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Telling Friends About Your Bipolar Illness

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I’m in a group of women who go to lunch about every other month. They’re the wives of the people with whom my husband works. My sister-in-law calls the group “The Wives’ Club.”

You get the idea.

Years ago, about ten years ago, I decided to “come out” to this group. I sat them all down and told them my secret.

It hardly made any ripple.

I think it was because people didn’t really know what bipolar illness is.

If I could take that “coming out” back, I would.

Simply because my husband regrets that I told his co-workers’ wives. Who automatically went home and told their husbands.

I think he deep down wants a “normal” wife.

I remember telling my best friend. She rarely commented. Went onto something else. For her, she had known me so long that it didn’t matter what illness I had acquired. We’d been friends since first grade.

My best friend knew me for a long time before I got ill. She treats me, of all my friends, the most normal.

Once I told a woman who was struggling with her own depression about my bipolar illness. It was kind of a mercy confession. I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone. We became good friends after that. We had something in common.

As a rule, I don’t tell anyone new that I meet. None of my work associates know.

Whom you tell is completely up to you. You might want to talk this over with your psychiatrist or psychologist.

It is possible to tell absolutely no one. I do recommend telling your spouse or significant other. It’s important for them to know so they completely understand you.

Does anyone else have to know?


I imagine some people don’t even tell their own mother.

I was with my mom when I initially “broke” so she was deeply involved with my illness from the beginning.

One thing is for sure, there’s no hurry about getting the word out. Make sure you’re comfortable with the idea before you go shouting it from the rooftops.

If you don’t do this, you might regret disclosing the info to some people like I do.

There will always be time to disclose to family and friends.

You’ve got a lifetime.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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