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Innie or outtie?

Have you been a victim? Or have you contributed to your own stigma?

by BillyGoat » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:18 am

So, at work, school, wherever you try to assimilate into the real world, are you out, loud and proud about being a beeper, or is it the absolute last thing you want people to know.

I've been out on previous jobs, but had mixed experiences. I'm all quiet where I currently work. There's a team of bored HR people who'd love to mishandle an unnecessary transition process mapping exercise that I've already negotiated.

But I also know that people can get very scared of the crazy person that they don't understand. And that can be fun...

:twisted:
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by Pancake » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:11 pm

*wow* you get a Transition Mapping Process?

Not to brag, but we get Performance Management and Fitness For Duty assessments.

Quietly out, HR for possibly obvious and historically accurate reasons aren't well trusted by the worker bees, but awareness-raising amongst colleagues is important. We have a lot of very alone-feeling too scared to seek help PTSD/anxiety/depression and the fallout from that can be devastating. My union is trying to do something about it, the employer is not.

However, I'm currently in the unique position of being employed casually but not actually working, so the potential for HR taking my job away doesn't modify my attitude.
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by EmmaMaret » Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:56 pm

*Quietly raises hand*

I am HR...

But I do my best to make sure everyone feels safe to disclose whatever information they see fit. It's a tough position to be in with policies, but I get it so I'm not tough. As for me, I tend to keep it quiet. Although, I work in a medical clinic, so when I come in for my own appointments the nurses and doctors obviously know. It's free office visits though, so what can ya do? If anyone were to ask, though, I wouldn't lie. There are obviously scars on my wrists from past attempts.
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by Pancake » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:35 pm

EmmaMaret wrote:*Quietly raises hand*

I am HR...

But I do my best to make sure everyone feels safe to disclose whatever information they see fit. It's a tough position to be in with policies, but I get it so I'm not tough. As for me, I tend to keep it quiet. Although, I work in a medical clinic, so when I come in for my own appointments the nurses and doctors obviously know. It's free office visits though, so what can ya do? If anyone were to ask, though, I wouldn't lie. There are obviously scars on my wrists from past attempts.


:lol:
I knew someone would trip me up.

Don't worry, I'm only anti-HR when power corrupts, it's unfortunate that sometimes - hopefully it's the exception not the rule - that when they hold such power in an organization, things can get out of hand. I love to hear stories where HR works well.
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by Dalek88 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:48 pm

I feel that I go back and forth on this. At times, I'm open about it because I feel that it's important for people to understand, and help to get rid of stigmas/shame/etc.
But then, I start to feel ashamed, embarrassed, even crazy; and I worry that by being vocal about my illness I'm actually alienating myself away from others who don't understand and frankly don't want to hear about it. My current (if you can call it that) relationship is in shambles right now, mostly due to his inability to handle/deal with my illness and the steps I have to take for myself regarding it. I can't blame him, only he knows what's good for his own mental health, and perhaps being around me isn't it; however it's definitely sparked a fear that I may be preaching to a deaf choir whenever I try to be open about myself.
"And never have I felt so deeply at one and the same time so detached from myself and so present in the world."

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by hal » Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:32 pm

Many of the people I know are aware I have BP, I suppose mostly because I've told a few people and the word gets around. Occasionally, I will say, "You know I'm bipolar, right?" and they will mumble yes, like they're a little embarrassed, maybe because I didn't actually tell that person. Guilty knowledge. But I really don't care who knows.

When I was working I also mentioned it to a few people. I suppose then I thought they would keep it to themselves; don't know if they did. Nothing ever came back to bite me.

Long ago, the whole department knew about it, because I flipped out in the classroom. I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and asked to be excused from teaching for the rest of the semester. Granted. But then I kept showing up to carry on my research. The department chairman had taken over my (specialty) class. The next year, he insisted on teaching it again because, he said, he had invested in the preparation. I always felt it was a little bit to punish me too. Teaching made me terribly depressed, and I bailed after five years.

