Home > bipolar, doctors, morality, pride, stigma, therapy > Telling Things to Your Doctor (or Therapist)

Telling Things to Your Doctor (or Therapist)

Mental Illness runs in my family. Some people in my grandparents’ generation were hospitalized against their will. One great-aunt in particular was turned into a bogeyman and my mother’s generation, and in turn my generation, were taught that if you were sick in the head then they’d take you away just like aunt so-and-so. (Everyone reading this post knows how wrong this attitude is, right?).

As an adult, I still had this unfortunate attitude in the back of my mind when I was talking to my psychiatrist. It took me a long time to admit everything to him (if you’ve read my post on symptoms you know nearly everything I told him). The remaining stuff is just really disgusting stuff that you do sometimes when you’re manic or depressed[1]. At least, that is, if you’re me.

It was when I was telling my doctor about wanting to hurt people that I really expected him to pick up the phone and call the guys in the white coats. However, I explained to him as I’ve explained here that as amoral as I may be at times, I don’t want to get into trouble. After that admission, I don’t know if there is anything that would make my doctor commit me, but I think as long as I’m not a threat to others (or myself), I’m okay.

I have told my doctor all the details, now. Sometimes I’ve had to tell him multiple times because he forgets (and he has a lot of patients). Now I’m telling the world in a blog.

I am not ashamed to be bipolar and I am not ashamed to have these symptoms (okay, except wanting to hurt people–that bothers me a lot). I can’t say I’m proud to be bipolar, but what I am proud of is every little victory over this disease. Certainly if I had people still telling me to be ashamed to be bipolar, I would have to push back and proclaim Bipolar Pride™.

My grandparents and parents came from attitudes of profound shame towards mental illness. I guess because I am also gay, and because I came out as gay before I knew I was bipolar, I had most of the capacity for stigma and shame burned out of me before hand[2]. When I realized I was mentally ill, I had one night of self-pity that I was disabled. The next day I felt relief that I finally had a reason for everything that was happening to me.

[1] Okay, you know I’m going to admit these some day, right? They’re basically the worst things you’ve ever seen on the Internet that were not criminal. I did tell my doctor about them, and I’m still here.

[2] As progressive as Toronto may be, coming out for individual gay people can still be quite difficult. My family was totally accepting, and I’ve never faced any discrimination, but I had a lot of internal shame to deal with, mainly because when I’m manic I consume vast amounts of right-wing propaganda (and I believe some of it).

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