You Have No Idea

If you’ve never dealt with a mental disorder, you have no idea. You don’t know what it’s like to be so sad that you can’t crawl out of it. Or to act out in a way that makes even yourself embarrassed. You don’t know what it’s like to carry around a “secret” that you are too afraid to share because of the stigmas.

People have their own opinions, and are allowed them, but when I hear others talk about how there is never a need for medication for emotional and mental disorders, it hurts and makes me angry. There are also those who think there is no such thing as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. If you don’t suffer from it and have never been through it, you have no clue and don’t have a right to speak.

I have bipolar disorder, and although I have it under control now, I went through years and years of my life knowing that something wasn’t right, but I was too afraid to speak up and do anything about it because I didn’t want others to look at me differently. I have not completely gotten over this, but I am less inclined to sit back and let others make fun or pretend like it isn’t real.

I still get depressed for reasons that are unknown to me. If you’ve never been depressed, let me explain what it feels like for me (it’s different for everyone). Depression is like tar – it’s sticky, smelly, and no one want to willingly deal with it. Once it hardens, it’s tough to get rid of. Imagine never being happy about anything. Imagine not being able to get out of bed in the morning because you truly feel that there is no reason to and your body physically won’t let you.

“No one cares about me anymore.” “I bet if I was gone, no one would even care.” “Why am I even here? What’s the point?” This is what goes through my head. I can give myself all the pep talks in the world, but that self-doubt is what takes over – I can’t move because of it.

Things that I normally enjoy – exercising, reading, spending time with my son – seem like a chore or there is no inclination to participate at all. My medication helps with all of this, but it doesn’t make the depression go away completely. I’ve got techniques that I use now and I know when I am getting depressed and what I can do to pull myself out of it before it gets too bad. It’s still there though, and always will be.

The other aspect of bipolar disorder is becoming manic. No, this doesn’t mean people go insane, it simply means that a person will have erratic and over-the-top behavior. What’s so bad about this part of the disorder – besides the over-spending, over-drinking, and/or drug use – is when the morning comes, regret is the first emotion felt. With the regret, comes depression, and the depression just gets deeper and deeper. It’s a roller coaster of a ride, and not a fun one.

Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who #1, stayed with me after going through all of  this and #2, confronted me about it and urged me to get help. Like I said before, I knew something was wrong, but I was too afraid to admit it. If I said it out loud, that meant it would be true, and I was so embarrassed about that.

It took me a while to get over feeling ashamed of having bipolar disorder, and I still don’t share it with everyone because I know I will be treated differently, and that’s sad. This makes me who I am, and if people aren’t okay with that, I don’t need or want them in my life. What really upsets me though, is people who talk about mental disorders when they know nothing about them. You can read all you want, but if you’ve never experienced it, then you can’t possibly know what a person is going through.

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