Denial can last years, and manifests itself in many ways, for me it was:
- “There is nothing wrong with me it must be a mistake”.
- “I’m not prepared to accept this because if I do I am stigmatized and ruined”.
- “This is too serious to deal with so I’m just going to carry on as if nothing happened, lardy dar more tea vicar”.
- “Not me, it only happens to druggies and homeless people”.
- “I mean, it’s not as if I’m walking about with my underwear on my head and pencils up my nostrils”.
etc, etc, etc,.
These things ran round my head causing confusion and conflict like nothing before until eventually, I had to accept that I had all the symptoms and past history of a condition labelled cyclothymia, I was correctly diagnosed and the condition was affecting my life in a negative manner. I started coming to terms with my diagnosis and began the process of getting help from my doctor, a psychiatrist and a mental health care co-ordinator. These people were a tremendous help, and I am not in any way belittling them with my following observations, this is just how I see things, and it might fly in the face of “normality” to a degree, which is something I don’t have a problem with.
The “professionals” have a duty to help you as a member of society. They also have a duty to protect society, a duty that involves attempting to “normalise” you if you have ticks in the wrong boxes.
The use of prescription drugs to induce mental states that are compatible with societies expectations is well and truly established, and this is where YOU need to take control of YOUR life, and not be bullied into trying to be something you are never going to be. Being diagnosed with Cyclothymia or any type of Bi-Polar disorder does not make you a violent person. SO YOU DON’T NEED NORMALIZING. Know about the pills you are on, know what aspects of your illness you want to try to get control of better, and if you aren’t harming anyone you don’t need to be sedated do you?
The stigma surrounding mental health issues means that for the rest of my life, when I mention to anyone that I have mental health problems (and those are the words I have to use or they will think I’m being evasive), I immediately cause a state of alarm. Perhaps I’m a bit paranoid, but the way I see it is this,.. I am clearly expected to address this state of alarm, and until I do, it is assumed that I am a psychopathic axe wielding homicidal maniac.
The people that everyone would refer to as lunatics are as far away from those with bi-polar or cyclothymia as they are from any other “normal” member of society. The expression “ignorance breeds contempt” is very much true when it comes to mental health matters, and until you prove otherwise, you are sometimes going to be labelled in an uncomplimentary manner by ignorant and narrow minded people. However I am glad to say that these people are becoming rarer.