do) from the side affect of achene, not normal achene, the kind that is huge, oozing, takes over most of your face, one a beautiful woman, now going through the worst outbreaks in her life...she is mostly depressed all the time.<br />
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All three of us find it hard to keep a job for longer than three months, in fact none of us have worked for over a year and half at least<br />
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and finally a man, he works regularly. but only because it is for a friend of his who excepts that he is going to fall of the sane cart and have a couple weeks break in the unit every six months...<br />
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yes, doctors, we pay so much....and for what?

Your family needs to be educated about the illness, but I understand how they feel. To "us" (my sister has been bi-polar for 3 decades) on the outside, it's difficult to tell the difference between some of the ups/downs of BPD and situational/normal mood changes. Until your BPD levels out, they won't see the difference. Once my sister started working with The Independence Center (500 chapters, nationwide) and got her med's straightened out (including what I thing was key, Abilify), things got MARKEDLY better. She's doing better now and seems more like her old self (before diagnosis) than anytime in at least 15 YEARS. I'm so thankful.

I know how it feels. When I was in foster care, I was told I had "bipolar disorder" because I would sometimes go off on small things. I learned that this was not true. I learned that I wasn't bipolar but instead just had alot of emotional build-up and blew up when my cup was too full. People used to look at me like I had something wrong with me and just like you I heard the same statement "Did he take his meds?" but I have learned a valuable lesson. You can't tag somebody with a disorder for their emotions, for they are only human.

Very true, we are only human and we do have emotions.

There's nothing horrifying about having a relative who's bipolar. You're just like any Type I diabetic. They need insulin and you need meds. The issue's you state above are difficult to live with. It would be a good idea for you to be in therapy to help you with any bumps along the bipolar road. That being said you should discuss your family & find a solution to your problem and their behavior. This is a tricky problem because you want them to understand but you don't want to alienate them. Your therapist will help you find a way for you to deal with the family dynamics which are troubeling you so. Good luck and God Bless PS Religion is always important however some ideas stated here are a bit exessive. Also NEVER, NEVER get off your meds without medical supervision. I've see the consequences of this a thousand times and trust me it's a road that leads to ruin.

Not sure if you put that "nothing horrifying" comment towards me....I meant the name of the disorder....since the main symptoms are an extreme fear of being abandoned....I'm not even sure how the chose the name for it. And if it wasn't for me and it was for someone else....maybe the constant fear they live in that they will get a phone call or god forbid find their loved one hanging in the garage is extremely horrifying. Although being on the other end of, most of their worries are unnecessary, but they still have them. No one can ever tell you, that you don't have a right to feel a certain way. Ever.

hey man, a lotta families forget the natural moments when they worry too much. they forget the communication that they could laugh and enjoy.<br />
you weren't a problem or at all bad on your family, but they just lost sight of they good times cause they wanted to make sure that you were always ok.<br />
you should tell them how you feel more often because they aren't afraid of you, they never have been. every time you analyze a moment that's awkward or weird, and blamed it on someone, it's a diversion from the truth. it doesn't get to the point that people aren't easy. sometimes you need to start it off. it sucks, but it's really that much easier with the first word said. <br />
they love you, and they always will. promise, there's no question if they're still caring about your meds. they sound like strong parents.<br />
in the end, no one should ever tell you how to act. sure, being angry is a bit blinding to the person being angry, but you know what's good. go hang with your family and do something different than a simple check up or even a silent movie. go to the park or something seemingly dumb. all they want is for you to be happy. (lotta crap to take in so take a deep breath. that's all ima tell you to do. everything else is pretty easy after that)

good for you for taking control of your life

Right now i am going through trial for this disorder, my father and sister have already been diagnosed. So my family is more understanding. The thing is, i can see both the perspectives of the situation, and i hope everything works out for you:) Mind me asking what kind of medication you are on? Because ive been on and off seroquel for about 3 years, and im coming off them again, to see how im doing, and its not going so well. I need to be medicated, but im very wary about side effects. My psychologist has recommended Zyprexa. But it raises the blood sugar and im prone to diabetes. <br />
So i was wondering what meds you are on, I know that its different for every person, but im so desperate for reviews on different kinds, so if you could tell me, id be so greatfull:)

