Catherine Zeta-Jones: Â Bipolar II / Interview with People
Embarrassment Keeps People From Being Diagnosed
Mental Illness as a whole is an incredibly difficult form of adversity for one to conceive of unless you have suffered the issues, frustration and ramifications that define a mind that is sick.
So many people mistakenly believe that physical,emotional or mental abuse can cause mental illness or that the parents of children with a mental disorder are somehow responsible for their childâ€™s condition. The misconception that keeps parents from getting their children the help that they need is out of fear of being judged, that they did something wrong to cause the illness.
Many people can become productive members of society with the help of medications, counseling and support groups, but there is nothing more healing and comforting than the support of family and friends. My wish is to reach the mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends and next door neighbors to recognize and to offer assistance to those in need.
Bipolar Disorder is very real. It may vary in its magnitude and each and every patient diagnosed will be distinctive in their own symptoms. But as with any disease, it must be recognized and treated, not kept under wraps or swept under the rug due to embarrassment or unwillingness to get involved. We have an illness, but because there are so many people with mental disorders who can appear to be functional, we live with the injustice of being blamed, doubted, misunderstood and mistreated.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder later in life. Once I got some answers about my severe mood swings and defiant behavior it was somewhat of a relief that there was something other than just being a bad person to blame my rebelliousness and bad decision-making skills on.
Discovering that I suffer from a major mental illness wasnâ€™t anything to throw a party over, but after much research on the subject, it did ease my mind a bit over why I do some of the things I do. Unfortunately, the past is the past and there is nothing anyone could do to change it. My main concern at the time was preventing any future deterioration of judgement. I thought I could just take a pill and by some remarkable phenomenon I would finally be lucid and rational. If only it were that simple.
I had travelled a long, convoluted road in my 34 years without a diagnosis, but what I wasnâ€™t prepared for were the next 15 years of pure pandemonium in trying to find the right medications, battling issues with drug, alcohol and gambling addictions and turning my back on my friends and family,due to these addictions.
Regrettably, there is nothing that can eliminate bipolar disorder, only countermeasures that make living with the disorder as tolerable and respectable as possible. Having kicked many of my bad habits, my only remaining vices are my occasional cigarettes and espresso.
Removing The Shame Of Bipolar
Itâ€™s time to take away the stigma that surrounds those of us who have lived with the shame of mental illness when there is nothing to be ashamed of. We need to educate people on the symptoms, the treatments and the repercussions of why some people just donâ€™t have the luxury of a healthy mind. It is not an excuse or a get out of jail free card to be labeled â€œcrazy.â€ Itâ€™s not a pass to be able to do and say whatever we want without consequences. Nor does it allow us to be mean, hurtful, hateful and uncaring toward others.
But it is a reason, and if a healthy minded person has trouble comprehending bipolar disorder as an acceptable reason for odd or bad behaviors, I can assure you, the individual cursed with an afflicted mind will wrestle with that burden on a day to day, hour to hour and minute by minute basis.
Mental Illness Is No Different Than Physical Illness
Bipolar disorder and other mental illness are nothing to be ashamed of and should not be treated any differently than someone who has diabetes or any other physical ailment. And yet, it continues to be scrutinized with an air of contempt and skepticism.
In the 15 years that Iâ€™ve been aware that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain, I have endured the opinions of others who do not believe in bipolar disorder or people who believe that it is used as an excuse to get away with bad behavior.
Then thereâ€™s my favorite type of people who think you can just control it and make it go away. That would be like wishing I were the worldâ€™s best designer, buy myself a sewing machine and by some wave of a magic wand, I can sew and embroider the worlds most stunning line of clothing. Itâ€™s just not plausible.
Treatment For Bipolar Disorder
It hasnâ€™t been all that long ago that people with a mental illness were locked up and kept away from the prying eyes of the public. Treatment was repulsive for these individuals.
Today there are medications and therapies that allow these people to live full, rich lives. You may work right beside them, call them friends and never know there is anything wrong. These are the lucky ones who have the privilege of receiving treatment and are able to control their symptoms.
Can Bipolar Disorder Kill You?
Bipolar Disorder in and of itself is not known to be a direct cause of death, but without proper treatment, the allure of death may seem like the only answer when left to choose between a life of unimaginable torment from inside your own head or the nirvana of a silent mind.
There is nothing romantic or noble about suicide. Itâ€™s a tragic end to the agony of complete and utter hopelessness that lives in the mind every single moment weâ€™re conscious. I am quite steadfast in my opinion that anyone who is suffering with bipolar disorder has thought of suicide or entertained the thought of wanting to die, on a fairly regular basis. Itâ€™s painful having to live with a mind that is never quiet. Itâ€™s agonizing having to decide which thoughts and decisions are rational and which are not. And itâ€™s devastating when you make the wrong choice and you end up hurting the ones you love. Again. And again.
Inevitably the blame, the anger and the disappointment transforms itself into the guilt that seeps into your very core and no matter how hard you try, you canâ€™t run away from yourself. Treatment, a good support team and education are the answers that will make you stop running.