For many years, I chose not to be open about myself having Bipolar Disorder. At the beginning, I was in denial; maybe it was just a brief nervous breakdown (that was the "excuse" we were giving to family and friends).
Later, I was very embarrassed, as previous to my late onset, I was an extremely lively, resilient, and independent woman (even a thriving, working, single mom!), who then became emotionally unpredictable, lacked any form of "true joy", and became somewhat dependent on others (mainly during the first year).
Finally, the ANGER set in! Why me! Why now! I worked so darn hard to get where I was in life, to get my life stripped away from me, and THIS was not suppose to HAPPEN!
Suddenly, the acceptance settled upon me. Yes, I had Bipolar Disorder. Yes, my brain's chemical makeup wasn't functioning like it was originally. Yes, it was manageable. Yes, I was going to fight this tooth and nail and do whatever was possible to become the best Laura I could be.
I explained to my family, that in order for me to work on my healing, I needed to start explaining to the rest of the world; the reason for my absence from daily living, my changes in behaviour, and my changes in physical appearance.
Let me tell you, the first 100 times were absolutely nerve wracking! (still is internally for me). Since then, if we go to an event and someone is REALLY trying their hardest not to notice my tremors (due to anxiety and side effects from medications), or if we have to make a quick departure because I'm overwhelmed, or if I mentally start to "crash" from over-stimulation, we put everyone at ease by saying it like it is! I have Bipolar Disorder! Do you know what? 99.9% of the time they are very interested and want to learn more or they have a close family member or coworker that has Bipolar Disorder or another Mental Illness...so we aren't alone!
I realize now that I have a new purpose in life, a new passion, a new mission; that being to provide a forum, based on mutual respect and support, to share knowledge and resources, and to provide encouragement that there are better days ahead.
Laura Marchildon will blog honest and true posts about her real life experiences.