Bipolar, Depression, Stigma

I Swear I’m Not Crazy

Stigma suggests otherwise.

Bit by bit, I’ve become more comfortable speaking up about my own mental illness. People hear that term, and they immediately think, “Oh no! What should I expect?” and they take a step back. Then they hear “bipolar 2” and they seem to turn and scurry away from the scary unknown.

I swear I’m not crazy.  I’m educating. I’m advocating for others who struggle. I’m attempting to stamp out stigma. I aspire to prevent others from giving in to suicidal tendencies.

Recently, I’ve reconnected with old friends via social media.  They knew me once upon a time when I was just me…quiet, happy, had close friends, living life as a teenager in high school.  What will they think when they realize I have anxiety and bipolar 2? It scares me to my core that it’ll be another nice-knowing-you-but-see-ya moment.

Now, I’m an adult and still just me. I’m a bit more outspoken, yet still quite the introvert, happy for the most part, have friends that are special to me…but none I see on a regular basis and can fully and comfortably be completely me with. The friend thing…I honestly don’t know why that changed. I desire to have that kind of friendship again.  Perhaps it’s my anxiety or my introversion or the fact others don’t want to deal with having a friend who struggles with mental health. Most likely a combination.

Yet, I’m not crazy.

I’m one in five (closer to 1 in 5.5, but half a person would be weird) who struggle with mental health.

Anxiety is a bitch.

Depression can be a bigger bitch.

Over the years, though,  (more so in the past few) I’ve learned to live well with it…at least I feel like I have. Cognitive Behavior Therapy and medication have literally saved my life. With bipolar 2, the depression can hit extremely low and last a long time. The “mania” part of my bipolar 2 is irritability. I’ve learned to just remove myself from being around people when I feel this way. The last thing I’d want to do is lash out over something that truly isn’t a big deal. I know when to give myself a time out.

For the record…just because I may be sad…doesn’t mean it’s the depression. Just because I get irritable…doesn’t mean it’s the mania.  I may just be irritable because of irritating people or situations…just like anyone else. Not every word I speak and move I make is a result of mental illness.  Please, don’t assume that. 

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