A friend of mine has been on the cusp of creating her own blog for some time. She has bipolar one disorder, and she loves to write, so a blog might be a wonderful way for her to express herself and find community. However, this mother of two has been hesitant to join the blogosphere. She doesn’t want to use her real name for the people she wishes to write about live in her area. She’s intimidated to learn a new medium such as WordPress. While I understand her hesitancies, I just know it would be good for her try blogging on for size, even if she made her blog private.
As the Incognito Bipolar Mom contemplates taking the blogging plunge, she has graciously allowed me to post a piece she wrote titled “A Message from the Incognito Bipolar Mom”.
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A MESSAGE FROM THE INCOGNITO BIPOLAR MOM
They say that blood is thicker than water. Well, after I found out that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, neither “blood” nor “water” wanted to touch me with a ten-foot pole unless they were on my payroll, i.e. doctors, therapists, pharmacists and the like.
Even though an incognito disease in my brain didn’t draw attention like an obvious skin rash or a snotty virus, my family and friends apparently thought I’d contaminate anyone who came near me with mental illness.
It hurt deep to feel that untouchable. I felt rejected to my very core. Even though it has been several years since the onset of my mood disorder, I continue to feel cast off by people who I never imagined would treat me so horribly.
My father lived an hour’s drive away from where I was first hospitalized. We weren’t estranged before my diagnosis, and while we hadn’t been very close, we were in touch. When I entered the mental health unit for my hospitalization, he was in fair health and he definitely had the ability to come visit me, yet I never saw him once. I couldn’t believe that he didn’t visit his own child in such a situation.
I did nothing to deserve his abandonment except to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were in the same boat as my father. They were within completely reasonable driving distance from the hospital. But they chose not to make the effort, nor offer caring for our young children even once. Never mind the fact that my husband took care of their children many times, and even took their kids on camping trips so that their parents could have the weekend to themselves. I can’t think of these relatives now without disgust in my stomach.
Since my diagnosis I learned how to be bitter, and I’m not proud of it.
They say that living well is the best revenge. As you can tell by my angry and cynical words, I’m quite far away from living well. It’s also said that knowledge is power. At least I’m finally learning and acquiring some knowledge…I’m learning about the latest in bipolar disorder research, I’m learning how to reach some semblance of stability, and I’m learning that I can’t get better alone.
I’m learning that while my family and friends can’t be there for me the way I wished they had been, I can be there for me along with my husband, my therapist and my psychiatrist.
I can seek new friends who have bipolar disorder and who understand what it’s like to live with it. I have my loving cat Ithaca who doesn’t care what mood disorder I have as long as I treat her with love.
I’m not feeling completely hopeless about the future. I’m “just” still mired in anger and resentment. I believe that ostracism by one’s “blood and water” is a wound that never totally goes away.
I’m not the first to be shunned for having bipolar, and I won’t be the last person to be shunned either. Perhaps through connecting with bloggers who share my diagnosis, I’ll find some inspiration.
I hope to read about others’ experiences that focus upon healthy ways to cope with my “unacceptable feelings”.
I’m not exactly sure where I’m going with all this. At the very least (and this is a big deal) writing about life with bipolar feels like a positive endeavor. Seeking camaraderie through those who deal with the ups, downs, and further-downs of bipolar sounds positive and fulfilling.
Thank you so much for reading this. I appreciate any insights that you seasoned bloggers may have!!!
The Incognito Bipolar Mom