I Try To Be Honest

I Try To Be Honest

I almost always fake being okay. It’s not often that I actually feel well, but it’s so much easier to respond to people by simply saying ‘I’m good’ with a smile, than it is to tell people how life really is. Most of the time, I can’t even explain to myself how I’m feeling. The words are easier to say, but not easy; however, the smile can be extremely difficult, if not impossible at times. Usually, when people ask you how you’re doing, they’re doing it to be polite. So what’s wrong with a polite answer?

I was having trouble falling asleep last night, so I was watching TV and trying to figure out what was going on in my mind. Even though a big part of how I’m feeling is because of the Clozapine, some of it is my own mind, and it has really been bothering me. What I came to realize is that when I fake being okay to others, I’m actually lying to them; even if it’s just lying by omission. One of the few things I’ve truly been proud of over the years is my honesty, and now I’m unsure if I can even count that.

This doesn’t mean I have to tell strangers in passing about my life, but I should tell those that love and support me how I’m doing. However, I don’t know if I can do that. I haven’t even been able to be honest with myself regarding how I feel. It takes a lot of work to be able to honestly tell others how you’re feeling. I just assume that most people don’t really want to hear it. When you’re bipolar, how you’re doing can change from day-to-day and even moment-to-moment. I think the people who I need to be honest with are those closest to me. Sometimes I withhold information for a little while, but I always end up telling them at some point.

I used to think that I was an honest person; but I am wondering if I’m dishonest because I withhold information at times and fake how I’m feeling. No matter how much honesty comes out of my mouth, it’s still not all there. I can only think of a few people who really want to know, and I am always honest with these few individuals; my closest family, husband, best friend, and doctors, to the best of my ability. Maybe I can still think of myself as honest; I do my best to be honest with loved ones. Not one person is 100% honest; I guess this is where I cut myself some slack.

Honesty Helps Fix My Lack of Control

It’s extremely difficult for people to manage their bipolar disorder. In fact, for me, it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to handle. I’ve dealt with the death of my father as a teenager, a drug and alcohol addiction, maintaining sobriety, a previous relationship that was physically and emotionally abusive, and the loss of several friends due to suicide or drug addiction; these things are only a few of the circumstances I’ve dealt with, and for me, none of them compare to dealing with my bipolar disorder on a daily basis.

To me, it feels as if I often don’t have control over my own brain, mouth, and even my body. I frequently find myself saying things that should not be said or doing things that I should not do. My brain is always running, always thinking, it doesn’t take a break. I’m generally thinking about all of the things I did wrong, but I also think about different options I have, I’m on overload. My mind has no balance. It feels as if I have no control over my own mind. It jumps from subject to subject, never thinking any thought completely through. I often act on my emotions instead of logical thinking. I do the best I can to make the right choices, but when it’s left up to my brain, I never know what the results will be like.

I know this sounds weird, but I love rules; any set of instructions or guidelines that I can follow make my life easier. I don’t have to listen to my brain or attempt figure out what the right thing to do is. I don’t worry about my lack of control over myself, I simply do what I’m told is the right thing to do. I have a hard time being dishonest about anything. I know that honesty is the best policy, but sometimes there is such a thing as too much honesty. If I’m not completely honest with others, my mind keeps telling me how horrible I am, and then I can’t function or sleep. I’ve lived the majority of my life without control, following rules gives me control; it gives me power.

I no longer have to struggle to organize my mind to figure out what I should and should not do, I no longer have to worry if every single thing I did was right or wrong, and I no longer have to worry if I can live with the choices I made. As long as I am honest to the best of my ability, I feel free from the bipolar restraints and the lack of control that comes along with it; I can find balance in my life. Following rules and being honest is so much easier than doing anything else; there are already a set of instructions laid out for me, giving my mind some peace and quiet, which is something that almost never occurs. Of course my mind doesn’t stop, and there are still so many thoughts going on in there, but at least I don’t have to figure everything out on my own. I encourage others to try being honest and follow rules if they’re comfortable doing so, even if it’s as simple as following the instructions on a recipe or game. Maybe it will work for you, maybe it won’t, but I hope that it does, because I would really love to share the peace that it brings me.

