#44 Fear of disclosing mental illness

empowerment Jan 23, 2020



Can you remember when you were first diagnosed and you heard those words, “It’s bipolar disorder, and we’re going to treat you starting with (drugs XYZ)…”? What went through your mind? Was it relief at finding a name for a lifetime of struggle? Or was it confusion over what to do next?

Maybe as time went on you went from these feelings to something a lot harder to deal with: the fear of a new reality with mental illness. And maybe your most recent episode of bipolar is still imprinted on your subconscious. Either way, you had to face one thing from now on—whether or not to make this a secret.

On today’s episode of The Bipolar Now Podcast, Mike shares a story from a Listener about the nightmare of having to face a family where religion makes mental illness a sin. Listen along for some incredible lessons about coming to terms with this difficult new diagnosis.


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  • Being diagnosed as a person with bipolar disorder means that there are now more questions to ask and things to learn.
  • Some people spiritualize mental illness (which it is, but only in part). However, shame and fear are doing you no favors in social settings. Or ever.
  • Getting diagnosed isn’t simple or quick. Oftentimes it can take ten years or even more to receive a diagnosis, especially if familial shame is involved.


Lifer Discussion Guide

Use the questions in today’s Lifer guide to help you look for places where you experience the fear of sharing your diagnosis. “Lifers” are special people who have the kind of faithfulness to you that assures you they’ll be there when called upon. If you haven’t nominated a Lifer as part of your non-medical support team, what are you waiting for? :-)

1) What’s one embarrassing thing you did as a kid, that you can laugh at now?

2) What’s something important in your life that you’re proud of yourself for accomplishing?

3) What was going on in your life when you first received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder?

4) Who are some people in either your friendships or your family that you’ll make sure to never tell about your diagnosis? / Why are they so untrustworthy?

5) How can I help you build out your network of trustworthy people?


Join the Tribe!

Once you’ve had a chance to talk or journal about these things you might have a question from this episode. If so make sure you head on over to The Bipolar Now Podcast Group on Facebook! We’re all looking to get good at disclosing our disorder(s), and we’d love for you to practice with us. So don’t miss out!


Other ways to enjoy this episode

Download a transcript