Hi my name is Dennie and I have bipolar and general anxiety disorder…not exactly the way to make a great first impression. I know I struggle with meeting new people and deciding when is a good time to tell them. I can imagine it is really difficult if you have started dating and are wondering that…will they run…will they still like you? There is no specific time like 2 weeks or 2 months…it all depends on the situation and how you feel. People really struggle with deciding if they should tell their boss or people at work about their mental illness. This is where that damn stigma shows its dirty head. We get scared people are going to think we are sick or not be able to do our job anymore…we are no longer reliable because we may break into tears at any minute or we are incapable of handling stress at work…we become less of an employee…that is the fear.
I am in a bit of a different situation in that I have written a book about living with mental illness. It is a memoir so it is pretty hard to talk about the book and not have people clue in…I have nowhere to hide anymore. I realized this when I decided to write the book. Some people have fears that they will do something public and somehow some dirty laundry will suddenly appear. I do not have that fear…every damn screw up is in the book! I am also a speaker so I stand on stage and announce to a crowd that I am different…that I can be successful even with a mental illness. I have enough dirty laundry in my book to keep even my Mother (who I am sure washes clean clothes just to do laundry) busy for months. I will not lie it is very scary
There is no real way to prepare, because people are going to judge us. People will have many bad things to say about me…many are just going to write me off as crazy (Hence the name “Crazy and Proud of It.”) I mean that is the funniest of terms…I am not crazy, I can do things just as well as the next person. I have a mental illness not a deformity. People will assume mental illness is the same as mentally challenged but I do not. There is a difference in functionality…maybe I am not using the correct terms but I hope I am getting my point across. Still in today’s society, all of us are often looked down upon. When are others going to see us as people…people who are different. It is the same as discrimination against race…there is no place for it in today’s society.
It has taken a lot of courage on my part to be willing to put my life on paper and then offer it out to the world. I definitely did not do it because I thought it would be fun to have some look down upon me…I am praying I might help others and offer hope. The only way I’ll be able to handle the judgement is I have to let it slide…it is what I am fighting against so if they want to think they are better than me…just watch me! I am no Country music fan, but I do have a soft spot for Dolly Parton. I mention this because I heard a song by her the other day and a line in the chorus really stuck with me (be very thankful you are reading this and not listening to me trying to sing it)…”she’s a sparrow when she’s broken but an eagle when she flies.”