Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Openness About Having Bipolar Disorder

I seem to be on a bipolar roll regarding my thinking process lately. Been getting on/off my soapbox in my status updates on Facebook, re-posting mental health tweets on know, that kind of thing. Anyway, I think some people wonder why I am so open about my illness so I'll take a short bit to discuss that.

If you read my "About Me" section on the sidebar it tells much of the story. I have attempted suicide multiple times since my diagnosis beginning in about 1997. Truthfully, I'm into the double digits now with my last attempt probably in the early 2000's but with plenty of suicidal thinking since then. If you notice, my side bar is full of two subject...suicide prevention and running. Unfortunately for me and the family, my diagnosis happened when the kids were young...about 8-9 years old. Each of them found me at least once after a suicide attempt so there's a lot of resentment from them on that. I was only actually hospitalized once for an overdose of a whole large bottle of a pain/sleep aid plus some other assorted meds. The rest of the time I was found quickly and had induced vomiting soon enough that very little entered my system. The husband has had to deal with the illness sometimes being "my rock" of foundation and other times having to deal with his own issues leaving me as the caregiver.

I've never been shy about discussing my diagnosis whether at work/public/teaching/online, especially when I'm in a relatively "stable" or hypomanic frame of mind. Heck, I even taught psych/mental health nursing for four years explaining to students that I did in fact have a mental illness and my goal was not only to teach them content but also to help them get over the stigma/fear of the mentally ill. To me it's just my small gift to help educate people regarding mental illness and the stigma associated with it. I hope that in my lifetime that the stigma will dissolve but I have my doubts since the media, although some more positive portrayals have occurred in the last decade, still points towards mental illness being the cause of a majority of violent offenses even when there is no concrete proof that the culprit has a mental illness. Sometimes even families of these people don't help because of the "Well, he/she's acted like they had mental problems because..." types of statements.

This is a recent status update that I posted on my Facebook account in response to this image:

"Too true! Get educated about mental's not all it's exploited to be in the media!! There are plenty of everyday persons who have had successful careers, famous artists/authors/actors and people we don't know about publicly that have been diagnosed with some kind of mental illness. 
The mentally ill are NOT people to be afraid of...we are simply people with an illness originating in our brain through chemical imbalance, bad circuitry in the electrical impulses of the brain, traumatic brain injury amongst other causes.
We are simply people with an illness just like any other physical ailment. I am NOT my disorder. I am NOT bipolar...I HAVE bipolar disorder.
For more info visit some of these links:
National Alliance on Mental Illness:
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance:
National Institute of Mental Health:
Stand Up for Mental Health: : http//
These are just a few of the places to go to learn about the realities of mental illness, the harm that stigma causes for those with mental illness and general information about different mental illnesses.
*Stepping off my know that this is a topic close to my heart!*"
So like I said! Get me and mental health organizations to educate the general public that the mentally ill are not to be feared.. We are just people with an illness, much like many other people who are out there in the world with some type of physical illness. That is all.


  1. Thank you for all you help and support. I joined that campaign and am going to do the Namiwalk in September to help stop the stigma.

  2. I also talked with my husband and he is OK with me going public about my disorder even if that means it may be harder for me to find a job. He truly has my back on this one. Thank you again you have made a difference..never would have thought another runner would come forward like this. You are truly my inspiration.

  3. Happy to be of service Caroline! If you have any questions you can contact me here or on FB/Twitter. As long as I'm in a stable frame of mind I'll help all I can. You'll know if I'm not doing well because I'll disappear from the online networks for as long as it takes to get a little more stable...took almost 6 months last year for me to come back online. :(

    Good luck to you and so glad you have a supportive husband! :)