There are many people whom I have not told I have bipolar illness It is hard to tell someone that you know cares about you and means well. Do you trust them? Will they reject you? Judge you? Will they say “So what? Buck up!” As many of you know, I have been writing about this issue in different ways throughout my blog [shrug]. Obviously I have not entirely resolved this.
These are people who know you and they don’t. They see a person who is “normal” who says they are struggling, but they think you are fine. And I’m responsible for that; I don’t say a word about what is really going on, I present myself well. It’s an automatic response that I learned growing up, and later, as a professional. .
Here is an example of such a relationship, in which the choice was to push them away, or to try to tell them. I wanted to tell them gently, but a part of me wanted to scream Can’t they just take my word for it that I can’t work right now, without my having to tell them why?
But on the other hand, how can I expect ANYone to understand whom I have not told? They can’t read my mind. But boy do I wish they could. It is so hard to explain to people, especially people I am not and will not be all that close to.
This is between a nice older couple, who has left our church in Maine to live in Florida, and myself. I am thinking of moving down and wanted to be in touch with them somewhat. Here’s their note (after we’d written back and forth a little) and my response.
“I think that the end of Aug. or in Sept. Son # 3 and the grand kids may come again … So when you know more (about your move or visit), let us know, and by then we may know more what they are going to do. But if they do come it will only be for A few days. We will help you in any way we can and you are welcome to stay here. I think you could find A job with your skill. looking forward to seeing you.”
Oo, it was the “I think you could find a job…” that got me. I’d told them multiple times that I was unable to work, but not exactly why. I’d mentioned the depression and anxiety; I’d done a lot of “implying;” but that was it. I thought, “Why do I have to explain! Why can’t they just accept what I said!” Sigh… But, I decided to be a little more direct, and see what happens.
So, here is my response. Will it work?
“I have bipolar illness along with some other things. There is a link below that explains what it is. I haven’t been able to work at all since a year ago May. Nursing wise I haven’t worked since 2010 I think it was. The last time as a nurse I did not know I was manic and I was dangerous to myself and others, even driving. My last job was as a cashier at a crafts store. Even that was too stressful for me. I have been working with Pastor and Mrs.X. on all of this since I started at [our church] in 06. Sometimes I do ok and sometimes not. It is easy to hide for short periods of time so you may not know that I am having symptoms. When it is bad I just don’t go to church at that time and I watch the service on the computer. I don’t talk about it because I feel embarrassed about not being able to do things. I tell very few people. It is also kind of hard to get into a conversation about it in the middle of church 🙂
What I do for work now is volunteer at church to the best of my ability at that particular time. Sometimes I do a lot, sometimes a little. My resume looks like Swiss cheese right now. 😦 I can’t even keep my word anymore as far as work goes. As I said, it is very embarrassing! Anyway, as I mentioned, click here for information about bipolar disorder.