Once you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you have to make a decision whether you will tell other people that you have it.  Although this is a personal decision, there will probably be some people you will want to explain it to, such as your family.  If you are employed, you may have to explain bipolar disorder to your employer.  It can be very important to your own stability that at least the people closest to you understand you and how your disorder impacts your thinking and behavior.

 

This may be the most difficult discussion you will ever have.  Even though, as I said, telling people whether you have bipolar disorder is a personal decision, keeping it a secret can negatively impact you.  It can bring unnecessary stress upon you, and stress can be a trigger to a bipolar episode.  One of the most important things you must do to avoid an episode is to keep your stress levels down.

 

Most people find that when they tell their friends and family that they have bipolar disorder, they are not surprised at all, because they knew “something” was wrong – they just didn’t know what it was or what it was called; so that your discussion with them about having bipolar disorder might just come as a relief to them.

 

You may be worried about how others will accept the news about you having this disorder; about what they will think about you now.  This is a natural feeling and quite understandable, as there is still a stigma in our society surrounding mental illness in general.  People fear what they do not understand, and one of the things you will need to do is educate them about your bipolar disorder.

 

In order to do this, the first thing you will need to do is educate yourself about your disorder.  When you were first diagnosed, your doctor may have given you a brochure or pamphlet about bipolar disorder which may have had some information in it; however, you would have soon found out that this is not enough information.

 

To get more information, you will need to further your education by reading books and articles about bipolar disorder, which you can find at the library and on the Internet, for starters.  You should also be able to find some books at your local bookstore.  Remember, before you can educate anyone else, you must first educate yourself.

 

Once you have a good working knowledge of the disorder, you will be more prepared to explain bipolar disorder to others.

 

Basically, you should tell people that bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance of the brain, for which you take medication to balance.  Many people won't understand this, so you could compare it to a diabetic who has a sugar imbalance in their body and needs to take insulin to balance it.  

 

Bipolar disorder is becoming more well-known than it once was, and you will probably find that people will accept that you have the disorder, especially once you explain it to them.