Which leads me to my next post... about work.
. . . all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone.
-- Tennyson
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by Mocha » Fri Mar 25, 2016 4:30 am

BillyGoat wrote:Innie or outtie?

:lol: ..

Well, I've always been an outtie......no shame in my game.....

Batshit crazy and not afraid to admit it.....Everyone in my life, past and present has always known I'm nuts....I started seeing pdocs/tdocs when I was about 16, so it really wasn't a surprise to anyone.....

Fortunately I've always had friends who didn't judge and still do. And it was never a problem with work, back when I did work. They didn't mind I was a little crazy either......as long as I got the job done.

Funny thing.....I moved to No. CA ten years ago.......my god most of the friends I met are also dx'd with BP......must be something in the water....:lol: So for sure no judgements here.

I've been on SSI for BP for 10yrs now......and always tell people, 'hell yeah, I'm crazy.....I have papers...I'm certified!".....:lol:

I learned a long time ago to keep a sense of humour about having BP......gotta to be able to laugh at yourself.

Screw everyone else... fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.... :twisted: ...
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by Madelyn » Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:46 pm

Mocha wrote:
'hell yeah, I'm crazy.....I have papers...I'm certified!


I almost died of laughter when I read that!

I'm an innie. I've read stories where people told their employers that they have bipolar and then the employers gave the person a way easier job...which kind of seems like the employer sees bipolar as a disability. Yes, it does disable us at some times, but it also grants us some great abilities. If it weren't for bipolar, I don't think I would have been a straight-A student in high school. Nor would I have such an easy time understanding calculus! People who don't have bipolar just really need to understand the blessings of having it, not just see it as a drawback. Anyway, back on topic!

Because of the stigma, I keep quiet about my diagnosis. Only my parents, one of my older sisters, and both of my closest friends know about my diagnosis. And my aunt who's a psychologist and helped me to determine whether I had a mood problem or not.

I have to say though, I admire Mocha's ability to tell just about everyone about having bipolar. I think that's really awesome.
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by hal » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:17 am

Madelyn:"People who don't have bipolar just really need to understand the blessings of having it, not just see it as a drawback." RIGHT! I have long thought so... but not when depressed. But it has been said that BP is the only illness where people can (sometimes) be glad they have it.
. . . all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone.
-- Tennyson
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by Crazymedic » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:18 pm

I'm slowly working on being an outtie. I have told those that I want to know at my wrk and they have all been very open and understanding about it. Others I haven't just cause I'm not close to them. I've told some of my patients about it hoping to inspire them to take their meds or get the help they need. Most are shocked to learn about it. I think it help comfort them, that I understand what they are going through, that it's real.
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by do-over » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:32 pm

Boy, this is a really good yet sensitive topic. My family, having known me all my life, know of the "challenges" of my life, etc probably have the most critical view of me and would be the least likely to believe I could ever be a whole person or wholly dependable, wholly trustworthy, or wholly professional.

The opposite side of the spectrum are the people who don't know all of that. In that arena, I am viewed only as I am now and that is what is fair to me. I've tested this both ways and sometimes it was a good thing and sometimes it wasn't. More than once I have felt like I was being more closely watched for signs of craziness because they knew of my diagnosis.

On the flip side, -it was amusing when I had an employer come to me after working for her for 6 months and tell me that she had previously had an incorrect view of mental illness because I acted so, "normal". Now I'm in a funny situation in that I moved to a tiny town where everyone knows everyone and gossip is one of the few social activities that everyone can share it. For this reason, I have been honest because I'd rather they hear about "me" from "me" rather than through the grapevine.

