I was diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders 10 years ago. I chose a handful of people to tell about my diagnosis. I told close family, my boss, and a few treasured friends. Beyond that, I decided to tell no one else.
A little backstory. Ten years ago, my life took a very unexpected turn. At the time, I’d been treated on and off for depression. However, as the drama of that turn began to spread, I was simply too overwhelmed to deal. I had, in polite terms, a mental breakdown. My breakdown wasn’t necessarily caused by this turn of events. It was, in figurative terms, the straw that finally broke my back.
Unable to take care of most of my basic needs and sleeping up to 20 hours a day, I sought help from my family doctor. Although I hated him for it at the time, he knew he was ill equipped to deal with my situation. He made arrangements for my first stay in a psychiatric hospital. While in-patient, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and bipolar disorder.
The event took place so suddenly, I really didn’t get the opportunity to choose who I might tell. My family had to be notified so that my children could receive care while I was hospitalized. I also had to tell my boss why I’d vanished off the face of the Earth. (She is/was one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.) After my release, I confided in my closest, most trusted friends.
And, so it remained for 10 years. Only a choice few knew I was suicidal and had actively attempted suicide several times over the years.
I’ve often heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Over and over, I’d remained silent about my personal battles with suicidality.
After my fourth attempt, I decided to come out of hiding. For me, it was the right decision and the right time. So, I posted a meme declaring myself a suicide survivor and a long FB post about my long battle with bipolar disorder and anxiety. I did it because I didn’t want to suffer alone and in silence any longer.
The response was overwhelmingly positive. Some brave souls even responded with stories of their own battles, including other suicide survivors. Inevitably, I lost a few friends, too. However, coming out about my struggles has been totally worth it.