Are you uncomfortable and don’t know what to say? Is this why the majority have ignored me? Well you are in for a bumpy ride. I can guarantee that when my son died you had no earthly idea what to do or say, but you DID sent cards and called. When someone is dying from a PHYSICAL illness or is enduring a PHYSICAL illness, you reach out. I have not been home (Buffalo) in 3 years (could be a clue) and had the COURAGE to publicise my illness, including its severity and I can count the responses on my 2 hands. It would be hypocritical to send cards and attend funerals for those ignored during their illness, wouldn’t you think? Some Bipolar Disorder stats for you; there is no cure, the illness is in my fucking face everyday, life expectancy cut by 9 years, suicide is the number one cause of premature death, 25-50% attempt suicide once, one in five are successful, Bipolar Disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability in the world, affects 5.5 million in USA, 1/3 of homeless population have Bipolar, 90% divorce rate, 50% with drug addiction, bankruptcy and financial issues are higher, ……….
“The stigmatization and the excruciating pains of social alienation have compelled most victims to conceal their status while the malevolent ones continue to distribute the virus free of charge to unsuspecting men and women” ― Oche Otorkpa, The Unseen Terrorist
Suicide-for those of you who view this as cowardly and selfish, try putting this in your pipe and smoking it….
When we criticize the suicidal for being selfish, we are actually criticizing them for not enduring their pain with grace and good manners. These are nice qualities; we may be correct to reproach average citizens for not having them. But to expect everyone in pain to have them is unrealistic. Bearing pain quietly is what moralists call a supererogatory act–an act that is above the call of duty. Expecting everyone to who is suicidal to behave in a way that is morally above average is simply abusive.” ― David L. Conroy, Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain
“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” ― Shannon L. Alder
It is sad that I had to seek internet studies and writings to validate my feelings
Think about what it would be like to spend most of your time alone because being around other people is just too difficult. You feel that others are judging you for your mental illness, and so you are scared to face the world. You withdraw to avoid this stigmatization. This social withdrawal is emotionally very costly. But this is a two-way street — the mentally ill withdraw from society–society withdraws from them
Social relationships are important for anyone in maintaining health, but for the mentally ill it is especially important. People with mental illness value contact with family. But families may be unwilling to interact with their mentally ill family member. Social isolation is also sometimes due to the unwillingness of others to befriend the mentally ill. The public may avoid them altogether. The stigma associated with mental illness creates huge barriers to socialization.
Another reason the person with mental illness may experience social isolation is the nature of their mental illness. Social phobias like agoraphobia, or severe anxiety or depression often cause the suffering person to be afraid to venture out into society.
When anyone, mentally ill or not, does not have enough social contact, it affects them mentally and even physically. Loneliness creates stress, taking a toll on health. Other things affected can be the ability to learn and memory function. High blood pressure is also seen. It can be the trigger of depression and alcoholism. (2) Imagine the consequences, then, if you are already depressed or have other mental illnesses? Loneliness can make you worse. Loneliness and loss of self-worth lead many mentally ill to believe that they are useless, and so they live with a sense of hopelessness and low self-esteem
Too often the public does not understand the challenges of the mentally ill and doesn’t want to try. It is therefore necessary to confront biased social attitudes in order to reduce the discrimination and stigma of people who are living with mental illness.
|WHAT HELPS||WHAT HURTS|
|I know you have a real illness and that’s what causes these thoughts and feelings.||It’s all in your head.|
|I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.||We all go through times like this.|
|You are important to me. Your life is important to me.||You have so much to live for– why do you want to die?|
|Tell me what I can do now to help you.||What do you want me to do? I can’t do anything about your situation.|
|You might not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.||Just snap out of it. Look on the bright side.|
|You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.||You’ll be fine. Stop worrying.|
|Talk to me. I’m listening.||Here’s my advice…|
|I am here for you. We will get through this together.||What’s wrong with you? Shouldn’t you be better by now?|
Oft-times the diagnosis of bipolar distances people even more greatly from their empathy, removing people’s compassion for the suffering one who lives with this disease. Without that compassion and empathy, we become unable to hear the cries and screams of our loved ones with a bipolar diagnosis. At the same time, in their minds, people’s silence and “not knowing what to say” equates to them hearing us screaming back at them to “snap out of it”. Meanwhile, that same pregnant silence makes the opportunity to openly discuss what’s going on in the mind of our loved one with bipolar even more remote.
