Hello, and welcome. Let me introduce myself. My name is Sarah, and I am the creator of this film project, and community webspace.
This is rather scary so please, bear with me, as I have an announcement… I have bipolar II. Not everyone who knows me agrees with my choice to be public about this, and I understand why. Likewise, there are many people who know me, who have no idea that I even have this as a diagnosis.
People with any sort of psychiatric diagnosis experience stigma, and discrimination, regularly. I have learned over the years to keep this fact about myself completely secret, or else I would face repercussions. I have been teased, judged, and flat out insulted by even those who are very close to me. I’ve also been loved unconditionally, supported, and fought for by my beloved husband, dear friends, and family.
The fact that I am healthy and stable, with a typical productive life, is irrelevant to others once they hear the word: bipolar. Suddenly, I am regarded as defective, and perhaps untrustworthy. A host of uncertainty comes with that label. I am one of the lucky ones though! I feel well balanced these days, and not overly “foggy”, or diluted. Treatment has been challenging to say the least, but I’ve come to find my groove. It is a daily challenge to maintain my health, and a constant consideration. For me, I find it is my duty and profound obligation to make certain I leave no stone unturned in my goal of maintaining wellness – for the sake of my family. As a result of that work however, I find my life is moving at a great pace these days. I have love in my home, and acceptance there as well. That backing is the only reason I can take on this project, and find more of you out there.
I feel as though I was given the gift of profound improvement, and I would consider myself to be in a really stable place. I am not claiming to be “cured”. I have difficult moments, but I have learned how to manage them constructively. It is the perfect time for me to open the door for others, and announce to them all that they are not alone. This community has so much to offer one another, as we all, collectively struggle towards a peaceful equilibrium.
My alleviation of symptoms, and suffering, was only possible because of the medical intervention of my psychiatrist, and the unconditional love my husband, and family, offered me.
The fact that I have fear about exposing myself publicly is reason enough that this film needs to be made. We need a modern examination of what this label really entails. This is a spectrum disorder, and it affects everyone differently. We need to evaluate how people with bipolar I and II are perceived and treated by society. There are over 4.7 million people *diagnosed* in the U.S. alone so I know I am not unique. We need to examine how this diagnosis came to be historically, and decide if the old methods for classification really still fit. What does new research say about the causality of bipolar? What are the benefits to having bipolar, because believe me, there are benefits intrinsic to this so-called fault. What are the advantages and pitfalls to medication as a treatment? Do people realize how much effort those who are affected put into being well? I have so many questions that I will be examining in great detail, and I’m eager to see where this film adventure takes me. I reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.”
It has strangely dawned on me, that there is much that I haven’t explored with regards to treatment options and the tactics that others have chosen. I hope others will be brave and connect with me. I couldn’t in good conscience ask anyone to share their story, without taking that same step myself.
I will be posting information about the film as it progresses via this blog. You will also find interesting information relevant to treatment advances and research about bipolar here. Stay tuned, and thanks for all your support! I strongly suggest checking me out on Google +. I’ve been connecting with a lot of people that way. Feel free to say hello. 🙂