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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 153 Responses Jun 6, 2010

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could i tell u my story and ask ur opinion? i think im bipolar and im trying to find the right person on here to talk to... i asked questions and put stories on here but no one seems to really have real advice...

Sure you can tell me your story. you can email me if you like.

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.

SEE IF YOUR CITY HAS AN "INDEPENCE CENTER" LIKE THIS ONE - MANY DO. THIS ONE HAS BEEN USED AS A MODEL: http://www.independencecenter.org/

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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KEEP TRYING EVERYONE!!

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

I just found this group & I'll be joining. My baby girl who turns 21 next month was just diagnosed BP. I was out of her life completely for 14 years after the divorce because her mom married another man & asked me to walk away in the best interest (we thought) for her young Psyche the confusion of having 2 daddy's. It was a hard 14 years for me as you can imagine. I found her on FB last November, & she wanted me back in her life. We spoke the next night by phone after she had replied to my friend request, then the next day before I had to go back on the road as a truck driver we drove 35 miles to where she lives & had lunch with her & her boy friend. She is a beautiful reflection of me. As she said yesterday, it's like looking in a mirror & seeing a transgender reflection. I had no clue that she had previously been miss diagnosed as schizophrenia & was on meds for that on the day we met. It wasn't until a week later that her bf called me because she was "flipping out' that i learned anything about mini- me having any kind of psychosis. I, in my ignorance blamed my sudden reappearance in her life for causing her to have a nervous break down even after I learned that she had been hospitalized in the past for her condition, I still feared that I might be a trigger. Her bf quit buying the meds she was on several months ago, unbeknownst to her mother & I even though every time we saw them he was told that if he needed any help buying them we would gladly pay. three weeks ago when I was home she spent the whole weekend with us & she & I had some very long conversations about her life in my absence. And while she sometimes spoke of spiritual beings & was in my ignorant opinion a little delusional, it was a very good visit. After I went back to work, it got worse & she had to be hospitalized. Fortunately she was able to see a competent Dr who gave us a diagnosis of BP and got her on what so far seems to be the right meds, though they are working daily at this point to find the right therapeutic level. So, this is all brand new to me, & I want to be as understanding & supportive for her (and her mother) as I can be. I have loved her since I found out her mother was pregnant & would lay my head on mommy's tummy & talk to her before she was born & bonded with her before I went to the 1st Gulf War. She was 5 &1/2 months old the 1st time I held her & as soon as she heard daddy's voice she knew who I was & planted her little head on my chest like the sweetest embrace. I'll never walk away now that I'm back in her life, & hopefully with help from the people here who have dealt with this longer I can be a strong, supportive, loving daddy that I should have been all along. Thanks to whoever created this group.

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.