When Your Friend Doubts Your Diagnosis of Bipolar 2
A good friend tells me she doesn't believe my bipolar 2 diagnosis. In fact, she confides that mental illness, in general, isn't really legit. Let me share with you how this all went down.
Recently I was on a girls trip with one of my closest friends. The trip was filled with new experiences together laughing our way from one place to the next. However, one adventure, I did not expect was the one that explored my friend's real feelings about mental health. Let's put it this way, it was the opposite of what I wanted to hear.
I could feel the tension between us every time the topic of mental health came up. The back and forth babble about the necessity of medication and the legitimacy of mental health conditions went from constructive conversations to aggressive disputes. All causing me to believe one thing, my friend doubts my diagnosis of bipolar 2 disorder.
Bipolar 2 Isn't Real! How I Felt Hearing That
It 's okay to have disagreements with friends, however, what if the argument doesn't pertain to current events, politics, or essential gossip. What if the disagreement has to do with the legitimacy of your biology. Imagine how difficult it is to handle this conversation when you are diagnosed with a mental health condition (How to Talk About Mental Illness: What Do I Say?). It is similar to telling your diabetic friend that diabetes is an excuse for obese people to justify their weight problem. However, if I walked away from the table, left her with the check and swore her off as a friend, it would not resolve anything. It was an opportunity for me to share a personal perspective on mental health and inform her about certain things in my life she was unaware of. I have to remind myself that I keep a lot of experiences hidden from my friends. The majority of the time my friends see me as outgoing and energetic. When they hear that I have a severe mood disorder, it contradicts what they believe. Sometimes people have to see it to believe it.
How Did I Handle the Conversation?
At first, I felt my emotions welling up inside of me to the point of exploding. However, I knew that getting aggressive would only make the situation worse and justify the out of control behavior people link to bipolar disorder. So how did I handle the conversation? I listened and acknowledged her honesty in a positive way. I relayed a clear message with confidence. The main point of my message was that my diagnosis of bipolar 2 is not something on the table for debating. This is not the subject of evolution or a conspiracy theory. My medication regimen is not up for discussion. As the cliche saying goes, "The proof is in the pudding," meaning that it is evident that my life has changed for the better since finding a good routine of medication. I am confident in my knowledge of mental health, my experience, my diagnosis and the way I choose to live my life.
We left the conversation agreeing on one thing, that conversations like this are good. My friend praised me for putting myself out there and utilizing mediated platforms to spread an important message. She told me how happy she is to see me thriving as an individual. Real friends love each other, but also challenge each other. Sometimes it results in strong arguments where one swears off the other for life, or it only ends with cheers to honest conversation. Sometimes it leads to both.
Have you ever experienced a situation like this? If so, how did you handle it? Please share your experience, thoughts and/or advice below in the comment section.
Blum, H. (2017, April 18). When Your Friend Doubts Your Diagnosis of Bipolar 2, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/living-with-bipolar-blog/when-your-friend-doubts-your-diagnosis-of-bipolar-2
Author: Hannah Blum
I am really sorry to hear that you continue to call them your friends. Denial is a toxic relationship. Not understanding is okay,, we all can learn, but no, you don't have to witness to believe. Fewer is much better for me.