Skip to main content
Illustration of people sitting and standing

New here?

Chat with other people who 'Get it'

with health professionals in the background to make sure everything is safe and supportive.

Register

Have an account?
Login

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Something’s not right

Caringsoul73
Senior Contributor

Accepting my illness

Hello,

I'm new to the forum and really just reaching out. 
Loving mother of two teenage kids and wife, I have Bipolar 1. I find that all things considered, I've been the best mum and wife I can be and have an amazing husband as support. Mostly, we live a relatively normal family life comprising all of the things everyday families take part in ( kids sports, volunteering, work etc) and share time with friends and family. 
Even though our family setting is stable, I suffer terribly from just having this illness, the label and diagnosis has taken the best part of almost two decades to accept. When my children were born, I felt immense guilt for being a mother with this label. I covered up the illness from family and friends and we dealt with it behind closed doors. I sometimes look back at my strength over the years raising a family and managing this illness. 
My mother passed away when the children were very young and I never shared my diagnosis with her ( although I suspect she knew something ) and my father doesn't know. 
In short, I've felt lonely for not sharing my illness with anyone and decided a few years ago to tell my mother in law about my first manic episode and diagnosis. Honestly, I thought she'd understand but instead she just ignored it, looked annoyed changed subject and it's never been discussed since. 
My question is, how can one ever truly be honest about the ugliness of mental health conditions? I mean, I'm trying to accept it as an illness, but why the guilt? Is it because I was a perfectionist who never wanted this tag? It's directly linked to self esteem. 
Thank you for listening Smiley Happy

25 REPLIES 25

Re: Accepting my illness

@Caringsoul73  Hi, and welcome to the forums.

 

I love your name choice, it says so much about you.

 

You have done/ are doing well. MI is hard to live with, absolutely no one would disagree. But finding people who understand, outside of the lived experience, is a difficult one. Most people who understand, have had someone close to them, and many spend time being informed .

 

I’m sorry your mother-in-law is not someone who understands. There still is a lot of stigma around this subject, and it takes courage to speak out about it. That’s all we can do. We can’t make anyone understand, if they don’t want to.

 

You are doing an amazing job, don’t let anyone rob you of that.

 

If you would like to join other conversations, you will meet many here who do understand. Take care.

Re: Accepting my illness

Hey @Caringsoul73

Welcome to the forums! I'm one of the moderators. It takes so much courage to share some of your story. I'm sorry to hear that for so much of your life this diagnosis has been something you carried and didn't feel able to share, that can be so isolating.

 

This is a pretty supportive place. I hope you find connection and people who can think with you about these questions. Don't hesitate to ask the members or moderators questions about how it all works. And put an @ in front of a member's username if you want them to get a notification of your post!

 

@greenpea thought I would tag you, no pressure to reply and apologies if I have mistaken your diagnosis 🌻 

Re: Accepting my illness

@Maggie 
Hi Maggie,

Nice to meet you and thank you fir your lovely reply! I am very caring as a person for sure Smiley Happy 

 

I still have problems with the secrecy around my illness especially when I'm running around attending to everyone else but struggling at different times myself. 

I really appreciate your reply and encouragement of me. 

I look forward to connecting with you again Smiley Happy

 

Re: Accepting my illness

Hey @Caringsoul73 ,

lovely to meet you. 
I am here for you, you don't have to do this alone. It's hard but it's worth the fight 

Re: Accepting my illness

@Tortoiseshell 

Hello and lovely to meet you. Thank you for your reply and also your help in navigating the forum!! 
I really appreciate your encouragement Smiley Happy

I do look forward to listening and sharing with others on the forum. 
Yes keeping a lid on the diagnosis poses a problem in life because I can't tell someone if I'm overwhelmed etc or why I need to step back for a while to take care of the family on a less chaotic scale so because I do everything, keep going people think I'm okay!

I don't want to share because of fear of how people will perceive me. It's okay when I'm complimented for doing a great job at this or that etc, that's fantastic but I wonder what they'll think if a label was placed against me. Would they still think of me the same etc, how would that affect my children etc. This is the isolation it causes. For many years I've just kept a lid on things to save my reputation I guess. 

Re: Accepting my illness

@Candydipper1 

Hello,

lovely to meet you Smiley Happy

Thank you so much! I extend my support to you as well, always here to listen and care. 

Re: Accepting my illness

Thanks @Caringsoul73 

 

Things aren't great... I'll tag you in my thread

Re: Accepting my illness

hi @Caringsoul73 

i dont have a family that understands either. actually they seem to understand it as long as its not me e.g if someones depressed or anxious they will help them but when it comes to me im an attention seeker so i always have to be ok even when im not. i cant talk to anyone or have bad days around them. any professional help i seek has to be very well hidden as well.

i guess having an unsupportive family can make it hard to accept. ive tried very hard to accept that its part of me. but i also know it doesnt define me. i may have the mh condition all my life and thats really daunting but theres also so much out there that we can do to help ourselves cope better.

Re: Accepting my illness

Hi @Caringsoul73 

 

My question is, how can one ever truly be honest about the ugliness of mental health conditions? I mean, I'm trying to accept it as an illness, but why the guilt? Is it because I was a perfectionist who never wanted this tag? It's directly linked to self esteem. 

 

Of course you never wanted the tag - and yes -  I would say it could easily be connected to a lack of self-esteem and this has to be hard - but my question first was - I haven't seen mental illness as ugly nor heard anyone else say that either - I am interested - who told you it was ugly? Or do you see that yourself

 

I think the guilt is pretty common - and for women we are taught we have to be a certain way from birth and when we don't turn out the way we are told to - then we get flack from our parents and from society

 

And society is not kind about mental health - perhaps we have to change our own thoughts on our condition - if we see it as ugly then other people will agree with it - amazing that - if we saw it as beautiful then other people wouldn't - but what can we do about how we perceive things?

 

How do you live your life with a family and children? Are your children well and happy? - being well cared for and educated? - if this is the case then you are doing something well.

 

You may feel as if you have failed having BiPolar - would you feel that way if you had caught coronavirus - because I am pretty sure people who catch this devastating illness don't go out looking for it. It does seem as if it's terrible and yes of course it is - but not psychologically ugly. Physically really unpleasant - yes of course - 

 

I am guessing you are grieving your mother and the fact you never talked about your BiPolar with her - talking about things like that required people to listen and I think you really wish your MIL had listened but no - and that's on her - not you

 

I hear you are lonely - but you are not ugly and there is no need to feel guily over something you didn't cause to happen - 

 

Can you share what is beautiful in your life - your children for example

 

Sending my best thoughts and I am glad you posted

 

Dec

 

Illustration of people sitting and standing

New here?

Chat with other people who 'Get it'

with health professionals in the background to make sure everything is safe and supportive.

Register

Have an account?
Login

For urgent assistance: