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.