I am not bipolar myself but one of my very best friends does have bipolar disorder. His life was a real roller coaster ride when he was first diagnosed and the Dr.'s were working on getting his medication level right for him. It also took him many years to realize that he needed to take his medications even when he was feeling good. He would get to feeling so good he would convince himself he didn't need the meds any more and would quit taking them. Then of course he would go into a bad downward spiral. Now he does pretty good most of the time and takes his meds every day and that helps to combat the wild mood swings. Of course he still has days when he gets down but then don't we all. His family like yours is always after him about taking his meds and blames every bit of sadness on the bipolar but like you say sometimes a person just has an off day. <br />
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To me it sounds like you are doing really well for yourself. Putting yourself through college is quite an accomplishment with or without bipolar. Just try and be patient with your family. Eventually they will see that you are doing well and hopefully will quit blaming every little emotion on the disorder. Keep up the good work. :)

I have felt this as well. God bless you and don't let people take away your spirit.

Very few people understand that the medication doesn't take away emotions, but makes them more normative. Anger, sadness, joy are all still experienced, but not out of control or unrelated to the events. <br />
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Educate educate educate. You just might have to keep explaining to your family about the disorder.

Hi,i understand what u are going through ...but i understand. sometimes it happens that in such cases people around them think whatever they say is related to did order and even in cases they are right they are considered wrong ...what i wud suggest is u tell your doctor to explain this to ur family that your views cant be always written off thinking of them as wrong..and u r a normal person and can express thoughts which are correct.i m sure it wud help....thats a practical help .<br />
otherwise u can always discuss stuff with people who understand....i m a doc will def like to help

I was diagnosed with bipolar and spent 10 years of my life on every kind of medicine that would seem to be working great, and then boom, back to square one. Then I met a new therapist who said that, I, like so many people he'd seen diagnosed with bipolar before who were truly not. I have borderline personality disorder, which sounds horrifying to me, but when I read the symptoms and they were so dead on, I was completely shocked! Unfortunately, meds can't help me, and my family wants to keep telling me, "You need to take your meds, go back to the dr" yeah, well, the doctor says they are wrong, I don't have highs, I only have bottoming outs, there's normal me, and there's despairing me. And there is nothing I can do about it. So to all those having a hard time finding a med that works...look up borderline personality disorder and talk to your dr, those meds might be making your symptoms worse or just unnecessary side effects.

I know exactly how you feel, my family treats me the same way. I wish they would understand how indifferent they make me feel. Not everything happens because I am bipolar. Unfortunately, I have also have BPD. I swear I hate hearing did you take your medicine today, well sometimes, I try to keep in mind that they are only asking at times out of concern.

The only difference between us and the "sane" is we consider whether our internal emotion reactions are part of the wave a new trigger or honest. No shame in being considerate and i know how draining it can be. I'm so sorry your family look sat you differently, it's sad that they can't look past a piece of paper. ~America will never be happy until we all have a nice little niche on a shelf to classify ourselves with~ Stand proud you're human!

I wanted to press, "Like" on Facebook, but you're right, people can be prejudice against people like us. There is a great group on FB that are all bipolar, if you want to join us contact me. I love EP. It's a great site.<br />
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I have been diagnosed, finally, at the age I am, (older than most-- 50) very recently. I am certain I have had mild to moderate bipolar all of my life. I have never been in a psych ward (not that I didn't belong in one on a few occasions. You seem so successful. People who do not have a mood disorder do not quite understand what we go through. <br />
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I finally started taking medications at age 50. It was like putting on glasses for the first time and seeing correctly. Before, I was just so confused as to why I reacted to everything so differently than the normies of the the world.<br />
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Don't worry too much about your family. Just keep going to college and succeeding. Eventually, they will see that being bipolar is no different than having diabetes or any other health problem. <br />
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Thanks for your great post.

