Maybe, nothing. Maybe, nothing…to your face. Maybe they’ll be supportive and ask questions and how they can assist you. Chances are, alone, someone will tell you that they, too, have been diagnosed with something. OR they will tell you that they have a horror story about someone who knew someone who knew someone who lost their shit and caused some catastrophe. YOU are not that person. You are not broken. You are not damaged. You are a sick person, like someone with diabetes, whose health can be managed with care. Medication, therapy, a psychiatrist. Do not go on like you want to be “normal”, like everyone else and hide it. Trust me, I did it and it blew up in my face (read some of my other blogs to hear a bit about my story).
Here’s an idea, don’t gather everyone you know together to announce, “Hey guys, I have Bipolar Disorder!” Find your most trusting, supportive friend and tell them, and then cry it out. It’s OK to not be OK about this. Then, come up with a game plan about who you want/need to tell. These are going to be your “safe people”. If no one has told you yet, you’ll need something called a “Crisis Plan” because, at 2:30a, sometimes, you feel VERY alone and need someone to talk to. To cry to. To sob so bad it feels like your insides are coming out of your body.
What you need, more than anything, is a crisis list with at least 5 people on it, in order of who you would call first. You also need a number to a crisis line, which might need to come first, here’s a good one:https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ Secondly, talking to your close friends and family about the actual support you need from them. Here’s my thing: Basically, treat me like I’m just an OK, healthy person until I say to you “I’m having a bad day” because, if I’m feeling bad enough to say it out loud, the people around me know it’s bad. Even though, it may be painful and people might use these when they DON’T actually apply, tell those closest to you, what your warning signs are that things might be unraveling. if you’re comfortable with it, you may bring some of those people with you to a therapy session to help a professional explain these things to them.
You are not responsible for how other people react to anything. It’s a hard and an important lesson to learn, but it’s completely true, I promise. All you can do is spend time with them as you did before and hope for the best. I’m going to say it again, you are not responsible for how people feel about you having a mental illness. Their own preconceptions are not yours. That’s their problem.
If you haven’t read my other blogs, you wouldn’t know that I myself have PTSD and a condition called PNES or psychogenic non-epileptic seizures or, more recently called “Dissociative Seizures”. What happens is that, since I’ve begun having these seizures, I HAVE lost friends. I’m not going to lie, but there are reasons. People are afraid I’ll have a seizure while I’m out with them, they won’t know what to do, there’ll be a scene, and they won’t know what to do and they’ll be embarrassed. People have also lost their designated driver because I never really drank much, but with unpredictable seizures, I can’t exactly drive. And, now, I have an official, sometimes, visible mental illness. If you lose friends, you have to assess, were they really “friends” at all?
All Pics come from FreePiks and Title Pic is made using Canva (DISCLAIMER: I do not receive any monetary benefits from anything that I refer to in this blog or sites I use to acquire pics.)