Family Get-Togethers

Family Get-Togethers

My family (in-laws) likes to get together a lot, at least for every birthday and holiday. Honestly, I like that. Family is extremely important to me and they are always supportive. Only recently have I really started opening up about the depths of what’s going on with me, and I was pleasantly surprised as to how understanding and encouraging they were. They already knew about my diagnoses, but not the details about how I feel in the moment. Being more honest about my mental health state has made me feel more comfortable with them; I don’t feel like there’s anything I need to hold back anymore.

One thing I really struggle with is saying ‘No’, to anyone about anything. I don’t know why, but I would usually rather have an anxiety or panic attack than tell someone I can’t do something. I told my mother-in-law, who I am getting closer and closer with (and I love that), and she was extremely understanding. I even feel as if I could tell her ‘No’ and I wouldn’t freak out about it. It’s amazing what a little bit of honestly and openness will do.

Yesterday, I received an invitation from my husband’s aunt for a get-together that will happen tomorrow. I really want to go to this; I get along well with everyone. I’m going to call today and say I can go, but I’m a bit nervous because of the new medicine I started. I’m increasing my dose by 25mg every night; what happens if I can’t physically go at the last minute? I don’t like being the person that cancels last minute, but I can’t say how I will be feeling tomorrow evening because of this medication. It’s a different reason than I normally have for being nervous about get-togethers. Maybe I should just be completely honest and tell them everything I just wrote. Honesty is the best policy, even when it’s scary.

My husband’s family, which I consider to be my family instead of just my in-laws, is extremely important to me. Almost all of my side of the family lives in the North East, with a few people scattered around the US. However, I am the only one from my side of the family that lives in Arizona. All of my husband’s family lives near; I love that we have the ability to see them almost any time we want.

 

I Finally Accept Who I Am Instead Of Hiding It

I Finally Accept Who I Am Instead Of Hiding It

I’ve been living with bipolar disorder since I was 14 years old, in 1999. It has never been easy, but I’ve made it through with the help of my family and friends. I turned to drugs at age 12, which probably triggered the beginning of my episodes. I started seeing a psychiatrist and began taking medication in 1999. The best thing I had going for me was that I was always honest; I told on myself any time I did something I shouldn’t have. I have always felt the need to be honest. I was truthful about how I was taking care of myself. I always took my medications as prescribed, I went to every doctor’s appointment, and was honest with my psychiatrist/psychologist about the drugs I was using. I was even willing to admit myself to a psychiatric unit when necessary. I did these things, but was never happy about it.

I was never really ashamed of my diagnoses, but I wasn’t willing to tell people. I know it was mostly obvious, especially since I was a cutter for many years, but it wasn’t something I wanted to shout from the rooftops. I remember feeling worried what my friends and family would think. I told my immediate and extended family, and I received unconditional support from everyone. I even had a few family members take the NAMI Family to Family classes so they could better understand what I was going through.

After I got sober in 2004, I began a life across the country. I got a great job and I even received a fantastic promotion after 1 year. I kept my mental health diagnoses mostly to myself. I was concerned of what my co-workers and my friends from the 12-step program I attended would say. I had a couple experiences where I felt looked down upon when people found out about my mental health, however, I think most of it was in my mind.

In 2009, I had an episode that was so extreme, I had to leave my job, move back in with my mother, and go on disability. At this point, I couldn’t hide anything, and I decided it would be too much work to try. As it turns out, most people didn’t even think twice about it. I even found several people that lived with the same things, these people became my friends. I became comfortable with my diagnoses; now, I don’t care who knows about my mental health. If someone thinks differently of me because of my mental health, then that’s their problem and their ignorance. It has taken a long time, but I have finally become comfortable with my diagnoses. Even though I struggle daily due to my mental health, I also feel that it has made me stronger.

It may have taken me many years to become comfortable with this part of who I am, but now that I have, I can spend my time and energy working on myself instead of trying to hide myself. Becoming secure with my diagnoses has allowed me to truly live my life. To manage my mental health I continue to take medication as prescribed, follow-through with all treatments, be honest with my friends and family, try to stay productive, find things I’m passionate about (I enjoy cooking, cleaning, and hiking), try to keep on a schedule, and try to get a good night’s sleep. None of these things are easy, but if I regularly work towards these goals, life becomes easier.

I am blessed with family and friends that support me no matter what. My husband, mother, and other family encourage me to do things that are healthy for me. If it wasn’t for them, I probably would never leave my house or see any friends. It is because of their love and support that I can accept myself for who I am. My bipolar disorder and other mental health diagnoses are only a part of who I am, they do not define me or dictate my life.