I believe not being diagnosed earlier, could of saved my marriage. I once asked my dad why didn't you tell me something was wrong? He said, it would be like telling someone who is an alcoholic, they have a drinking problem, when they aren't ready to hear it.<br />
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I had to hit rock bottom and unfortunately, my spouse left me on the bottom before I realized something was really wrong!

your story is the reason I REGRET getting the diagnosis. I practically ASKED for the diagnosis when i went to the psychiatrist. Why? Because I HATED my LIFE with my husband and I was NICE enough to believe that " it wasn't him, it was me," only to find out that every time I got upset after that, his mom or him would say "your<br />
just having an episode" as if I couldn't distinguish between being genuinely upset about something that would genuinely **** anyone off and an uncontrollable anger from left field! I realized after I started drugging that I was just looking for a way to live more comfortably in the hell I was in...(we were having issues which caused alot of fights on my end). I finally stopped relying on him for my happines and realized that I never was bipolar as it was truly all circumstantial...I was just a really nice person who got pushed over the edge.

I wish I were not really bipolar. I do hope that your situation has gotten a lot better.

You cannot blame them for being so picky, its like having any other condition like severe diabetes or blood pressure problems. It cannot be cured only can be supressed to a limit with medicine.<br />
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They do not know when it will happen, neither do you, they do not know if the pills will suddenly not work, they worry and fear for both you and themselves. They do not know what will happen during and/or after. It will take some time before they get comfortable with it. I would not say they have the right to be what they are right now, but its normal and just like how you worked hard through college, just work hard and even harder to be as best you can be.<br />
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It is also not that you cannot express yourself, but they cannot tell the difference if you are just expressing yourself or having an episode. It is in our human nature to react this way so just chill :). <br />
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Hope this helps and hope you feel better soon.<br />
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God Bless.

keep going

My biggest problem with places that "treat" any form of mental illness is methodology. Far too many places --even "good" ones-- have no skills in idiosyncratic (that is, personal) treatment of a condition and insist on using "text book" solutions in every case. And, the cocktail mixtures they serve out are far too often overkill, zombi-state inducing, and worse than the diseases themselves.<br />
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After 10 months of lithium treatment, I've now had lithium working its way out through my pores for 12 years, mostly in hard painful cystic lumps. The scars are horrible and the pain is bad when they occur. Yes, my first doctor used me as a guinea pig and never listened to me until I told her I wouldn't be back and would be discussing my case with a senior doctor in her office. The cocktail she had me on was agony and full of unneeded antipsychotic meds, too. To her, a male in my 20s not having even one sexual thought or erection in two months was not a bad side-effect. The massive cystic acne patches that appeared didn't concern her either, and neither did the thirty pounds I gained in under a year. <br />
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Other meds and doctors were not nearly as bad. Depakote, for example, required regular blood work, but the extended release type didn't make me sick and I never had to boil out of my skin at least. What it took to get better meds was persistence and leaving practices that were not helpful.<br />
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Bipolar is a complicated set of symptoms and not every one is the same. If you medicine doesn't agree with you, tell your doctors. Tell them LOUD is you need to, and tell new doctors if your current ones do not listen. There's no reason patients should have to tolerate boils, rashes, upset stomach, diarrhea, impotence/lack of sexual desire, immense weight gain, or any other symptoms that are not extremely temporary. Good doctors know that not everyone responds the same way to medicine, too, and they are not afraid to try multiple routes to alleviate symptoms. <br />
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As hard as it is to deal with bipolar disorder (manic depression) for the patient, the doctor, and the families, those diagnosed are 1) still people and 2) not contagious. Many family members and doctors forget one or the other of those simple things. Those not working with and accepting you are not your friends; and those seeing you as a diagnosis rather than a person with a diagnosis are missing out on the larger part of you. Don't let shallow people drag you to their level.<br />
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I am one of the lucky ones. After a few years of medication and therapy, I'm okay. I've been without medicine for nearly ten years now, and I feel fine. Yes, I have dark days at times, but I get through them. The biggest part of bringing on my symptoms was stress. Learning to cope with stress is incredibly important to anyone who hopes to be able to leave the meds behind some day. Be tough, be yourself, and be one of the ones who shows the world that bipolar is not untreatable.

You have an illness not a broken arm.. tell them how you feel. You HAVE, not ARE.. your a person, not the broken arm. Best of luck.

