Today, I came out. To everyone. We were discussing mental health discrimination at uni and – whoosh! – there it was. A rush and a push and I said it – “I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and now I’m not allowed to drive.” Following on from this, I shared more details: how I’ll have to buy special ‘mentals approved’ insurance, what it’s like submitting to a GP and psychiatrist, the complexity of knowing that a diagnosis is helpful but that it labels you for life, the fear of people finding out, being on the wrong medication for a long time, how people wouldn’t necessarily know anything was wrong… and everyone was fine. Nobody batted an eyelid and it was all just part of the session. They were as accepting as you could hope people entering our desired professions would be. Bit of a non-event really. There was one statistic from the lecture which really stood out to me: 1/5 gay men and lesbians and 1/3 bisexual people with mental health issues have had a psychiatrist make a causal link between their sexuality and their condition (King and McKeown, 2003). I can understand that the added stress of stigma and discrimination etc. might factor in but really, it did my head in.
Bisexual is a funny term. Like bipolar, it supposes two opposite ends rather than a messy and fluid spiderweb of stimulation and response. I’d probably prefer manic depressive (hetero lesbian?) as it allows all the things that those moods entail to happen at once in a big jumbly mess. Then there’s always pansexual (panpolar?) but the last time I had sex with something non-stick someone ended up in A&E. Honestly though, it makes me think of Teflon-coated hippies and coming out as a bipolar bisexual (wherever I fall on the scale – what a cop out!) would make me feel like ‘that girl’ at a party. The weird one who would snog everyone (eeeveryone) and inevitably end up crying on the stairs before jumping up and doing it all again. That being said, I was that girl. I once got someone’s shoes ran over… I think I’ll just stick to being a hypomanitee (…bi-popanatee?)
Today I felt good though. It made me giddy. I was naughty in Tesco and am now endeavouring to eat the evidence. I’m hoping that it was just a good mood rather than a sign of things to come – a couple of triggers have wriggled their noses in the background (been rather bouncy and silly, interest in sex despite still nursing a grotty cold, haven’t been able to concentrate as well on uni work) but hopefully they’re just sniffing at a good mood rather than preparing to snort up everything in sight.
Then again, last night I think I agreed to be in a performance of the Vagina Monologues. Must be mental.
King, M., McKeown, E. (2003) Mental health and social wellbeing of gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in England and Wales, Mind.