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After about twenty years of being in denial I'm finally ready to come out of the closet.
Are you shocked? Well so was I when I found out.
People who know me wouldn't have a clue that I'm "that way". I mean it's been twenty years, so I've done a pretty good job of hiding it up to now. Wouldn't you agree? Most of the people I know who are "that way" just go around flaunting it. I could never be that way...I mean flaunting the fact that I'm "that way". I know it's much more acceptable now than it was twenty years ago but I just could never bring myself to admit it. I was just so ashamed! It's almost like I'd be telling people that I have leprecy or something. And even leprecy is curable nowdays. But there's no cure for being "that way" is there?
Good Lord, twenty years ago they use to lock people up for being "that way". No wonder more people didn't come out of the closet back then. Now before you go assuming that you know what I mean when I say "that way", maybe you should read further. Things are not always what they seem.
They used to say it's not genetic but you're born with it, it's not something you can learn, and it's not a choice... my gosh why would anyone want to be "that way?" Most people would choose not to be "that way" if they could. It's not like we planned it you know? But in my family it seems to run only in the women. None of the men are "that way". My mom was "that way", my grandmother was "that way" and I think at least one of my aunts a few of my female cousins were "that way". All of the men in my family escaped it with no problems whatsoever.
Now that I know what it is that I'm dealing with I can take my medicine and do just fine. I always take my medicine like I'm supposed to now because I know it makes me feel even better than being "that way" makes me feel. I just love medical technology. They have medicine for everything now don't they?
One of the things that made me want to come out of the closet about being "that way" was the way people who are "that way" try to go without taking their medicine. They think that being "that way" is some sort of shameful thing, but it's really not. It's really just biochemistry. Serously. It's just a chemical imbalance in your brain. It's an illness, just like diabetes or high blood pressure. You take medicine for that don't you? So why wouldn't you want to take medicine for being "that way"?
Back when I first found out that I was "that way" it was a whole lot worse than it is now. People NEVER admitted it. And their family usually kept them locked away from normal people. They weren't even allowed to go to school. They were even put to death! Some were torchured! Some were even burned at the stake! Being "that way" back then was worse than being a criminal and people would hide their children from "those people".
Ok like I said I was coming out of the closet about this, so what am I really talking about?
You probably thought I was going to say I was gay but as far as I know they never locked people up for being gay, at least not in the last twenty years. But who am I to know? I guess they do lock you up if you're gay and you do something wrong.
So what else could it be?
Well this isn't a riddle either, or a guessing game. It's just my way of getting people to read about a problem that often goes unnoticed while people suffer silently for years and some never even know they have a problem while their relationships suffer, families shun them, and they sometimes run away or commit suicide before they ever get the help they need. You see them on the sidewalks in the bigger cities, some are in jail or even prison, and some are never discovered until they've gotten old and wind up in a nursing home.
But a lot of them wind up committing crimes and hurting people. They even commit murder or other violent crimes.
So not doing anything about this can have really bad consequences. And taking the medicine can make you feel really bad. But that's only for a few weeks. Then you start to feel really good, then you start to feel normal. NORMAL...
Did you know there were people who would give their eye tooth just to feel normal? I'm talking no drugs..not like you're high..just normal?
I use to think I'd never be like other people. I would never have friends. I would never be anyone and no one would ever like me. I hated myself and I never fit in. I was the square peg in the round hole. I always felt different. I always felt out of place. Never felt normal. All I ever wanted to be was normal.
I stayed on the sidelines. I would never talk to any of the other kids. I would just sit there wishing that someone would come and play with me. Oh they played with me alright. They pulled my hair and they laughed and they chased me. But boys are mean that way aren't they? I didn't know that then. They were being boys, but even the girls seemed different towards me. I always felt like they were all against me too. Everyone told me it was all in my head. There wasn't anything wrong with me, they'd say. I was bright and pretty, I had the world by the shoelaces, but I never felt that way.
I was almost 15 before I had a boyfriend. I was just plain ugly. At least I thought I was. So I always chose to hang out with the kids no one else wanted to hang out with. I always went out with the ugly boys. I'm talking the ones with the pimples and the kinky hair that the other girls wouldn't have gone out with if they'd been the last boys on earth. Even the really ugly girls! But they accepted me the way I was and didn't make me feel like I was ugly.
Now what on earth could make a person feel this way? Was I some sort of freak or something? well to be honest with you I thought I was. I really did.
