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Telling your family who doesn't believe in mental illness worthwhi...
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Telling your family who doesn't believe in mental illness worthwhile?

This kind of follows from the treatment question I asked earlier.

With treatment, I guess the ideal situation is to have a decent support team around you. I live with my family but I don't know how to even mention this to them.

When I was younger, I discovered they don't really believe in mental illness so I'm currently siding on not telling them anything. I've been in crisis before and was honest about having suicidal thoughts and had a counsellor contact them about my problems being serious and needing more professional treatment but it got a 'so you're a crazy person? fine, if you want to be a nutter, I'll get you help? Want that?' sort of responses so quit my quest for treatment till now.

The problem with this is, it's now making me feel I can't go to the hospital if I needed to in a crisis etc because they'd find out. So it's starting to take the control away from me it seems, to do what I need to for myself.

So I'm not sure if I should try being honest with them again or if they'll find out if worse comes to worse and can suck on it.

What's others experience with family? Have you found an approach to make them at least attempt to understand etc?
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11 Comments Post a Comment
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1192491_tn?1265035429
Hi, I sure they have their reasons to "not beleive in mental illness" but it is a fact.
I wish  I could give you an answer but you know your parents and how they may react.  It is  very important to have support and I hope they can provide you  with  that support if you chose to tell them.  Are you 18 or older?  If you are 18, the hospitals may admit you with  contacting family if that is your wish.  Whatever you decide to do, you can depend on the support from the people at this site.  Also, it's very important that if yo get in a crisis that you make sure you get to the ER with or without them.  Take care, Jude
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Avatar_m_tn
No.
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585414_tn?1288944902
Well I do know of NAMI friend and family support groups and they have been helpful for many people. As for my family I have made a basic recovery from schizoaffective disorder and my family was supportive but it was not known until recently that one of the family members has cyclothymia (mild bipolar) and now they are coming to terms with their own recovery as well. I would definitely say NAMI has informational pamphlets even if family members don't want to go to support groups and they are easy to read and helpful for people to understand who may not be familiar with the concept of mental illness. If they can learn to understand what is going on then they should support you as they would with any other form of recovery.
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Avatar_m_tn
I guess I should of wrote more than no.  It is not worth it to argue with them but it is a good idea to try what ILADVOCATE suggests.
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952564_tn?1268372247
Well, I understand what you're saying. I no longer live at home with my dad, but as a teen I was having some very sever mental illness issues and his reaction to this was: "Everyone has problems, suck it up." There have been many times when I was sick or needed help and got the, "You only want attention" response. So, now that I am diagnosed I don't really feel the need to tell him anything. He won't believe me, so why waste my breathe? After all, I don't live with him.

My husband knows and his family knows, but beyond that I have only told a couple of freinds and, unfortunately, co-workers because I need help at work. (although I do not receive the help I need.) I think if there was a real crisis I could depend on my husband. That's what you need is one solid person who can be there when you really need it. If you have more, that's great, but not all of us are so lucky.
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909415_tn?1390585342
I am going through this same thing myself right now.  My wife knows about my diagnosis and was supportive for a while.  But now, since I had her start reading,"When Someone You Love is Bipolar" she's back to,,"You're not any of that".  Which my point has been, and my Psych NP picked up right from the start, that I cover it well.  Considering a background of sexual abuse, yes, I tend to hide things very well,,including my emotions and moods.  So I guess now, I'm back to having no one believe me.  I love my wife very much.  I believe my mania or hypomania was manifested in hypersexuality.  I have told her about these episodes and she has forgiven me, but she thinks I'm using BP as an excuse for my past behavior.  Since I've been on medication, all that's been controlled.  I'm sorry I took your post and ran with it to vent a little.
Back to your post,
The rest of my family doesn't know, will probably never know and now I feel incredibly alone again.  ILADVOCATE's recommendation to get in a support group is probably a good idea.  I haven't done that yet myself.












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952564_tn?1268372247
I, too, have been told things like "I wouldn't know if you didn't tell me." Because I am also good at hiding my moods and my feelings. I'm good at it because I don't trust people. I don't trust people because of BPD. I am terrible at asking for help because I think I will be shot down, and funny thing, I am usually right. That's why it took 20 years to get a diagnosis and meds.
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Avatar_m_tn
I was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder instead of a mood disorder, but I get the "I wouldn't know if you didn't tell me" thing as well with my mental illness even though I act weird and end up confusing people with my hallucinations along with my other psychotic symptoms.  Well... there are some people who realize I have a psychotic disorder or I'm "crazy" before I told them, because of the above, but I also go through this as well.  I sometimes end up telling people because they think I'm stoned or something and I am fighting alcoholism and take pride in how I stay clean, as hard as it is, so I would rather them know than to think that of me.  I think it all has to do with people not being educated on things like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  I also get people who tell me I'm OK when I'm experiencing a full blown psychotic episode as well.
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1039200_tn?1314915608
I can so relate to this subject. My family on the one side refuse to believe that I have an illness, and are dead against me taking meds - so even now I get a lecture about stopping them, how bad they are for me and going cold turkey every time I see them. The other side curiously believe that there is something wrong with me, but they see it as a cognitive problem rather than an emotional one, because I have such an extremely bad memory, can't arrange or organise simple things anymore, don't understand people etc, they think the whole mood thing is a seperate issue that they have no time or sympathy for.
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1133217_tn?1262692492
Thanks for the reply, guys.

My boyfriend is really supportive so I'm fortunate in that I do at least have one person that seems to get it.
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1174019_tn?1269856599
Living for someone else is incredibly difficult for both parties. There's a lot of denial of different sorts and stemming from different origins. Most likely the basis for all of them is fear. That's a hard row to hoe. My gramma used to tell me that every so often, out of the blue. I guess I can consider myself lucky, in a way, that mental illness, in my family, is like the odd matching sweaters worn on holidays. Nearly all of us have them. In terms of acceptance in general, if you're not an adult I am very sorry, I don't know what to say. If you are an adult, they will probably (highly probable,...though...?) learn to accept you when you really don't require their acceptance to move forward. That's just my 2 cents...    
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