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6/26/16 11:03 A

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URBANAUDREYE, I enjoyed reading the article you posted "Fighting Stigma" on the DBSA website. The piece that particularly struck me was the section on "Self-Stigma". I didn't realize it until I read it but that's the phase I've been in for 2 years now. I feel like I am deteriorating. Some of the medication side effects cause memory lapses, slowed down thinking, tiredness, and weight gain. Other things such as having a low stress threshold and not being able to stay on top of the finances without my hubby's help. All of these things put a knick in my interior and exterior armor... I start to feel dumb and weak. Almost like I am wasting away. I don't see the positive side effects to living with this disorder. I know I have time to heal this but for now, I definitely have to fight the "self stigma".

Another interesting thing I have noticed when disclosing about living with bipolar (I always say "living with" instead of "have") is that people look at me and ALWAYS say, "You don't look like you have bipolar. You seem so normal and put together. I wouldn't have ever guessed it if you had not said anything." That drives me nuts! They are confirming the stigma that people with bipolar disorder are crazy and supposed to look that way. If I look at it their way though, I can understand. Media and movies make us seem like we are crazy, uncouth, and dangerous. That needs to change but I don't know how we change that.

DEBTEVELDAHL, the website you shared looks like a good one. I want to read ALL of the articles for the page you posted! Thank you for sharing :-)

I have a mixed bag with my familyl. My hubby supports me with it, gets frustrated but loves me despite it. I'm in constant fear of when that might change though. My 12.5 year old daughter thinks it's unique and not embarrassed of it at all... it was interesting when she told me her perspective. The rest of the family (mine and my hubby's) treats it like there is an elephant in the room that we don't want to discuss. My mom will ask but once I start talking she usually needs to tend to something else or needs to go. The only family member I have who empathizes, asks, and understands is my grandma. I cherish her because of that. I wasn't diagnosed with bipolar until 8-years ago but I look back in history and I definitely displayed the symptoms as early as my elementary school years but was never formally diagnosed with it even when they had me in a psych hospital at age 13.

Some friends accept me and others over the years have quietly receded to the corner. Most see me as strong and look at me in awe at having this disorder and managing so well. Either they are not listening and remembering when I tell them of my bad days or they are kidding themselves :-)

DEBTEVELDAHL, yes, getting consistent, accurate, and quality treatment is a must. It makes such a difference. I hate always taking medications and worry about the side-effects but I try to push those thoughts aside and remember that I only have now and to make the best of the now. One thing that I have valued out of this whole experience is that when I come out of a depressive or manic mood I seem to value my life and the lives around me more. It's like a gift to me. That, that is a treasure.

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6/22/16 11:58 A

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Consistent treatment is a definite must. There were times that I thought I could do without it, but I was quickly proven wrong. It's those times that the disorder got the best of me.

Audrey
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DEBTEVELDAHL's Photo DEBTEVELDAHL Posts: 15,045
6/22/16 9:42 A

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I never had much problem with being accepted by my family and friends. Unlike Audreye, I wasn't officially diagnosed and medicated until the age of 42. I knew that I was bipolar, I just never allowed anyone to diagnose me until that age. I started off trying to get a diagnosis at the age of 23. Bipolar disorder ruined my first and second marriages. It was very difficult to explain myself to my spouses. I wish that I had done more research earlier in my life than I did and I wish that the help I sought out at an early age had been out there for me. I've had a battery of psychiatrists that have seen over the years. They put me on medications that I could not stand due to side effects, so I largely ignored the diagnosis of bipolar disorder that I received when I was 23. I just chose to ignore that there was help out there and I waited until I was in my 40's to do much about the diagnosis. Of course in that 20 years there were advances made in the area of drugs that were prescribed and the system of treatment for the bipolar. Still I had problems sometimes making myself understood. My problems stemmed solely from the fact that I did not stabilize until my 40's. Not seeking consistent treatment really affected my relationships. Deb emoticon

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance - Samuel Johnson
Deb
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URBANAUDREYE's Photo URBANAUDREYE SparkPoints: (129,176)
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6/21/16 4:53 P

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I hear that, Nancy. I've always been like this as well... which is why I was diagnosed at such an abnormally early age (under 5). I guess that's why my immediate family can accept it more than the members that I haven't lived with constantly over the past 30 years. The first 5 years of my life when I also lived with my grandfather, he didn't stay around much, so my grandmother knew and accepted "me"

Audrey
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NANCYRUBIO2 Posts: 1,483
6/21/16 11:18 A

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Thank you. My family thinks I am normal. This is the way I have always been, so I am normal to them. No one else matters.

DEBTEVELDAHL's Photo DEBTEVELDAHL Posts: 15,045
6/20/16 12:32 P

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Hi everybody,

Thank you for this topic Ubanaudreye!! It is so important and we all have had times when we've suffered discrimination and disdain from others who have no idea how it is to be bipolar. All the time in the movies and in the public eye bipolar has been misportrayed. Even this latest shooting in Florida had the ex wife labeling the shooter as "bipolar", even though there is no evidence to support that claim. Some of us have had trouble in relationships and with relatives or friends who struggle to understand our disorder. I am with Audreye when she says that bipolar is a disorder!! I classify it as that too. I have a link to some articles that are within the parameters of this discussion regarding relationships and the difficulties of coping with bipolar disorder. This link is from the an international bipolar organization and may be helpful to some who are struggling with understanding and acceptance from others. I hope that you all enjoy the link.

ibpf.org/blog/relationships

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance - Samuel Johnson
Deb
PST - Pacific Standard Time - West Coast
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Co leader of the Living with Bipolar Disorder


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URBANAUDREYE's Photo URBANAUDREYE SparkPoints: (129,176)
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6/19/16 8:59 P

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This week's topic: The stigma surrounding bipolar disorder

www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?
pa
gename=help_advocacy_stigma


We've all dealt with it. Whether from friends, family, coworkers, classmates...ourselves. People who are uninformed of everything our disorder involves are quick to pass judgement. Looking at us like we are less than because we are afflicted with a condition that we cannot change. It is up to us to change the way others think and feel about those that "suffer" from bipolar disorder.

Personally I hate using the word suffer. When possible I prefer to embrace the "disorder". There can be so many uplifting facets to it (Hello, hyperfocus). And the stigma... I've dealt with it, from multiple directions. Worst, from my family. Right now I am blessed because my husband understands. He finds it fascinaing even. My parents and brothers, well, they've lived with it day in and day out for the past 3 decades and don't make me feel any worse for it. My aunt and my grandfather though... they don't understand that sometimes I need my space because I'm going through things. They don't understand what sometimes seems as sudden flips of the switch on my mood. I've had them threaten to call the cops on me because sometimes when I need to decompress I just scream... as long and as loud as I can, especially if they're crowding me.

Audrey
NEPA - EST

My 5% goal

Current Weight 219
Target Weight 208
By When: March 3, 2018


Winter 5% Challenge Plan
MINIMUM 10 active minutes daily
Full Body strength training 3x a week
Only eat when hungry.
Drink that water!!!

EL for Winter 2018 5% Challenge Weight Warriors

Co-Leader of Living with Bipolar Disorder
Join Us!
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=1831


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 current weight: 211.0 
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