I write anonymously because I do not want anyone to know that I have mental illness. I have BP, PTSD, OCD and GAD. I work in people’s homes doing in-home senior care. I know that if some of my clients knew that I live with mental illness that they would be uncomfortable having me care for their loved ones. I also want people to see me for me and not constantly use my diagnosis as a reason that I may behaving a certain way.
I recently told a family member that I think my clients might fire me if they knew I had bipolar disorder. My family member’s response was, “Can you blame them?” !!! That offended me. If you knew which family member said that to me you would be upset for me.
Anyhow, I recently started working with a new set of clients; a husband and wife. Their daughter is their main caregiver. I have become friends with the daughter. The daughter, I will call her “Sunshine” because she’s so nice, told me that she has a daughter who has bipolar disorder but will not take medication for it. A few months later, she told me that her mother, whom I care for, also has bipolar disorder. Sunshine did not know that I have bipolar disorder as well.
I recently had to cut back working weekends because I was working 6 days a week; I am also in college, am married and have 2 kids. Sunshine has been so nice and is trustworthy so I decided to tell her the truth of why I was cutting back hours. I let her know that I have bipolar disorder and that my husband was worried for my mental health with all that I am doing. My client couldn’t believe it. She was not judgemental at all about it. She was actually excited because she said she could use me as an example to her daughter and tell her that you can take medications and live well. Note: Her daughter would definitely benefit from medications.
Telling my employer was not easy to do but something told me that I could trust her. She said that it makes her so mad that people with bipolar disorder are treated unfairly and are judged unfairly.
I still am weary of letting people know that I live with mental illness. There is too much stigma involved and I have had some hateful things said about me behind my back and to my face regarding bipolar disorder. The past gossip has had a negative impact on some of my family members, too.
Remember, it does get better.
More than Mental