Good for you....I admire you!...>:D<

My comment is more about the aurgument of whether to take meds for a disease or not. <br />
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I have had problems with depression my whole life. For years I did not publicly admit it; not even to my family. And I absolultely refused the crazy meds accept when my life just completely became unbearable. However I never gave them a chance because of the side effects.I would justify my reasoning for not taking the meds saying if they were healthy they wouldn't produce these side effects. I went out of my way to find literature and other things to prove to myself I was right. Although I was raised in the deep south the family that adopted me; belonged to a what a lot of people call new age religion. It was a mixture of eastern and western beliefs and so from the age of ten I was practicing meditation and yoga. Something I still do to this day and I am sure that these practices have helped me tremendously coping with the DISEASE OF DEPRESSION. My biological father was an alcoholic, and no I have never had any problems with alcohol or drugs myself. My father whom I did not meet till later in life was bipolar, however he self medicated with alcohol. Between the alcoholism (a disease) and his problems with his bipolar disease he destroyed so - so many lives. I have exactly eight biological brothers and five biological sisters. We weren't all seperated and I ended up being raised in the same household with two brothers and one sister. All but three of us ended up with problems with depression, bipolar, alcohol and or chemical dependency. Then one day a few years ago my little sister who displayed all of the wonderful traits of my father went to the doctor for a back problem. As the doctor got to know her he recognized her disease. You see he had some personal experience in it, from living with a wife and a daughter with the disease. He hounded my sister, even went to her house a few times until he convivced her to get on meds. My sister like my father before her had created a lot of collateral damage through out the years. One was a son, who I raised as my own. Over the years I tried to convey to him that his mother was sick and needed help not hate. However I was not very succesful or maybe convincing because it was hard for me to remember sometimes. These diseases can cause so much pain in so many people. Well her son moved to live in the same city when he graduated high school. He wanted to hate her in person and he so despretely needed her approval. (I know, been there done that.) The first few years he would call me and ***** and complain about her and now that he sees her regularly how much more he hates her. Then she met that doctor, now my nephew calls me about once a month and with every call he just rants on and on how amazing his mother is now. He told me one time after she had been on the meds for about a year, and I quote " Uncle __ you wouldn't believe it for the first time in my life I love my mother. I also have a younger brother who seemed to be a carbon copy of my father. Because of my sister's results I contacted the right people to make sure that my brother had access to the meds. He has been on them for a couple of years now and is doing great, especially for a man doing life in prison. I asked him in a letter once about, "in what way did he feel different?" The one thing that stuck out over everything else was that now he truly understood and is at peace with the fact that he belongs in prison and he says he now truly understands all the pain he has caused to his x and his children. <br />
I just look back at the seemingly endless cycles of pain and misery he perpectuated and think if only my father would have had access to the meds. <br />
Ok now, I understand that you can't paint everybodies life with the same paint brush, however when you utilize logic instead of emotional opinions it doesn't make since to not give the meds a chance before making such a life altering decision. I mean come on guys some of the excuses and justifications I have read (and sometimes used myself) or ridiculous. Please understand I am not making fun, I am as guilty as the rest. I am just going to point out a few absurdities I have read on some of the post as reasons to not take the meds. No reason to take the meds, all you have to do is change your way of thinking. Perhaps someone with a mild case of bipolar this might work. Thats of course if there is such a thing. I know how one perceives life and the daily injustices is very important to ones on well being, however why would the way you think correct a chemical imbalance. Can you correct think away a physical disease? Another one I read said something like; I relish in it and enjoy the highs and lows. That somehow having the disease bipolar are depression is a natural state as that was how I was born. I wonder if the same person was born with type one diabetes would have the same "thats my natural state and please don't try to get me to take any meds". How about the one that the meds only treat the symptoms, not the under lying condition. This is one of the dumbest excuses out there. I wonder how that aurgument would hold up say, if someone was suffering from chronic diarrhea. Why is mental illness the only disease that is considered to be somehow a personal fault or weakness. I mean people who suffer with other chronic or lifetime diseases don't question their meds near to the degree we do. As I said earlier I do practice meditation and yoga and find it to be very helpful. Perhaps there are people out their that can cure their mental or physical diseases through the practice of right thinking and meditation. However until the Dalia Lama quits wearing glasses I am going to take my meds and be happy. More importantly to me, not ruin other peoples lives; as I have done in the past and have witnessed firsthand others in my family doing the same. For the record I am 55 years old and have needlessly buried three family members whom have taken there on lives instead of the horrible pills.

