The stigma is immeasurable. The disorder can be completely dismantling and shatter your entire life. After an episode of mania (and I’ll assume depression although I’ve never had one) it can take weeks and months to heal.
But also, I’ve been thinking more about my condition. I also read a book called Another Kind of Madness: A Journey Through the Stigma and Hope of Mental Illness by Stephen Hinshaw. It’s a great book about a father who was misdiagnosed for most of his life and faced intense stigma. The end of the book he describes how wonderful his life experiences were, regardless of inhumane institutionalizations and the massive stigma that kept his condition from his family.
I hold a lot of stigma against myself. I have a hand full of people who know my true self, flaws and all. I’m scared and I can’t control what people know or think about the illness.
On the other hand, I think to myself, I’ve had such a rich life. I’m freshly 24 and I’ve had so many experiences that people won’t experience. I’ve had the most creative ideas, met the most interesting people. I’ve taken risks and overcome so much.
So, I’m writing a memoir. It’s been in progress since my first manic episode, summer 2015, but I really want to work on overcoming the stigma, for the people who struggle with it and also for myself. I’ve contacted a few ghost writers so it’s just a matter of work and time to throw together a nice memoir of Bipolar 1.
I hope everyone is having a nice weekend!