4 Fears That Stop Me From Talking About My Bipolar Disorder in the Philippines
These are my four reasons why I don’t seek and ask for help when I am going through a depressive or manic episode with bipolar disorder:
1. I fear I might be a burden.
This is what goes on in my head. My thoughts repeatedly tell me that “I might be a burden” or “I am a burden,” so it stops me from asking for help. Also, I know how busy people are. My friends told me that no one would know if I didn’t make the first move in asking for help. However, I am not a type of a person who regularly tells everyone how I’m feeling that day. I will wait for someone to ask me how I am, then give them my answer.
If you want to say “hi” or just want to let me know you are there in my darkest times, don’t hesitate to message me, or just leave a sticker, note or comment of encouragement. I would greatly appreciate it. Just let me know I am not alone in this battle.
2. Fear of rejection.
Honestly, I am afraid of rejection. I am afraid my thoughts and feelings will be rejected or invalidated. It makes me feel more anxious. Rejection hurts, so in order to prevent adding any more pain, I just keep everything to myself. Because, once I open up my emotions to someone, that person will automatically be liable for whatever will happen to me. I will start to make a standard of those people. Then, if they don’t meet that standard, I would definitely feel rejected. Instead, I hide in my shell.
3. Fear of condemnation, guilt and shame.
In my community in the Philippines, condemnation is rampant. People don’t take the time to understand mental health. I do not seek help because I am afraid of being condemned for having suicidal thoughts and ideation. Going through depression and trying to explain what you are feeling to a person uneducated in your mental illness is hard. It is like talking to a wall. That person’s response will definitely be condemning. They don’t seem to know how to handle people like us.
Everything might be approached in the spiritual realm, or demons and Satan will be brought up in conversation. An exorcism might even be performed, but that should never happen. I am also fearful when I suddenly have uncontrollable sexual urges when I am in a hypomanic phase. I am already condemned and filled with guilt because of the thoughts and feelings, so I do not open it up to others — only in this case. In my hypomanic episodes, I also experience extreme irritability that I don’t know how to explain. I will suddenly get mad without any reason. These things are all included in the list of hypomanic symptoms.
4. Afraid of how others will look at me.
I am kind of paranoid about opening up to people I know. They might look at me differently and may act in a cautious manner. They might even shrug me off or cut off their friendship with me. Others might take me for granted or they might even use me for their own motives. Honestly, even though I’ve been very vocal about this online, the paranoia still lingers in my head that people might label me as someone “crazy” because of my consultations with a psychiatrist, taking medicine and coming out with having a mental disorder. I am afraid of the mental health stigma in the Philippines, but I still believe in advocacy.
At the end of everything, we must always be nice to one another. If your friend, family member or loved one is living with a mental illness, please do remind them that they are not alone. Remind them they can trust you, and encourage them to see their mental health practitioners such as a psychiatrist and psychologist. Let us all end the stigma.
To those who are silently struggling with a mental illness, let’s help educate others regarding mental health and let our voices be heard, so that our communities, church, schools and families will be able to handle those living with a mental illness correctly and not discriminate against us. We have rights.
Follow this journey on the author’s blog.
Getty Images photo via coffeekai