Maybe talk to a counsellor and let him/her talk to your family? Just so they understand more about bipolar disorder and do not alienate you like that. They need education!

My father actually went to some of my doctors' appointments and he asked a lot of questions. He showed me that he really wants to understand and I appreciated that.

Be your true-self and people will begin to be attracted by you. ( attracted=they would like to become your friends, talk to you , so on)<br />
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To discover your true-self, walk few kilometers/day and talk to yourself. See what you have good and bad. Fix what's bad and turn it into good.<br />
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God bless you and good luck in your life!

I've always been myself...I like me. I just think that my family needs to get know me...and stop paying so much attention to the bipolar part. That is just a tiny part of me, but there is so much more about me that they refuse to see.

I too have Bi Polor and the family is so like yours and my story like yours so you arn't alone. Neither am I , I see.

Nope...not alone at all.

I told my family i was an addict and since then, if i have an off day they assume i'm using. It's begins to wear on you. I quit using mostly for my parents and additionally myself but if they still think i'm using it makes me ask "what's the point?". I don't want my reasons for staying clean to be entirely self centered. My addiction was self centered and i want to break that cycle. Grrr.

It does begin to wear on your nerves. I have learned to totally and completely ignore them.

You really need to tune them out. When I was younger my mom was crying a lot. I told her she should take meds for depression. She did it. Ever since then she has been on emotional rollercoaster and she was 10 times worst. I wish I never said that to her but I was only 16 and I had no idea what I was talking about. You need to be stronger and know your the parent and you are completely normal. Everybody has emotions we just express them in different ways. Kid's think they know everything. Other people want to play doctor when they have no clue what they are talking about and don't ask the proper questions.

You're right, I just ignore them and live my life.


I open to check messeges and here is your story. I had to chime in because I saw that no one mentioned WHY a person treats you differently. Obviously, it is the label, but there's a whole other side of the story. .. I had dated a guy in the past with instabilities. I had thought it was a post Iraq condition from being in the Army. VA doctors diagnosed him with bipolar. Things started make sense when I learned this. His mood swings, irrational reactions, etc.. I took the information in and began to notice his triggers. Therefore, was able to avoid them. Him happy. Me happy. Your family can't do that like one individual can. Your family loves you, obviously, or they would not ask if you're taking well care of yourself. They chirp and discuss while you're not around, everyone forms their opinions, and acts accordingly so you end up with this mixed emotion. <br />
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Which of them is the one everyone seems to believe-in in the family? Every family has one ... lol My uncle is like the Opinion That Matters in my bloodline. Find who you trust most among the family and confess what you're feeling. You might be shocked at the kind of answer you will recieve and they'll be greatful for the intel. And if your family is anything like mine - everyone will know how you feel by the end of work day. When the need to broadcast intel comes, there's Telephone, Television and Tell-a-family-member.<br />
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Hope this kinda helps ..

You're going through what I go through. You should stop taking meds & seeing a psychiatrist because they're only making your situation worse. Pills do not solve our problems. They're slowly poisoning & trying to kill us. Look up "PSYCHIATRY EXPOSED" on YouTube & google it. You will be SO baffled! Psychiatry is a form of wickedness & evil. Show it to your family & educate them. Maybe they will think twice about ORDERING you to take meds. I want people to wake up & do their research & stop falling for this abuse, dirt & hurt of the government.<br />
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I was on Cymbalta for depression, & it made me suicidal. I wanna show you some resources. <br />
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<br />,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=f17ae772ca1ea813&biw=1366&bih=664<br />
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Ultimately, you make peace with being okay with yourself and not measuring yourself against anyone else's approval but your own.<br />
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It is a challenge for everyone. But, it is especially challenging with those of us who are marginalized into a cultural fear stereotype that has nothing to do with us as people.<br />
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There is a huge opportunity right now to break the stereotypes because as more people become part of the marginalized (due to the corporate enslavement of the globe), and more people become disempowered, the more the ability for us to realize we are all different and not acceptable to this sick system in SOME way or other. The poster above is right. Education is key.<br />
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I actually think that the most evolved marginalized among us can lead the way.<br />
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I am bipolar. I am incredibly proud of the the things and strengths that this experience has taught me. I have empathy, wisdom, self awareness and wonderment.<br />
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Perception is everything my dear. Claim your own!

