Let’s Look into the Face of Bipolar Depression


How do we handle the reality of having a serious mental illness when the world tends to talk about recovery and reducing stigma instead of focusing on the direct medical needs of those of us with SMI? (SMI is bipolar, schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia.)
This is a big question. I know that organizations feel they have to work on discrimination (stigma) and sending a hopeful message (recovery). But… if this is not combined with management skills, it is just talk.
I represent a section of people with bipolar who aren’t even close to recovery. This is why you will not see me use this word. We are surviving.
Today’s cameras allow us to capture this and use it to our benefit. The image below is what a severe downing looks like. I used to live in this mood, now it shows up regularly, but not daily! That is progress!
I suffer. The children and partners of my clients suffer. Let’s allow this part of the illness to have a space in the discussion. I break into pieces and then get up and put myself back together on a regular basis. This is not personal. It is an illness that is no different than diabetes. My brain chemicals don’t function normally.
We talk about ending suicide and yet don’t teach young kids how to recognize and manage suicidal thoughts.
We talk about people getting better and yet there is NO public education for the children of parents with genetic mental health disorders.
We focus on reducing stigma while there is a two month wait for psychiatric appointments.
You can look into my face of suffering and when you see this in yourself or a loved one, remember this… it’s an illness. This is what bipolar looks like. It’s ok to get sick like this. Feel it, open up about it and remind yourself that you will get out of it eventually.

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