Coming Out as a Lesbian…With Bipolar Depression

Knowing when to come out as a lesbian in a new relationship can be tricky. It could be a new co-worker,  potential friend, neighbor, anyone. If you come out too soon, they may let societal stereotypes shape how they experience you or prevent them from experiencing you at all.  If you come out too late, they may wonder why you did not trust them or why you were hiding that about yourself?  It’s the same with coming out as a person with a mental illness.  If you reveal that information too soon, the extreme stigmas attached to mental illness may forever color their vision of you. But if you don’t come out soon enough, you can get accused of lying about yourself to the other person. This is particularly touchy in dating relationships. I am open about my sexual orientation and my mental illness. I believe I have the luxury of being open, while so many others must hide it to protect their jobs or their children. I try to be up front about both issues. On one blind date four years ago, I barely had broached the subject of my bipolar depression with my date when she ran screaming from the room. Okay, not quite that bad, but she threw money on the table to cover the dinner we had not yet ordered and said, “I refuse to ever date another bipolar in my life.” Talk about an overreaction. But it was a good thing for me to learn early about her. I am not a bipolar, I am a woman with bipolar depression, just like my mother was not a cancer but a woman with cancer. How we speak about disabilities reveals a great deal about how we think about the individuals who live with them. So, it may have been a very good thing but it’s painful to have someone categorize you as “something” not worth even getting to know. And so, coming out becomes an over and over process, just as coming out as a lesbian does.  More about my life as a woman with bipolar depression soon. Please contact me with questions, if you have them, and I will do my best to address them.

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5 thoughts on “Coming Out as a Lesbian…With Bipolar Depression

  1. oh dear…. that was the blind date from hell…. I used to work in a Mental Health Trust and I did a weekly blog email to my staff as they were very spread out across the south east of England and I wanted them to “know” me. After I’d been there about 2 months I blogged about a new facility we were developing in the Trust and my personal experience with depression. It was astonishing the number of responses I got to that one compared to others – even where I had told personal stories – and it was wholeheartedly positive which was great. And loads of people came up to me to share their experiences including one man whose wife had very severe depression and he said he had been ashamed to tell anyone in case they judged him because his wife was “mental” and this was people who worked in a Mental Health Trust!! The more we talk openly the less people will feel that shame – hopefully…. Well done you!

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    • Wow…that’s a story too! Thanks for reading and for stepping up to be the first posted comment of support! I so appreciate it! Thanks for reading AND sharing your stories!

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  2. Onamarae, thank you for sharing your experience. I have several people in my family who suffer from a form of mental illness, including my father, and I know the negative stigma attached to it. I have chosen to include it my novel to help bring awareness to Bi-polar Disorder in particular and aimed to illustrate the support system needed to help those who suffer from mental illness be successful in life. It’s time to put an end to the shame and rejection.

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    • Tye, I’ve read the blurb on your novel and can’t wait for a new part time job to start so I can order it! The novel I’m working on now also deals with some family mental health issues….again, light into darkness, breaking the silence! Power to all of us!

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  3. My daughter is a woman with bipolar disorder and I watch her struggle every day. She is one of the bravest, kindest, women I have ever met, as are you. Thank you for stepping out of the margins and being. The world needs to see that fighting a disorder or disease does not make us bad or other. You rock.

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