As a professional woman in the business world, there’s one thing I’ve struggled with all of my career. Do I tell them? Do I keep quiet? What happens if I miss a day of work and have no good reason (to them)?
I’ve lost a job due to this secret. I’ve had countless silent meltdowns at my cube and even more not-so-silent ones in the bathroom or sitting in my car in the parking lot. My kids have suffered. My relationship with family members has been tested (and in one instance, severed).
On the other hand, I’ve become a voice for those who have this secret, too. My childhood, no doubt, is partly the cause of this secret, and I’ve addressed my childhood in my second book, Westwind Drive. I study up on it regularly. I have learned new ways to treat and to deal with this secret. I have educated others so maybe someday the stigma will finally be stopped.
I have bipolar disorder. Not just bipolar, but rapid cycling.
Please, learn all you can about mental illness. Try to understand what we go through on a daily basis, just to look and act “normal.” Don’t keep the stigma going by thinking we’re crazy. We have a disease. Most of us get treated for it. Most of us control it as best we can. Would you shy away from someone with cancer? Don’t shy away from us. We need you, and we need your voice.