But I work in a city so I've only told one person I work with and that's only because her son was recently diagnosed as BP. Being the employee from out in the country is enough of a stigma. I don't need to add any other stigma to that. This site drew me because it is such a relief to read and communicate with people that have the same problem I do. It's refreshing. It's a relief to be able to be myself because you all seem to be free to be yourselves, too. It's lonely being something no one else is. They don't get it even though some try to be kind about it. What I really feel they are thinking is that I am weird.
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by Paco » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:17 pm

Wow! great topic. I admire those who can share. In my previous employer after I was hospitalized many years ago I swore I would never again. While my current job I am sure HR has an idea I have never mentioned it. To be honest I am very ashamed of it. On someone else they are unique. On myself it is horrible.
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by HVAC1 » Wed May 04, 2016 2:54 pm

I'm bi-innie/outie I guess.
I figure screw it if you are a friend and you can't take me as me. Well....Bye! My family is an entire farm of a whole medly of different crazies of one form or another. So no issue there. Told HR. They're insensitive pricks, another story, and I told my best bud at work. So I'm out of the closet at home and half stuffed in there at work

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by Polrus » Thu May 05, 2016 1:34 pm

I've been thinking/talking a lot around this subject recently, then I noticed this thread so had to put a few words in.

My illness has always been my closely guarded secret. My family knew because they took me in when I was homeless after being discharged from hospital, but they couldn't handle the crazy so I was passed around relative after relative. That was maybe 21 years ago (but they still remember, lol) I was open with my friends back then and lost all of them. I ended up back on the streets because no one could handle me.

That was when I became a definite innie. I mostly got it together for a long while, still ups, downs and symptoms but milder swings and mostly less destructive symptoms. I had moved to England and had nearly no contact with family, so no one knew. I worked for about 7yrs and never told a soul. It was liberating to just be a norm.

I met my wife and obviously I let her know early on. When we started getting serious I moved again, to be with her. At first I was an innie still, but over time I started coming out at her urgings - "people will understand" She said, so I gave it a try. People did not understand. They all look at me differently now. I hate it. I want to crawl under a rock. Even 'sympathetic' people treat me different. I'm still me, people, move along, nothing to see here, lol.

I could say more about in or out, but this is long enough. I wish I was still an innie, boil it all down, most people don't get it, so they'll always treat you/see you different and most of us don't want or need that.

Just my experience. Keep fighting the good fight, outties, much respect!
Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.

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by skizzedkid » Wed May 25, 2016 11:29 pm

I've had sooooo many bad experiences with being out and about. It really does not pay to advertise for me. Nowadays I tell my closest family and my nurse+psychiatrist. That is more than enough.

Well, it's not as if there is so many to tell either. I don't work. I don't have any friends visiting. I do go to this community project for people retired due to bad psych karma twice a week. That is fun, and I talk a little there. But none of them has ever been commited, let alone involuntarily commited or restrained, so I kind of bite my tung with them too.

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by ophelia » Fri May 27, 2016 9:43 am

Hi Everyone,

I am definitely an innie. Since being diagnosed 4 years ago (although I have only been on meds for a year and a half now), I have told my husband, 3 of my friends, my mother in law and my sisters. I do try and speak out when people start joking about BP or other mental illnesses, however I am "lucky" in that my mother and sister are also diagnosed. So I am able to use them as examples and explain why I don't find their jokes amusing. I also have to fight back the urge to say "You know, I have BP disorder", just to see the looks on their faces. My brother in law frequently makes comments about "crazy people" who could have "BP disorder or some other crazy shit", and I'm hoping one of these days I will have the courage to tell him I'm one of the people he's trying to describe.

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by Polrus » Fri May 27, 2016 10:27 am

I say be what you're comfortable being. If you are capable of speaking out and putting up with possible fall out, then do it, we need all the strong advocates we can get, but, Ophelia, Skizz, if it's too far outside your comfort zone, forget about it for now. You've got more than enough on your plate without adding extra hardships.

When you get more stability, when you're stronger in yourself, when you're ready - take those fuckers down. Embarrass the shit outta them. Let them see what idiots they've been, but in a dignified, non-confrontational way.

Innies grow into outties, if we're lucky and we want it, until then don't stress on it and don't let their comments get to you. No matter what anybody says, it's just ignorance, you know the reality.

More warriors for the fight, yes, but get your armor on first.
Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.

