Opening Up

For some people with mental health condition, disclosure may be difficult because of the stigma attached to having depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. People might label someone with these conditions as crazy, overly-dramatic, or attention seeker. Hence, the choice is to keep it to themselves and suffer in silence.

When my therapist, Dr. Sermonia, confirmed my conditions, the last thing I asked her is that, “Should I keep this or should I let my loved ones know?” She said it is all right to tell them and in that way I could be an advocate. So I did.

The only fear I had in telling my conditions is that people may not understand my situation. Depression and bipolar disorder are invisible illnesses. But I gathered my resolve despite that fear. I had to because for so many years (dating back from childhood up to the present) I have been in battle with my own thoughts and emotions. I won’t be silenced anymore and these conditions now with names, must be ceased no matter how long and unpredictable the process may be.

When I went home that evening, I told my Mama about it. I asked her to buy my medicine and revealed that I have depression and bipolar disorder. She was the first person to know. Was she surprised? I don’t know. Maybe. The day after my visit to my therapist, I went back to school. Since one of the factors that triggered my condition is the workplace, I talked to the principal about my diagnosis. Usual advices which I could barely remember. I think that people would have the same thing to say to people like me—“Be strong” or “Have faith”, and it is all right. I could not even explain things which I could hardly grasp.

I told my condition to some of the teachers, then to my close friends. Receiving words of encouragement lightened up my load at that time. Friends and colleagues who chatted through FB messenger made me feel that I am loved despite my illness. But despite those, at the end of the day, depression still lingered and I knew I had to fight alone. I have to help myself.

Somehow, opening up is a good start for people to understand what I am going through. Certain reasons why I am aloof or withdrawn or my moods change out of the blue. This is my journey and I am glad there are few people around who are willing to listen everytime I open up.

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