(October 16, 2006)

Anyone who is familiar with my blog knows how I always say I’m not much affected by stigma – as though I’ve risen above it. Well I haven’t risen above it, and I guess no one with a mental disorder will for many years. I got careless today and told someone – at the wrong time and in the wrong way – before she had gotten to know me first.

I could kick myself! Someone called to ask about my support group. After I told her where it is and when I mentioned that I have bipolar disorder. This lady, who was so friendly to begin with, went noticeably quiet.

Why did I do that? I didn’t have to do that! It had nothing to do with anything. Couldn’t I just have waited and mentioned it in passing when I introduce myself at the group ? That was so dumb!!

I have talked about how free I’ve become at church, not having to keep my disorder a secret. But that took a long time in coming. I still don’t talk about it with people who I don’t know well – not unless they ask. I had to let them get to know me first. I had to find appropriate times and places to let them know. When I first started coming to this church I had a meeting with the pastor and let him know. He was wonderful. Said that he would like to learn about this disorder from me. He and his wife prayed with me when I was going through a difficult time. Others came to know very gradually.

This will be a bit of a stressful week. I go to visit my sister in the Gulf Islands off the mainland for Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, on Thursday night and Saturday, I will be giving a one-hour presentation on candid child photography. Every time I think of it, I get a flutter of butterflies in my stomach. The talk on Saturday, especially, scares me a bit. It will be at a photo conference and I may have quite a large audience. If you pray, please think of me.