People stubbornly cling to their idea of diagnosis and it’s not our place to try to change them. They see us as nuts, disordered, messed-up personalities, sick for life, untreated, angry (and that’s a symptom, right?) and all sorts of other nasty things. They actually fear us. Some will not pick up the phone and actually fear we will do violence through the phone line. That is actually psychotic thinking because it’s not at all possible. It is an unrealistic, exaggerated fear of “mental illness” (their own fears!) but so be it. I have known people to refuse to talk to me, refuse to hang out, refuse to look at me, etc. All because of this vague, exaggerated, psychotic and very paranoid fear of theirs.
I even know people afraid to open my emails (ones really from me), afraid to read them, and scared to click on the links I send and refusal to open attachments that are really from me. No, they’re not afraid of viruses. No, they’re not afraid I’m sending “code.” They’re afraid of the truth. They have even told me they don’t like reading stories about human rights. This is actually a fear of knowing their own human rights are being violated. They don’t like admitting they might be wrong and they hate apologizing for having called me crazy in the past (and they were wrong).
I hated it when people refused to give me their phone number. I understand when a person is a casual friend, or just an acquaintance and things can be done by an occasional email. But sometimes communication was much, much more efficient over the phone, and “texting” is hugely inefficient. It got to the point when it became grossly inconvenient not to talk on the phone but the person STILL refused to share their phone number. Then it got so obvious. I started to realize the person was paranoid of me. How can one person do harm to another with merely a phone number? I got pissed off and frustrated.
Of course, things are different now but the old people DO NOT CHANGE. Don’t expect them to, either. You might thing that getting the diagnosis off my record made the people in my life realize they were wrong but this is 100% untrue.
They STILL refuse to admit it. The “nice” or not so nice people in your life who see you as mentally ill will ALWAYS see you that way. Sorry to say, this is the sad consequence of a diagnosis. A diagnosis is a permanent social fixture. You can get it out of your own mind and stop calling yourself by the diagnosis, but those that see you as “bipolar” or whatever will not stop.
Please don’t give me examples of the ONE time someone did. These are rare exceptions, not the rule.
I have all new friends now and all new acquaintances. That’s the sad reality. My old friends are gone. Not one is in my life. Who would want people in your life who see you as disordered?
No one from any of my colleges speak to me, even though I was a stellar student who did well academically. Not the faculty. Not the students. Sad but true. I’m not a patient anymore. They can’t wrap their heads around that, and don’t want to.
The only way you can expect your family to stay in your life is if they never believed the diagnoses in the first place. That is true of some families. But not many.
I have tried very very hard. Tried to tell my brothers I am getting my disability papers just to “prove” I was fraudulently put on SSDI. Tried to explain that i am working. Tried to recommend books and articles which they have yet to read. Tried and tried, and it doesn’t change much of anything. I could win the Nobel Prize or do a TED Talk. But I don’t think that anything I do or say would bring my family back to a place of understanding. I’m scared it won’t ever happen, not until after I am dead. And that is sad. Never mind I plan to live a very long time if I have my way.
Sorry to say, diagnosis harm is very very deep and far more serious than anyone realizes. To me, being called mentally ill did more harm to me than any chemical ever did. I can undo the harm from the chemicals but to undo the diagnosis I had to uproot my whole life and re-plant it. That I know of, this is the sad truth for most anyone.