In other words, we experience unheard screaming in the silence: First and foremost, society’s silence, in refusing to have an open, frank and meaningful conversation about mental illness. Bipolar manic depression seems to be the most misunderstood diagnosis. Secondarily, there is the silence of the One trying to communicate what dire straights they are in (while they are in a downward spiral). And last, but not least, there is the silence of those living with and around those living with bipolar. The sad fact is, all the while, a distress signal is being sounded – but unheard.
We must also remind people that we may have a mental illness, but we are NOT the mental illness, itself.
Severe anxiety can literally cause physical pain to the point of mimicking a heart attack, yet many people are told to get some fresh air or try deep breaths. Someone with bi-polar disorder, who may be having a manic episode, can seem irritated or agitated — “So maybe we need stay away from Dave at work today because he’s in one of his moods again.” Someone with depression may not be able to get out of bed to hang out with friends — “Stop being a baby and come out!” All of this advice from friends, co-workers, and family, may seem light-hearted and they may be done with the best of intentions, but it is usually these words that seriously affect the way a person acts and reacts to others with regards to their condition. Not only do people with mental health conditions suffer inside, they are judged on a daily basis by those closest to us. “What’s wrong with her again”, “You’d feel better if you left your house once in a while”, “You’re just having a bad day”.
“Not only do I feel like absolute crap, I then have to convince others, or prove that I have a legitimate reason for feeling this way. “Dealing with a mental illness can often be a very lonely, misunderstood place where you feel stuck no matter what you try to improve conditions. Imagine the battles we face daily in our own heads, now add the stress of dealing with the outside judgmental world.
Sympathy towards those with physical conditions flows freely. If we as a society can somehow react the same way towards someone struggling with a mental health condition, life could be a little bit easier for them. It’s not helpful to dismiss how someone may be feeling , like their mental health issues are not legitimate or valid. In fact it can actually make things worse. You think most people want to wake up and feel like they can’t even get out of bed to shower, or that we want to worry about things so far in advance to the point it makes us physically ill? Most of us with mental health conditions so badly want to live a “normal life”, but we still need to realize our limits and take care of ourselves.
In a nutshell, bipolar people have troubles due to the symptoms of the illness and others who do not understand associate the stigma and prejudice. That can only hurt those with bipolar disorder. It doesn’t help anyone. It only alienates those who have the disorder, and then, it just picks at them to their core.
Social Distancing- when people feel that an individual with mental illness is dangerous, that results in fear and increased social distance. This social distancing may result in the experience of social isolation or loneliness on the part of people with mental illness. This stigma and social distancing have the potential to worsen the well-being of people with mental illness in several ways. First, the experience of social rejection and isolation that comes from stigma has the potential for direct harmful effects. It has long been understood that social isolation is associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes and even early mortality – “the lethality of loneliness.”
More, people with mental health issues recognize and internalize this stigma to develop a strong “self-stigma.” This self-stigma will often undermine self-efficacy, resulting in a “why try” attitude that can worsen prospects of recovery. Further, as people begin to experience symptoms of their mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, stigma may cause some people to try to avoid, separate from or suppress these feelings, all of which have been linked to the worsening of well-being.
Thank you to the 10 people who reached out to me and NOT a close family member of mine (those supportive words never reaching my ears). I refuse to acknowledge your concern and would appreciate help destroying the stigma of mental illness you are supporting instead. Send a card or call someone (other than me) with a mental illness and let them know you care. They might not respond, but that is part of the mental illness package…….
Emmy award-winning actress Glenn Close has launched a BringChange2Mind Campaign to fight stigma