And what's even wierder than this is that even after I was diagnosed for years later I was in denial about it. You would think that I would have been so happy to know what it was that made me feel so bad and that there was actually medicine that could make me feel more like other people. But when they told me what it was I RAN from it. That can't be what it is! Not me! Oh no! I couldn't have THAT!
I wasn't ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!
I even had a doctor to THREATEN me once that if I didn't take the medicine he was going to LOCK ME UP! And that's exactly what he did. He put me in a hospital away from my family, 100s of miles from home and I was locked up and made to take the medicine. They even tortured me. Do you really think I'm lieing about this? I'm sure it wasn't torture but you know how these medical procedures can be. Well yes ..it WAS torture. Thank God they don't do that any more. They hooked up electricity and put electrodes on my head and zapped me a few times. They even put me in jail.
But now that I know the truth I don't fight it any more because I know now they have a word for what's wrong with me and back then they didn't really know what it was.
I'm really one of the lucky ones. I found out when I was young and I never committed any crimes or hurt anyone... well that's not exactly true. I hurt myself, I hurt my parents, I hurt my husband and I hurt my kids, but that was because they loved me and wanted to see me do better. And to me it was always them hurting me. It always seemed in my mind like everything was against me. Doctors, my parents, kids at school, teachers, you name it. But looking back on my life I had every advantage. I had two parents who loved me. I had a more than one boyfriend. I was talented in music and had nothing holding me back except for one thing, and that was me. I also had a wonderful caring husband and four beautiful and talented children. I've been very blessed. But at one time I couldn't have said that. I was so in denial about my illness and it really could have been disasterous if I hadn't gotten help.I hope that if nothing else comes about from this article that at least I got your attention and if you know anyone who is suffering silently, you'll pay close attention to the danger signs.
Are they withdrawing from life or loved ones or finding less pleasure in things they use to enjoy?
Do they rarely talk on the phone or seem to be preoccupied with only one thing in particular?
Are they more or less interested in sex?
Do they seem to be swinging back and forth between happy and sad or angry and tearful?
Are they committing crimes like shoplifting or writing bad checks?
Are they impulsive and do things they wouldn't ordinarily do?
If they're an adult you really can't force them to seek help if they don't want to, unless they do commit a crime or they're a danger to themself or others, but knowing the signs can help you to help them Also knowing the law in your area will help.
Now before anyone accuses me of dishing out advice telling people to go out and try to have your mother in law arrested for being whacko...believe me. This isn't what I'm doing. And if anyone tries to say I'm practicing medicine without a license. I'll just tell them I'm certified. :D
Seriously, if you know the law you can sometimes get them the help they so desperately need against their will. A social worker can sometimes help you get a court order or can get them an evaluation through your local mental health. If a court order is needed to force them to get help, it's not the same as it used to be when I was sick. They don't put them in jail in most cases unless they commit a crime. So helping them to get the help on their own is always the best way. If they go to church, they may be more willing to talk to their pastor if he or she sees they are having problems. And no one but a pschiatrist can really assess whether or not they have a mental problem. It may just be grief, or it might be that they are just depressed or that they have a medical condition and not a mental health issue at all. But just being concerned about them should be a good enough reason for most people to realize that you really care and they shouldn't have a problem with it. If a person is truly mentally ill it can be tough getting them to agree to see a doctor. If this is the case, you'll need all the help you can get.
One last thing, if a person is a danger to themself or others, you may need to have them arrested. You're not being mean. You're simply doing what's necessary to protect them or protect someone else from being hurt. So don't feel bad about it.
You may be helping to insure them against physical harm or even death.
If you need someone to talk to about yourself or someone else you love, feel free to contact me. I might be able to help you in some way. And I'd be more than happy to do whatever possible to give someone the gift that was given to me over twenty years ago. I didn't think of it as a gift back then, but I still have my children and I still have myself. And life is the most precious gift of all. And now I've been given a couple of even more precious gifts. I have two beautiful grandchildren who I may have never even known if things had been different. Knowing that you have bipolar disorder is not the end of the world.
It may even be only the beginning:)
I'm working hard and keeping the midnight oils burning to get everything set back up after the database problems. It may take me a little bit to get done so if you were a member or you're trying to sign up, please hold off. I may have to go into maintence mode to prevent any more problems.
I promise you this, and I'm not too much for giving out promises. I will be giving it my best effort to get this ready to present to you by the deadline, which hopefully will be before thanksgiving.
What I need from you now is simple...