Peace be with you. Bipolar will never control you

I have withdrawn from a lot of my family members not because of my illness but their ignorance. I understand how you feel and I wish you the best of luck also.

Puck, I'm an oddball and I hate it when people use being bipolar and being a douchebag as the same thing. I feel you on this.

I don't like taking the pills, lamotrogine, lorazepam. aripiprozole, and welbutrin , but I haven't been this "stable" in my life, so it's better than the alternative.<br />
More and more often I hear the term "Bipolar" used as an insult, and that kind of bums me out. I mean using it to try and describe somebody who is beyond being an *******. It's not that big of a deal for me though, I just wish some people wouldn't associate manic depression with people who are just "bad" in old fashion sense of the word.<br />
I'm sorry that your family isn't more understanding and tend to patronize a bit.<br />
My problem is, when I'm around a lot of people, I feel like an oddball.

Suposedly Im bipolar, but sometimes I prefer this to the highly structured and tedious life of boring people, specially when they are nerds and so called christians and want to rule other people lives. <br />
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I take my pills and live a normal life, I use my genius at work., Look very well specially to women, I do well and work better than anyone, sincerelly dont like lazy people. I really hate when my sister invites me to a coffee just to sermon that I should be in a regular phichiatrist consulting, as if these were cheap and if the phisichiatrists were effective doctors, they are the worst kind, only hear your story dont talk anything and then write the f... antidepressive pills. <br />
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Come on, I have a better life than them. I take gamalate, its complex B and simply great. Rivotril 10mg a day and Neurontin 300mg a day and havent had an episode of manic or depression in more than a year now. Guess who gave me the presc<x>ription? an internist doctor and a neurologist. The phsichiatrist had given me a f... pill that gave dependance on it. <br />
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I had 3 and a half years of working in other state and returning every single weekend to be with my wife and kids. So, instead of resting the weekend I traveled, for 3 f... years and a half. STRESS is the cause of my illlness, and also lonelyness, because by protecting my marriage I rejected 2 beautiful women one of them totally in love with me. I also got depressed of working and living alone in mid-days. But it seem that my f... wife was happy to enjoy my money and a good lifesyle while I was working and traveling and being faithful. <br />
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I quitted my job. That was not success. Leaving far away from your family and the stress of work and traveling all the time (my luggage was my lover and friend) although you earn well, that is not life and is certainly not success. Now that Im home, and working less, (much less) she is to say that we were better before, distanced. Come on, what kind of support is that?

Wow, hang in there!

I know what you mean, I was diagnosed with ADD at age 6 and bipolar at age 16 and I ahve never been treated as an equal by my family.

you GREAT!! thats all i wanna saying..even i knw its so hard to going through..but WIN u win at all part of ur life..anyways nice story for sharing..:)

you GREAT!! thats all i wanna saying..even i knw its so hard to going through..but WIN u win at all part of ur life..anyways nice story for sharing..:)

I've been diagnosed since I was five it always got me in trouble at school especially I did the counseling thing and took meds they helped but a lot of it was me I meditate and do breathing exercises and I learned to know when I was getting mad you can potentially avert a situation several minutes in advance I went through the same situation with my family and found the only thin to do when I began to get mad around them was tell them I was and then go hit the **** out of a punching bag eventually they saw I was maturing with my disorder and gave me the benefit of the doubt when I did get angry around them but I seldom take meds at this point because of the self control I now posses and being able to see possible situations I will glad e mail back and forth with you and help in anyway I can every one needs an ally when battling Bi polar I still have one and I've been dealing with it for fifteen years if you think you have a handle on things I wish you the best

Congratulations for getting it under control. If I were you I'd sit my family down and have a discussion about it. It takes courage to do that but it may help. If they see how much it bothers you maybe they'll finally listen and realize they're in the wrong.

I thought at first that they were just concerned, but then I found out that they were using me as a joke.<br />
I understand that people have questions about the disorder and would've willingly talked to them about it, if they had real concern.

