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Kelsey’s Story

“Do not let anyone treat you poorly when you’re doing the best you can. Stand up for yourself.”

Share your stigma experience.  

I am bipolar, and have overcome a lot. I no longer cycle between extreme episodes of mania and depression, but I still am made up of a lot of dualities. I have faced a lot of stigma because of this. Sometimes I am an energetic, positive, and lively person…other times I am tired, straight-faced, and can’t think of a single thing to say. I have a long history of connecting with friends who are insecure and who have dependent personalities when I am my joyous self. I live my life in extremes and am either talkative or busy or a quiet couch-potato. As soon as I retreat into couch-potato mode, these friends who are used to me being the entertainment suddenly get angry with me. They are used to tagging along to the parties I get invited to or the imaginative activities I plan. When I’m good, I’m goooooood….I’m like social superwoman. I explain that it’s just how I am and I don’t feel like hanging out. Sometimes they convince me to hang out anyway and I’m irritable because of it. They are trying to force me back into the friend they have become so dependent on. Recently, a friend told me that she felt like she was “walking on eggshells” around me and wanted me to apologize. I had already told her everything about my mental illness, my pattern with friendships, and that I was currently depressed. It hurt me so much that SHE was mad at ME and thought I was in the wrong.

How did you overcome this experience?

I called her out on it. I told her she was being unfair and she apologized. I think a 3 strike policy works well. Unfortunately, I communicated everything about me with her and she still managed to make the situation about her. She has offended me too many times and still wants apologies. I have a small number of very close friends who would never behave this way. When communication is open, but you still do not feel love and support from someone, that’s when you know the relationship is over.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

Being bipolar can sometimes mean not knowing if your opinion is true to yourself. Reflect on it, then trust yourself. Your opinion does matter! Do not let anyone treat you poorly when you’re doing the best you can. Stand up for yourself.

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