I’m Totally Outting Myself

You didn’t know I was bipolar, did you? Secret’s out. I’m out of the bipolar closet. There’s a reason you didn’t know. There’s a reason most of the people in my life didn’t know, so don’t take it personally. I chose to keep it to myself from pretty much everybody. You see, everyone who suffers from a mental illness knows there is a huge stigma surrounding it. The lack of love and support typically extended to a bipolar person can be crushing. I have experienced it on many occasions. From friends and close family members to acquaintances and I dare say people I don’t know, who I’ve met in the grocery store. To some extent I used to think “you can’t blame them” because they don’t know about mental illness, but with the number of people suffering in the country—and in the world today— now I think you can “blame them”, but we have to take a step to educate. Time is up on ignorance. The time has come to make a change!

Several of my hurtful stigma-related issues in recent years are when people tell me some form of their opinion of bipolar disorder, not knowing of my bipolarity. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who think bipolar women shouldn’t be allowed to have children.  In the past I’ve never called them out, or said anything and maybe it’s insecurity, but maybe it’s really smart to protect myself? I’m not sure, and it’s a pretty fine line between the two. I hate how the stigma always leaves me with a feeling that I have something to prove. As if I have to prove that I am normal. What is normal anyways?

This is me.

This is me.

Statistically one in four people suffer from some form of mental illness. This basically suggest that there’s someone (at least ONE) in every family who is affected by it, and either they don’t know it, don’t admit it, or won’t admit it out of fear…all largely due to stigma. Stigma is preventing people who desperately need help from seeking the help they need to function and lead a healthy and stable life!

My passionate hope is to share my story and the things I wish some one had told me from the day I was diagnosed. My hope is to help others diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Although, I know that we sometimes have to learn life’s lessons the hard way, it’s also nice to be get practical advice. Even though it may not immediately be used or particularly asked for, yet. Those of us with bipolar disorder are all looking for support, and to know that someone has walked a path before us. We all want to know we are understood, and not alone in this crazy messed-up disorder.

In telling my story, my deepest desire is not only to help others but to fight the biggest fight of my life; to fight the terrible stigma attached to mental illness. Maybe, just maybe, I can show what it’s really like to live with bipolar disorder and how misunderstood bipolar disorder is.

I hope I don’t lose friends over this, y’all. People will always say “if you lose friends over this, they aren’t your “real friends”…” and as true as that is, it would still hurt. Either way, I’m opening myself up. Take me for who I am. I’m still the girl you’ve known all along, only now, I’m actively and now openly fighting for a cause I’m incredibly passionate about!

Happy & Stable,

Mrs Bipolarity


Filed under Advocate, Stigma

25 responses to “I’m Totally Outting Myself

  1. angelabickford3

    SO proud of you! I know this took a lot of courage, but your willingness to be the light will help others avoid the rocks (as Jon Acuff puts it). I know you think you’ll get some flack, but I think you’ll be surprised at the level of support you will ultimately find. Love you!

  2. Janice

    Wow, Laura. Very brave of you to “out” yourself right here in black and white. I’m glad you did and feel it will help others in their struggles to be accepted. With a family and personal history of depression, I admire anyone who helps remove the stigma that surrounds any issues that make us keepers of secrets. And, you are a very talented writer. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts.

  3. Wow! I cannot express how much I admire you right now! So brave of you to ‘out’ yourself in this way, good luck with this blog. I really hope that you manage to educate people. Nx

  4. Jaclyn

    so glad you are sharing this Laura, no doubt it will help many, many people. Love you so much!!!

    • Thank you so much for your support and for your encouragement! (Keep it comin’!)😉

      • On the Other Side

        I have to keep in mind that you are bipolar and you still may not be able to see your actions/behaviors the way friends/family would… I find it interesting that you do not personalize your bipolar diagnosis. You do not state any form of treatment/medication/therapy you are undergoing which has Helped you. If there is one thing I learned after being a sibling and Aunt of two who are bi-polar it is that it will continue to evolve and that treatment is necessary if you want to avoid the disease/behavior from becoming worse. For you to chastise a person who is wary of it is reckless. Your form of bipolarism may not be maintstream It is foolish for you to assume that every case is like yours. Bi-Polar disorder manifests itself in many different ways for many different people. It is an ugly disease!!!
        The fact remains that it has the potential to test an individual to their limits and negatively impact a family.
        People who suffer from this horrible disease are sometimes never able to have normal relationships with others. For you to dismiss it as a misunderstanding from the public is not right. I truly feel for you! I cannot put myself in your shoes, but I have spent years trying to help two individuals with their battles with this diagnosis…While you try to inform others of this disease, you should also consider those who continue to support the people who suffer from it… what they also go through… and the effects it has on a family.

  5. thanks for sharing this Laura – being honest about how our brains are wired is a brave, huge step.

  6. Good for you! It takes a lot of courage to do what you’re doing. I’m pretty “out” in my very small circle, but struggle with stigma constantly. I’m very much hoping that the more of us who come out, the more things will progress in the direction of how the gay community has basically normalized itself. It took a whole generation for that to happen, and not without a lot of grief and even bloodshed (we certainly don’t want that!!!). I think our only real weapon has to be education and outreach, public speaking (“see, I’m bipolar and I’m not vomiting snakes and toads!”), and of course keeping those cards and letters coming to publications that misportray us or spew some misbehaving celebrity’s antics across their front page crowing “Bipolar, bipolar, see, can’t take them out in public!”

    • Hahaha you had me laughing so much “vomiting snakes and toads!” and the last line “see, can’t take them out in public!” So funny, but so much truth! Eek! Thanks for encouraging words and for the ability to relate!

  7. AWESOME and good for you!!! I wish you much success with the blog. It’s so important to stand up to share about things we are passionate about. I can tell that your experiences have gotten you fired up and ready to finally have a voice. Bravo!

  8. Good for you, Laura! I support you. And I am mentally ill, too. Hiding it from everyone, including myself, for decades, I only hurt myself more. Lost just about everything I’ve ever had, and most of the people that have been in my life.

    We all need to know more about mental health/illness. Fighting the stigma surrounding it is my main priority these days.

    Keep up the good fight, girl!

    • I truly apologize for my delay in replying to you. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement!

      And I too have learned hiding it isn’t helpful or healthy. And although facing it is hard in it’s own way, it’s the best way to go (in my experience).

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      • kumar

        education is the answer to any kind of stigma whether it be one associated with mental illness or obesity or racism and others; when you take the extra step to get to know someone with a mental illness, obesity or of another race, you begin to understand the real person behind the stigma and then you realize they are no different than anyone else;

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  11. Daniel J. Max

    This was so dead on with how I feel about “outing” myself. I’ve been doing it for a few months now and, surprisingly, have not run into too many problems. I did it to day at a restaurant waitress my family has known for years and she just asked questions like “are you on meds” and “Is the difference noticeable” and that’s about it. No negative response at all. Having my adorable 3 year old girl who she totally..well, adores, with me may have helped though. There was a time last week at church when someone said “that’s so bipolar” or something like that and I wish I had said something and I didn’t. Hopefully next time I will.
    Keep on fighting the good fight😉

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  13. Lindi

    I just read your post- I’m happy you have decided to “come out of the closet” about your stigma. I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I think you are beautiful as ever. I love the fact that you care enough about yourself to not care if others “know your struggles”. It’s very flattering on you💘 Your family must be so proud of you. I hope to see you soon . Your Good Friend Lindi

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