@gemini: I can't really use any "drug" other than what the good doc prescibes for me.<br />
I'm not one to judge people on how they deal with their life. If it's working and it's not killing anyone or yourself then do you.

mine is natural 420 only! and that is how I found out about my other self or bipolar or twin or split personality ? havent been diagnosed yet. I have been labled with depression from a Dr. But, I had no idea about what I know now that I have smoked for the first time in my life. I honestly feel like superman, I don't have my everyday pains that make life Not worth living. I could write a book on how great it makes me feel and think. I think faster and better than ever. I'm not using right now and I'm scared and shocked at what I wrote yesterday when I was hi. I hate that it is illegal so I don't do it very often and I fall back into being sad and depressed, but I don't remember how good it really is until I do it again and then I wish I would never come back down.

Bipolar people have no choice but to be true about certain things, you hang us around us enough and you're bound to see all kinds of moods. whether we want you to or not.

Yeah and they won't listen to reason.<br />
they tip-toe around like you're a bomb.

oh my god I know exactly how you feel :(<br />
it's horrible. everyone that knows treats you like you're crazy...

I understand, I have a tendency of doing the same thing, but you can't help it.<br />
I have accepted the things I can't change and I'm slowly finding happiness.

One would think they cared, but they are usually asking to mess with me or make jokes at my expense.

It's lovely that your family care so much about you. <3

There is being yourself or what others want you to be. Whatever works for you man.Is your cure a little 420 or something more harsh than that?

I am very differicult type of person. I'm a true gemini and just am now figuring or searching for truth. This is going to sound crazy but, My cure is illegal but it works and if everyone knew how great I feel right now it would not be illegal for me cause it makes me the incredibly great person I want to be and I like me right now ;) I don't want to be normal..

@akasharose: Stay close to those that support you.<br />
I can relate to having the police called on you.<br />
I'm pulling for you and I hope that your situation get a lot better.

I can relate.... Granted My brain has always been off a little... I had grandmother seizures for many many years and lucky for me I out grew them.. But my mind has never been right... I have suffered from depression all of my life and have been BiPolar now for over 8 years... My father is the only one who actually acts like he cares and tries to understand it . My mother on the other hand just doesn't get it thinks its all a act and doesn't care one way or another ... Neather does my brother... But really they don't have a clue what i go through....When I'm Manic all they do is call the police and don't try to leave me alone which makes it much worse they are just dumb....My friends however are a big support to me and alot of them have mental issues too...

Thanks eklectikceliac, I just hate that that's all they seem to want to talk about when I'm around or they either avoid me all together.<br />
Keep striving for that balance and I will do the same.

When I first became Bipolar I was treated the same as you by my family.Its not their fault alot of the time.They are told to see what we can't see when we are unwell.There has a`be a BALANCE in our lives.That's what I'm striving for.I hope everything goes well for you.

Thanks, ccad07<br />
My family will either accept me or not.<br />
I've got to live my life.

First of all, kudos to you for keeping your life on track. Secondly, you may never be able to change how your family sees you and you have to accept that possibility. Yes it's hard but quit explaining, be yourself, don't change who you and just accept how *they* feel at this time. You know who you are deep inside and even though your past has shed doubts, you're on the right track and your family will come to realize this.

In my particular case, my family over does it. I can't show any emotion other than joy and happiness. If I get mad they think I haven't taken my meds. People with bipolar disorder still get mad or upset and it doen't have to be an episode.<br />
A good way to approach them would be, not bringing it up all the time, recognizing the difference between an epsiode and just a normal reaction to something that happened. <br />
It's ok to ask questions, but I hate when I'm questioned all the time about it and not treated like everyone else.

As the spouse of a person who has Bi-Polar it is very diffficult to have a stable relationship with a person that continually has high highs and low lows. Once you are dealing with this continued behavior with a person you care about often times there is no true resolution because once the episode is over the person who is exhibiting what are so called Bi-Polar behaviors does not seem to accurately recall what has happened. Maybe we ask the wrong question when we see behaviors that worry us and that seem very familiar to us which maybe the beginning of an incident happening. What would be an the best way to bring up this topic with our loved ones who are Bi-Polar where we would be able to have an actual discussion of each others feelings and emotions to work things out and have resolution without putting anyone on the defensive.

Go to NAMI and take family to family. It sounds like your spouse is not on the correct meds yet. I have been on the right meds for 3 years, after 8 years of looking for the correct cocktail. I am now stable and do not have highs and lows, at least not today, tomorrow could be different.