Yes well there are some books, pamphlets and informational websites about understanding bipolar that might help as well as some support groups such as NAMI friend and family support groups. The first might help them understand it as a whole and the second might help them with how to approach the issue. Myself I am diagnosed with schizoaffective and other family members were diagnosed later and have started their own recovery process but at all times some basic information or knowledge that would help them have an appropriate understanding of what a psychiatric disability was was clearly of help. I used this approach for friends and other people I found it appropriate to disclose to as well. These might be of help as well:
Bi-polar is one of those things that depending on the severity can be nothing to be embarrassed or worried about, to something that needs attention ASAP and all the time.
In my non professional (only from my experience) opinion, bi-polar is one of those things that 1 out of every 40 people really have. I have been diagnosed bi-polar manic depressant. If the doctor says you have it, he knows better than I do.
Bi-polar is something that can be controlled to a good point. I would say, just to let friends/family that you want to know that recently a doctor has diagnosed you with it. I am not trying to be cold hearted about it, it's just that there is no shame in having it. iladvocate has given you good advice and sources.
Feel free to message me if you have any specific questions or concerns.
I read several books, including Why Am I Still Depressed?, and learned as much as I could from them, my pdoc, and my mindfulness therapy study, and then I wrote my immediate family a heartfelt letter explaining the situation and my feelings about it. Knowing my family, aunts and cousins know about it now, too, and that's fine.
I've told far mor people than I ever expected to. So far, so good.
AND MAYBE I SHOULD BE MORE SPECIFIC..IM NERVOUS THAT MY FAMILY AND MY HUSBAND WILL TREAT ME DIFFERENTLY IF THEY FIND OUT AND I FEEL LIKE THEY WILL TALK ABOUT IT BEHIND MY BACK..IM NOT REALLY ASHAMED OR EMBARASSED ITS JUST THAT THE WAY SOME PEOPLE LOOK AT BIPOLAR PEOPLE AND JUDGE US AND I JUST DONT WANT MY FAMILY OR MY HUSBAND TO TREAT ME OR ACT DIFFERENTLY TOWARDS ME.
Let me ask you a question. Who NEEDS to know? The reason I ask this is because if you have to tell people you have a disorder, than I am GUESSING it's not to bad. In my opinion and only my opinion, your husband is the ONLY person you NEED to tell. There is no reason to let people know something personal. If your family can't tell that you have bi-polar, why tell them?
I understand your concern, and I understand how you feel, half of my family thinks I am crazy but that is ONLY because I told them the issues I have. I have been diagnosed bi-polar manic depressive. Before I told my family what the doctors said, they thought it was just hormones and stress, after, I was labeled a fruit cake. Seriously, if your husband loves you, and you feel like you have to tell him, he should accept you.
You kinda have three options. Tell no one, your conscience might get to you because of wanting to be honest with your husband. Tell your husband only, he should accept you, I doubt he is 100% perfect and without any flaws. Tell everyone, but know that there will be someone who judges you and treats you different.
I have been down this road, please message me if you would like to talk more.
I agree you should only reveal on a "need to know" basis. Your husband does need to know in case of emergencies, etc. But, other family members it would be at your discrimination to tell them. Sadly people do not respond well to the diagnosis due to myths, media, and long term mentality.
I have never told my family. My husband knows and a few friends know. I learned long ago already that there isn't much help out there even if you ask for it, you have to get it yourself. So telling people would just be a reason for them to say I was looking for attention or something. So I keep it to myself.
Ok I won't tell anyone because I really didn't want to but my dr said I should for support..they know I'm different .I'm Adhd which they think its that my anxiety and ocd but thnk you all for your advice. I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 so I will have to read up on the differences...again thanks
I suppose I'm unusually lucky in that I have a supportive family (had a bipolar 1 cousin, so this is not new, and a depressed mom). I'm also my own boss. Fortunately the results of my work have spoken for themselves with a small circle of investor/friends, so they stick with me. I read later that it's not uncommon for entrepreneurs to be bipolar and for investors to actually sanction this, as long as they can get a sense of whether the BP will get in the way. The idea is that they exploit the hypomania, I guess.
Anyway, all this is to say that your mileage may vary. Like many things in life, we have to figure out what to do on a case by case basis.
I didn't tell my extended family for well over a year. I told my husband right away - but he clearly knew something was wrong. No way I could hide it from him. Chances are that your husband already knows something is up and telling him will at least give him a name to work with. And expect he will be a bit scared for you. Bipolar conjures up bad images in people's mind sometimes. Having some literature about it handy will help.
I blurted it out to my mom on the phone one night when I just couldn't keep it from her any longer. She was very understanding and hasn't treated me any differently except to occasionally ask how things are going. She told me that they would always love me no matter what. It actually brought us closer together. I told my two brothers after that. They had a neutral reaction. They don't bring it up and they don't treat me any differently.
I told my sister right away. She was cool about it. She's got her fair share of health problems. I knew she would understand though. She's been a big support for me.
I told my husband's side of the family only because I had to. We were going for a visit and I knew I couldn't hide it. I sent out a mass email describing what things were like for me and that they didn't need to worry. I did the mass email thing because I didn't want to let one parent know before the other parent. Isn't divorce fun? They were all really good about it. I got some pressure to tell my step mom's kids and I told them no. I am just not as comfortable with them and am not sure what they'd say. Too vulnerable for that right now. Maybe later.
Don't tell your employer unless you have to. I am currently in a human rights battle with a former employer. Very nasty. My co-workers were all great when they found out. Only my bosses were a problem.
Other than that I have found people to be understanding and very compassionate. Because they know they treat me a bit differently - better. Before they couldn't understand some of my behavior like needing alone time and taking naps. They thought I was stand-offish. They make allowances for me like allowing me to nap in their beds if I am overly tired due to the meds or the activities of the day. I know I am very lucky and my story doesn't reflect all families but I thought I'd give you a positive example to balance some of the negative ones you'll likely hear.
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