My Experience With Telling My Family I Had An Illness.

“I suffer from a life long illness called Bipolar that effects my moods among other things. 
Bipolar Disorder makes me have extreme mood swings, from mania to depression, they don’t necessarily have anything to do with what’s going on in my life. A depressive episode for me looks like persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, isolation, or hopelessness; disturbances in sleep, fatigue and loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities; problems concentrating; loneliness, shyness or social anxiety; irritability, chronic pain (without a known cause); lack of motivation. In severe cases of depression, I may become psychotic which means I hear voices and see things, I also can become very paranoid. 
When i’m manic i’m irritable. I commonly experience an increase in energy and a decreased need for sleep (I can stay up for days at a time with no need for sleep). I talk fast and my thoughts are racing. My attention span is very low, and i’m easily distracted. My judgment may become impaired, and I may go on spending sprees or engage in behaviour that is quite abnormal (Like strange idea to do things, or start something I cant finish). I may feel out of control or unstoppable. In the past I have felt that I have been “chosen” or am “on a special mission” also, I have had other grandiose or delusional ideas. When I am in a manic state I experience severe anxiety and are very irritable. 
Hypomania is generally a mild to moderate level of mania, characterized by optimism, pressure of speech and activity, and decreased need for sleep. When i’m hypomaniac i’m more productive than usual. I can have increased creativity. I generally have increased energy and tend to become more active than usual. Hypomania usually feels good. 
Sometimes I have mixed Bipolar where symptoms of mania and depression occur simultaneously (for example, agitation, anxiety, confusion, fatigue, impulsiveness, insomnia, irritability, panic, paranoia, fast speech, racing thoughts and restlessness)
Bipolar disorder is also called manic depression, and is caused by electrochemical abnormalities in the brain, it is also genetic (my mother has major depressive disorder), Experiences in life can trigger the onset of Bipolar Disorder. 
I am a rapid cycler — that means I can be ultra-excited one day and deeply depressed the next, for no obvious reason. I get into what are called “mixed states” when I seem to have a lot of energy but at the same time am really down, angry or panicky. Inappropriate anger can be a symptom of bipolar disorder. I might say or have said hurtful things that I really don’t mean — I’m sorry.”

That is the message that I sent to a few family members. I guess I wasn’t too surprised by the reactions that I got from most people, but it still upset me greatly. Most people said nothing and haven’t talked to me since. That includes my parents, grandma, cousins. aunts,   friends, etc… My in-laws were the only ones who talked about it. My cousin said that her boyfriend also had it and it was hard to deal with sometimes, buts thats all she ever said. We dont talk much any more and we havent talked about Bipolar since I told her. I guess when you share this information with family you really do find out who is there for you. Unfortunately most of my family and friends left me. Thanks to facebook  I have had the opportunity to meet some great people who are going threw the same stuff as me. If you want to copy what I wrote and send it to your family members go ahead. I thought it explained it well and decided if I was going to tell them, I was going to tell it all. My father in-law said it was very helpful and he had no idea that there were so many symptoms caused by Bipolar Disorder. I find no matter how many times I tell them about whats going on they still dont understand or remember, especially if they dont see me everyday.  If anyone has any tips for educating your family about this disorder please share in the comments below.


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