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by Jemane » Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:52 am

My work found out when I had a suicide attempt and was hospitalised earlier this year. I felt a bit upset that my husband 'outed' me but they have been very understanding actially.
Most people that know anything think I have depression. There is less stigma about depression than bipolar I think.
I have tried not to tell too many people as I think most won't understand. Maybe by doing this I'm perpetuating the stigma though.
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by Pancake » Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:21 am

Maybe by doing this I'm perpetuating the stigma though.

Not necessarily, it's always possible to reform others' attitudes without coming out yourself.

It's great that your work has been understanding.
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by hal » Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:58 pm

Jemane wrote:Most people that know anything think I have depression. There is less stigma about depression than bipolar I think.

Agreed. Then they feel sorry and look down on you. With BP, they just don't understand... or worse.
. . . all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone.
-- Tennyson
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by reeb » Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:02 pm

Super duper open about it.
My philosophy is, if you don't want to be my friend because I have Bipolar Disorder, then I guarantee you that I don't want to be your friend either. :lol:
I've shared my story publicly on my blog, as well as some other articles on mental illness, and I am really an advocate for breaking the stigma through my writing.
The more people who see, "wow! she's a capable human being AND she has bipolar disorder!", the more people will stop looking down on our disorder. :roll: :lol: :D :mrgreen:
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by Jac68 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:55 pm

As someone else said, I'm bi-innie

Obviously my husband & kids know. My mom knew & my 2 good friends. I know longer work, but my previous boss seemed to know before me. My in-laws definitely don't know, they don't even like me bringing up my son having ADHD (he also has BP & they don't know that). Unless my mom opened her big mouth, no one else in my family knows, including my siblings.
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by clare_hart » Sun Jul 17, 2016 3:59 pm

Hi reeb; I haven't seen you before, so if I missed earlier posts, welcome anyway!

reeb wrote:
My philosophy is, if you don't want to be my friend because I have Bipolar Disorder, then I guarantee you that I don't want to be your friend either. :lol:


Amen.
All in favor? Say "yea."
Yea.
(All against, say "nay?" None? The ayes have it!)

reeb wrote:. . .
The more people who see, "wow! she's a capable human being AND she has bipolar disorder!", the more people will stop looking down on our disorder. :roll: :lol: :D :mrgreen:


That's something I just mentioned in a new family post: BPs are usually smart, creative, humourous, and compassionate. Once they're on an even keel, that is. :mrgreen:
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by devgurl00 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:31 pm

i'm in between.... i had to out myself a few years ago when i was hospitalized for a what i know now was a manic episode. i got much better, and was up for a promotion, then didn't get it because my boss thought i was "sick". i put up a big stink and HR finally gave me the promo because i was going to fight it. you can't just not promote someone when they do the job well, just because of a "disability". so that boss knew about me.

then, a couple years ago, they decided to "demote" me, keeping my salary the same and my seniority and bonus plan the same just gave me a job that i am so overqualified for. i took it because it was either that or quit. i have to admit it's kinda nice not to have so much stress. so anyway, my new supervisor knows about my BP because of my most recent manic event 2 weeks ago. but she's being really understanding so far.

i tend to be an innie with coworkers and people in general, but get really irritated when people use bipolar as an adjective for things like the weather. it just pizzes me off.
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by mom6 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:09 am

HVAC1 wrote:I'm bi-innie/outie I guess.
I figure screw it if you are a friend and you can't take me as me. Well....Bye! My family is an entire farm of a whole medly of different crazies of one form or another. So no issue there. Told HR. They're insensitive pricks, another story, and I told my best bud at work. So I'm out of the closet at home and half stuffed in there at work

The best part of being crazy is even when you're alone you have someone to talk to

Omg! Who the hell r u! You r so funny! I started out an outie then realized that might have repurcussions for my kids from people who r scared. So now im an outie if it comes up. I like to educate. Now if anyone calls me "ill" i just look all offended and say (who says this is an illness just because i am different than u? I consider this an exceptionality, thank u very much." ( that is what they call kids with disabilities or anything that gives them an iep in school now adays) lol. That probably makes them more scared.,.....( omg, she doesnt even know shes crazy.....!)
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