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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fear Not

I'm in shock.

Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of meeting my new bishop (leader of our congregation) and for the third time in my life I was floored. This was the third person in the history of me who hasn't physically backed off when I brought up the dreaded "B word." Yes folks, I said I have Bipolar Disorder and he just sat there... smiling! Not that creepy "sucks to be you" kind of thing, but smiling out of genuine interest in me and my struggles.

The other two people to do this were a lady in the congregation and a friend of mine who's mother also suffers. It's nice to have these encounters because it means that the stigmas are falling. Slowly but surely we are breaking the molds that society has placed on us. 

We all know how it is with stigmatisers- they're the ones telling us it's all in our heads, asking if we're going to shoot up the place, and telling us to just get over it- but there are those kind souls who aren't afflicted who sympathise. The real golden ticket is the one who doesn't jump back at the drop of something besides depression. I've found three.

There are millions of things I wish people understood about mental illness in general, but a few things I wish they knew about Bipolar Disorder are:
  • It's not our fault we have it
  • Most of us aren't violent
  • We struggle more internally than you'll ever see
  • Medications help, but they're not miracle workers
  • All we need is a little patience and compassion
  • We have exactly zero control over our moods
  • Rapid Cycling is exactly what it sounds like
  • You don't need to be afraid
I've learned that there really are people out there who understand this last concept. I just wish there were more. Until there are, I'll cherish these three encounters with all my heart.

To those who sympathise, empathise, and try to understand us... Thank You!

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