My Journey With:

Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) ~ Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) ~ Focal Impaired Awareness (Complex Partial) Seizures ~ Fibromyalgia ~ Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) ~ Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) ~ TMJ Dysfunction ~ Bipolar Disorder Type I Rapid Cycling With Psychotic Features ~ Migraines ~ Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) ~ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ~ Keratosis Pilaris (KP) ~ Complex-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) ~ Panic Disorder ~ Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) ~ Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) ~ Self-Harm ~ Bilateral Piezogenic Pedal Papules ~ Hashimoto's Thyroiditis ~ Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) ~ Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) ~ Specific Phobias ~ Chronic Daily Headache ~ Eczema

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Out of the "Mental Illness Closet"

I remember reading something once about "coming out" about having mental illness.  I remember how I used to try to hide my illness.  I'd run off to the other room to swallow my medications.  I even would laugh at jokes about "crazy people" so that no one would suspect me.  I used to cut, and I've learned it is common with people who have Complex-PTSD.  I used excuses from being attacked by a (fake) horse to being in a (fake) car accident to explain the wounds and scars.  I spent more time trying to hide my mental illness than I did working on recovery.  When I finally would tell someone I made such a big production out of it (pamphlets, books to loan, printouts) that it became a bigger deal than it would have been to be upfront about it from the beginning or even casually mentioning it.

Granted, a lot of the people I knew when I was younger would have had a major problem with me having a mental illness.  At the same time, though, I spent so much time hiding it from other people that I never realized that I was in a situation I'd have to leave to get better.

I think when I started being more open about my mental illness I started to realize  that I was living in a very unhealthy situation, with unhealthy people in my life.  I think "coming out" in that way really changed a lot for me.  It's amazing how freeing it is.

I have Bipolar type I and C-PTSD.  I'm proud of being on the path to recovery I walk every day.  Some days I take a step forward and two steps back, but other days I take three steps forward and only one step back.

Some people use the term "brain disorders."  If that works for some people that's okay, but to me it sounds kinda funny and almost apologetic.  I think of my epilepsy as more of a brain disorder than my bipolar and C-PTSD.  So I just use the traditional term "mental illness" or the the abbreviation commonly used, MI.

I have mental illness.  I don't care if you know, in fact I just told you.


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