Glad I have been open with people around me about being in treatment for mental illness. Because one person approached me today. After having talked to a counselor. Who recommended that she regularly see a therapist.
She said if I had not talked to her about my own treatment that
1. she would have been unlikely to see the counselor in the first place
2. she would have seen therapy as a cop-out, as something that was for other people
3. she would have believed that she needed to solve everything on her own
But, the counselor told her something that resonated with her. Something that sounded like a discussion we'd had. And she will get help to deal with the world that is crumbling all around... the ground that is being yanked out from under her feet.
Super super super glad for this direct first-hand knowledge of the positive effects of my being "out" as a person being treated for mental illness.
Matter of fact.
This is who I am.
I have this condition.
This is how I take care of it.
If you have a condition, I highly recommend seeking treatment.
It makes a difference.
It is still scary for me to "come out" as bipolar in a way that it was not scary for me to admit to being Depressed. I am less scared of the diagnosis as I have come to know more about the ways that the condition manifests. Less scared as I experience positive outcomes after being treated for the correct illness.
But bipolar is a way scarier-sounding condition. And there is a shock value when bringing it up with other people. And the topic of bipolar disorder very rarely comes out in casual conversation.
In this case I think that Depression benefits in an odd way from sharing a name with a sad mood. Because people have been sad. They know sad. So you say you are Depressed, and people who have been sad can relate. (The down side of that, so to speak, is the feeling that Depressed is the same as sad and you should be able to just get over it.)
But bipolar is not a mood. It is only a mood disorder.
In this case, I don't think any particular diagnosis was the key. Just being able to have a normal conversation about seeking counseling, finding a therapist, and getting the help you need.
Quaker, teacher, parent,