Moving on anonymously - for now

My mom brought up a good point in regards to my dilemma of revealing or not revealing my true identity here on the blog: the kids. Playdates. Would other moms not want their kids playing with mine if they knew that I had Bipolar. Wow. Why had I not thought of this? It's a sad reality in our world that so many people are so incredibly ignorant to mental health issues, bipolar disorder especially. But it doesn't surprise me. Hell, I barely knew anything about it until it jumped up and bit me in the ass. I was forced to read up on it and learn about it as fast as I could in order to get my life back in order. My husband and my parents did everything they could to help. There were countless hours spent online researching symptoms and conditions to try to confirm what the doctors were telling us about what was happening to me. My dad took me to the bookstore where we stood in front of the psychology section for a couple of hours pouring over the books on the shelves to try to find some that could help us. My mom went online and was able to find Julie Fast's Health Cards System which she immediately ordered for me. Me, well, I was just trying to keep my head above water.

Once I received the formal diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, it was a bit of a relief to know that we had a starting point to help me begin on the road to complete recovery. That was in the Spring of 2006, and after spending the majority of that year clinically depressed, it wasn't until the beginning of March 2007 that I began to feel like my old self again. I had learned about the extreme highs I had felt, learned why I needed an anti-psychotic medication, and had also learned what it felt like to be at the lowest low on the depression spectrum and how once I found the right medication for me - the mood stabilizer Lithium - I could be completely balanced and could stay that way as long as I managed my moods closely with my psychiatrist.

When my mom brought up the point about playdates, it really made me think. And as usual for me, I can see both sides to the argument.

If I were a mom to two small children and had never been exposed to mental illness or bipolar disorder, and only knew what I heard of it on the news or in magazine stories, than yeah, I'd probably not want my kids playing with other kids whose mother had Bipolar. If I were that uninformed about the condition, I would probably think that she was a bad mother. And as my kids grew up, they would probably begin to believe the same thing, causing my kids pain by teasing them behind their backs.

These thoughts break my heart.

On the other side, there is a huge part of me that feels that if someone is so ignorant about bipolar disorder that they wouldn't be friends with someone who had the condition, then I wouldn't want to associate with them anyway.

But that is just me thinking about my viewpoint on the issue. I have to think about the future here and my kids might feel differently. I hope they don't, but I don't want to jeopardize their childhood development based on my desire to reveal my true identity and the condition I live with each and every day of my life. It's not fair to them to make this decision while they are so young. So I won't.

At this point, I have chosen to move forward with the blog anonymously. I just feel like it is the right thing to do for my family - not just my kids, but for my husband too.

Full disclosure

So in beginning this project I decided to consult with my husband to make sure that I had his full support. He knows that I have been wanting to do something like this for a long time, I just wasn't at the right point in my life to be able to do it until now. I believe that I am a strong writer.  People have told me that I am an excellent writer actually. But in my opinion, there is one huge roadblock standing in the way of my blog becoming a success: full disclosure. Coming out to the world and saying that you have bipolar is such a scary thing. There is so much stigma attached to the label of bipolar that it makes it almost impossible for most people to admit that they have the diagnosis at the risk of losing friends or losing their job. Future employment is probably the major reason my husband and I are nervous about unveiling my identity completely.

As an avid blog-reader, I myself know that unless a blogger shows their true identity and describes his or her life in detail and with pictures, their blog is not all that interesting or captivating. I want to be able to share without strings attached and at this moment this isn't possible. Not without my husband's approval and he did make a valid point when we talked this evening. He wants me to think about it more.

I've had what I would consider to be a successful career so far as a Recruiter and, although I'm a stay-at-home-mom right now to our two kids, I'd like to work again. I am easily described as a Type-A personality who craves challenges and goals to exceed, so I predict that there will be a time in the next couple of years that I will want to do some type of recruiting work and therefore I would need to be hired by someone. Whether that be a private client hiring me to do some freelance recruiting, or a company hiring me as a contract recruiter, it's all I've known career-wise for the past 10 years and it is work that I do well and enjoy. So will coming out to the public that I am bipolar hurt my future chances of employment?

I guess in a sense I'm also wondering, "Will my diagnosis revelation change the way people in general feel about me as a person?" I really hope not. That would truly be sad.

Only time will tell. I'm going to consult a few more people who I respect given their situations surrounding bipolar disorder and disclosure, in addition to my parents and brother, to collect some opinions which will help me to make this very difficult decision.

Have you ever been scared to disclose to friends or colleagues/bosses that you are bipolar? How did you handle the decision?