It's amazing that people are more able to talk about their mental health now a days, people are able to tell others about their anxiety and depression, it's even considered in the workplace and schools. However, there is still a lot of stigma and fear around mental health. It can be difficult to talk to people you care about, about your mental health for fear that they may worry too much about you.
I have definitely been guilty of this, I often don't tell people about the way I am feeling, it took years for me to tell people about my mental health. I am conscious that often people know about my mental health second hand, through something posted on social media, or something mentioned by a friend.
It's difficult to talk about, not because I don't want to and not because I think other people won't understand. I desperately don't want people to worry about me or to think of me as damaged; unfortunately due to stigma the words Bipolar Disorder are weighty and concerning. There is a lack of understanding of what that means and a lack of reassuring representation in the media. Unless you are someone who has had exposure to someone who lives with Bipolar Disorder what comes to mind can be something scary and unrealistic.
The thing is having a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, although scary, doesn't mean that people need to worry about me. It's something that I have unknowingly lived with for nearly 4 years. It's veery likely that you have seen me manic or depressed. Some people may never have met me before I had Bipolar Disorder. Even though I'm adding new information, I'm not a different person, I'm still me, I just have more tools to deal with the things I am experiencing. Information is empowering.
However, I can't sit and completely blame stigma as the reason for finding it difficult to talk about my Bipolar Disorder. Something I struggle with is vulnerability, I have lived for years perfecting the mask of stability. There are people I've had in my live for years who have never known that I have been struggling. By not talking about my bipolar I am able to maintain the facade of stability, it would mean that there would be someone out there who didn't know that sometimes I feel like I ma walking on a tightrope, one wrong step may send me over the edge. I know in myself that I have never been more strong or capable. I know that everything that I have experienced has taught me so much, however, there is still a part of me that wants to hide behind the mask. I spent so long with it up that I don't know how to take it off anymore.
Just because something is scary or overwhelming I can't let it stop me. I haven't with anything else in my life and I can't start now. I want it to be okay to talk about things that might be scary or daunting. I want for other people to be able to talk about their experience and to know that they will not be judged or viewed as weak. I want for people not to have to put on a mask and pretend they are okay.
I want people to know that just because I live with Bipolar Disorder, it doesn't make me any less weak and doesn't mean that I won't achieve. I genuinely believe this can only inspire me to become stronger and more passionate. I believe that I can help other people and I will passionate advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.