To get annoyed at people who think being mentally ill always steams down to that person being depressed?

(38 Posts)
altinkum Thu 15-Nov-12 08:04:45

My mum had been sectioned under the mental health act, for her own safety.

She has bipolar and social anxiety disorder, she is not depressed! On having to go home and get some family affairs in order, and explaning about my mums situation.

I'm always met with the same reply "oh she must be really depressed"... Etc...

On saying no she's not depressed but has diagnosed MH problems... Oh but she must be depressed.

Why can't peole see that althrough depression is medical diagnosis that it does not mean that everyone who has a mental health issue, aren't depressed because of their diagnosis and that MH isn't just about depression.

I know maybe that its possibly only the ignorant or don't know what to say reply, but argh...

Had to walk out on a colleague yesterday after she refused to believe my mum isn't depressed. Family and friends just cannot comphrend that some people can be mentally ill without being depressed.

Oh just reread the thread title, sorry- scratch my first comment!

altinkum Thu 15-Nov-12 13:53:48

When my mum goes through her episode, she is is a psychotic state, she has no recognition of the behaviour she puts herself and others through.

Mum is currently going through a manic episode, which she tried to "fly from a bridge" so she has been detained for her own safety.

People who are depressed do not have manic episodes and for the best part remember their own behaviours, this isn't a case with bipolar illness, they need medication to keep them on a even keel. It's not the same as depression because that's only one part of the illness. Her illness is complicated by the social anxiety disorder.

People think/ have the mindset that she will pop a few pills and it will be better and her in depression will get better in time, if only that was the case, she will be fighting this illness all her life.

Of course people with depression can also have depression for life, however its not the same as someone with bipolar or other more server mental health diagnosis.

KellyEllyChristmasBelly Thu 15-Nov-12 13:55:16

I spent time in and out of hospital myself in the past for MH issue and have known many sufferers of bipolar - all of whom have described themselves as severely depressed when on a 'low'. The Royal College of Psychiatrists sumerise the illness as

"What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder used to be called ‘manic depression’. As the older name suggests, someone with bipolar disorder will have severe mood swings. These usually last several weeks or months and are far beyond what most of us experience. They are:

Low or 'depressive' feelings of intense depression and despair
High or 'manic' feelings of extreme happiness and elation
Mixed for example, depressed mood with the restlessness and overactivity of a manic episode"

The professionals would disagree with you.

SparkyTGD Thu 15-Nov-12 14:09:34

I get what you mean mostly altinkum but people with severe depression can have psychotic episodes also.

x2boys Thu 15-Nov-12 14:11:05

as a mental health nurse i can understand how this must upset you when we were students many years ago they taught us that deperession is like the common cold of mental illness ie many people will suffer fron it at opne point.I once had to stand in a court with a patient who had a diagnosis of a serious mental illness [dont want to into to many details] who had harmed somebody but in my and the psychiatrist impression he was ent actually mentally unwell when he did it and the judge could nt understand how somebody can have a diagnosis of mental illness but can be mentally well under the control of medication etc!

CailinDana Thu 15-Nov-12 14:36:41

I understand what you mean a bit better now. What I think you're saying is that she doesn't "just" have depression and that bipolar is more serious and long-term than the people you have talked to recognise. So when people latch on to the idea of depression they're making assumptions about how serious and how curable your mother's illness is. Is that right?

I think the mix up between bipolar and depression is understandable because depressive symptoms are part of bipolar disorder. However I can understand how annoying it must be if people make assumptions and don't really try to understand the real situation. That said, for other serious illnesses like cancer and MS people have a tendency to do the same thing - they go with what they know ("Oh she'll have chemo and be fine" - not always the case), and don't always stop to find out the true details. I suppose people just look for the easiest thing to say, and are wary about asking too many questions that might make it appear that they're prying.

Unfortunately with things like this you have to be careful who you talk to about it. The tendency for people to say stupid things is massive.

Scheherezade Thu 15-Nov-12 15:22:17

Sorry but, you're wrong.

People who have depression can have manic episodes. This is called bipolar disorder.

I know this because I have Bipolar type I, and spent a large part of the last year in a psychiatric ward. Just this morning I was discussing the presentation of bipolar with my CPN, as I am applying to study a masters in mental health nursing.

Some people with bipolar don't get low, and only experience manic episodes, but you've said yourself your mother DOES experience feeling low.

Bipolar and unipolar mood disorders are different, but share common features. I suggest you get a copy of the DSM-IV from the library.

mamamibbo Thu 15-Nov-12 15:29:30

yanbu, my grandads doing everything he can to cheer my aunty up and find out whats making her depressed so he can fix it

she has bipolar!

VirginiaDare Thu 15-Nov-12 15:33:02

you are wrong OP. And really quite dismissive of depression, which can be no less serious than bipolar or any other mental illness.

You're also ignoring the fact that these things overlap. Do you imagine someone with schiziophrenia or anxiety can't also get depressed?

Bi-polar is a form of depression. It's in the diagnostic manuals. This is fact.

Scheherezade Thu 15-Nov-12 16:08:18

Mama- patients with schizophrenia and bipolar are routinely offered psychology and psychotherapy because past traumas, experiences and current stressors can trigger and exacerbate the conditions.

I have bipolar. I've been referred for therapy, I'm getting help and support with practical day to day living. There is more to bipolar than just the few months of extreme illness that land you in hospital.

hopkinette Thu 15-Nov-12 16:17:58

I have bipolar disorder. I get very very severe depression at times - bipolar depression is depression and it's no different from unipolar depressive episodes. And I certainly do not think that my mental illness is more severe or more significant than anyone else's.

Scheherezade Fri 16-Nov-12 13:17:07

Any response, OP?

KatyPeril Fri 16-Nov-12 13:29:47

Another Bipolar sufferer here. I would say I definately get depressed. Though I understand what you're saying on people not understanding. I don't understand it myself half the time!

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