When I first got my diagnosis of bipolar (and decided that I was not going to hide it), I gratuitously shared this information with everyone I knew. Hi, nice day today, by the way I have bipolar disorder. It wasn't information that could fit comfortably into normal conversation, so I just subverted all normal conversation by blurting out my bipolarity.
Now I am more graceful about this. But still not hiding. So the whole being "in the closet" at work kinda rankles. A fellow In Our Own Voice presenter asked if I were concerned that someone from work could show up at a presentation that I do, or recognize my picture on a NAMI newsletter.
Still living my life in the way that I should be able to be open and honest. And if they are interested enough to find out about me-- especially through an event designed to decrease stigma for mental illness-- then so much the better.
I also realized that I am not stuck in the closet or out of the closet. Not binary. Not one or the other. Not black or white. I feel comfortable talking with some people about this and so I can and I do.
Like any other health concern, I suppose. Or life stuff in general. You don't go running around telling everyone that you had a skin biopsy. Or that you need orthotics due to plantar facieitis. Or that you are getting divorced or remarried or that your great aunt is in the hospital. But people that you know, that you have a relationship with, people that you do talk to about these things... that is something.
I guess what I am saying is that I am not going to make some grand statement to my administration disclosing my mental health diagnosis. But I am comfortable sharing with some of my coworkers that I am a volunteer speaker with NAMI. And when they ask about what I do, I am happy to tell them.
Already tried this with one person. She was familiar with NAMI and thought it was great that I was involved with the organization. She has a close friend with bipolar and shared that she was glad I was doing so well. That it has been hard for her friend to find medications that did not make her feel terrible and gain a lot of weight.
Getting used to thinking of myself as person first and diagnosis somewhere way down the list:
Hello. I have bipolar disorder.
Grateful Crap: planning time at school. getting to know coworkers beyond just classroom stuff
Meds (sent Spouse to pick up refill today)
sleep (slept for crap last night, though. Start of a cold. Hope it was the finish of a cold too)
exercise (waiting for fitbit to arrive. i thought what the heck. give it a shot)
healthy food. (a bit concerned that children may be getting too much variety and soforth in their diet)
Quaker, teacher, parent,