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.

Molepomandmistletoe Thu 15-Nov-12 08:07:08

Because some people can't look further than their own nose and think that they know everything.

valiumredhead Thu 15-Nov-12 08:08:25

It's very frustrating especially when the person won't listen.

Poor you, it's hard,a family member was sectioned due to bi polar, it was awful.

CailinDana Thu 15-Nov-12 08:11:41

Sorry about your mum, that's a really tough situation. I hope she gets the help she needs.

At the risk of revealing myself as yet another idiot- doesn't bipolar involve depressive episodes? Not that your mum would necessarily be depressed currently but that the condition does involve bouts of depression?

It's just ignorance isn't it - you really can't expect people with no experience of a situation to be experts on the correct terminology. I find it really odd that you're wasting time and emotion being pissed off at this to be honest. The people saying this stuff aren't being rude - they just don't know any better/different.

PoppadomPreach Thu 15-Nov-12 08:15:40

Yes I thought along the same lines asCailin - that bi- polar meant you had mania and depression (ie the complete opposite).

Sorry you are having a hard time with your mum, though.

echt Thu 15-Nov-12 08:16:16

I got pissed off when describing my elderly DM as having a mental illness (schizophrenia), and then being cut off by others saying it must be Alzheimer's.

Er...no, she is is mentally ill but not demented. There IS a difference. You can be both, but they are not the same.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 15-Nov-12 08:20:28

Someone who won't believe you when you are trying to tell them is fair game for you to be annoyed at. The sort of person that won't listen and thinks they are always right is annoying no matter what you are trying to talk about, whether its mental health or how to trim a rose bush.

Mental health issues are very misunderstood, but I don't think it's fair to be annoyed at every one that doesn't know much about it. I think assuming there is an element of depression when you have been told someone has bipolar is a reasonable assumption to make. I don't know much about plenty of illnesses or medical conditions, or plenty of other things in life, no one knows about everything.

It's the not listening to you that's the problem here, not the lack of knowledge about mental health issues.

Whatnowffs Thu 15-Nov-12 08:20:53

There really is a lot of ignorance about MH issues, it is because it seems to be a taboo subject and no one wants to talk about it.

Alt, may i ask a question, because i think i would fall into that category of people who don't really understand Bi-polar. I always thought that this was a condition where people are either manic or low and that the low periods of bi-polar disorder did include depression? Didn't it used to be called manic depression but changed to bi-polar because calling it manic despression gave the wrong impression?

I really hope your mum gets back on track soon.

I know what you mean though - i suffer from anxiety, it can be crippling but i woudlnt describe myself as depressed. It can make me feel depressed but it is anxiety that is my problem not depression.

Depressed is one of those words isnt it - some people get quite precious about it (me included sometimes). "oh i feel depressed" for when people are just generally down and pissed off, even being REALLY pissed off and upset does not mean you are depressed, you may just be reacting to crap that is happening to you at that time, i think if the crap goes on and on and then you can't stop being pissed off and dispondant then it is "ok" to say you are depressed, but i think it is easy to trvialise and i wonder if that is why it irks you so much when peole say that your mum is "simply depressed" when clearly her disorder i very different.

Whatnowffs Thu 15-Nov-12 08:24:23

echt - that is a really interesting point and i think it highlights that actually the medical profession are really not at that greater point when treating MH disorders. I have anxiety, so i am often put onto ADs - drugs to treat both, but its different. My dad had dementia and was put onto anti-psychotic drugs, i think it is because the doctors have to do SOMETHING but just don't have the knowledge (because no-one really does yet) to do something more specific. Hopefully this will improve x

hazeyjane Thu 15-Nov-12 08:29:47

I think mental health is one of those areas where, maybe through fear, people tend to latch on to something they know and understand.

It is easier for people to get a hold on depression, than psychosis or paranoid schizophrenia or bipolar. Depression gets talked about in a much more 'normal' way.

I have found a similar thing with disability, when we were aware that ds had problems with his development and his muscles, people would say, 'oh is it cerebral palsy?' and now it has become apparent it is a genetic disorder, people say, 'oh he doesn't look like he has down's syndrome' - I suppose these are the most visible and well known disabilities, so people can only really understand something they have no experience of, through them.

altinkum Thu 15-Nov-12 08:30:41

Bipolar is where the person gets into a manic state, and put themselves and others in danger, (not everyone is the same, by this is my mums) when she is low she then hurts herself, it's not depression it's her mental state, yes it can be misconstrued as depression but isn't because she has bipolar, she doesn't have depression. I'm not sure if this is making sense.

I'm normally don't get wound up but I have... It's just so frustrating at times.

My mum will be ok, until next time... But that's bipolar for you.

Whatnowffs Thu 15-Nov-12 08:33:56

Thanks for clarifying that alt, it makes sense. It must be very frustrating for you, but do try not to get upset about it (i know, easier said!) because people genuinely don't understand, it doesn't mean they don't care. Some people are just ignorant though and those people aren't worth bothering with.

CailinDana Thu 15-Nov-12 08:40:17

Sorry to go on about it, and tell me to feck off by all means, but aren't the "low" periods known as "depressive episodes"? So she doesn't have depression but in her low periods she has the symptoms of depression?

valiumredhead Thu 15-Nov-12 08:42:26

Yes they are cailin that's why people with bi polar take meds usually, to keep on an even keel.

ReallyTired Thu 15-Nov-12 08:47:43

I think a lot of people do not realise that mental illness is every bit as varied as physical illness. People can related better to depression than being delusional. Sad to say, but there is more respect and understanding with someone who is depressed than someone suffering pychosis. A person with pychosis may well be extremely happy because they have no clue what is going on.

I'm sorry that your mother is ill and hope she is better soon.

sashh Thu 15-Nov-12 08:49:20

I'm with you OP.

And trying to explain to students that actually some people enjoy being ill when they are in the 'up' phase of bipolar is virtually impossible.

valiumredhead Thu 15-Nov-12 08:50:15

Is it possible OP that they were saying she much be depressed as she is in hospital? As in " How horrible to be in hospital, it's so depressing." Just a thought.

OldMumsy Thu 15-Nov-12 08:55:38

Down to depression OP? Is it necessary to have some kind of league table of MH issues? All can be totally debilitating. All can be fatal too.

VirginiaDare Thu 15-Nov-12 09:03:15

Bi-polar disorder is technically a form of depression. Thats why for a very long time it was called manic depression. The clue is in the name. The down periods are depression. That doesn't mean it is the same as uni polar depression.

And I'm sure, not being medical professionals, what they mean is that she must be very down and upset about being sectioned. Wouldn't anyone be? They are being sympathetic.

PoppadomPreach Thu 15-Nov-12 09:09:27

I'm still confused too. Why are you upset at the classification of depression when depression is what she has when she is going through a low period?

Also, as a sufferer of depression, why are you so against her being described as depressed - it strikes me you think there is some sort of shame attached to depression.

As I said before, my understanding of bipolar is that you have highs (mania) and lows (depression). So why ate you insisting your mother does not have depression when she is going through a low?confused

I agree there is lots of confusion and ignorance generally around MH issues, but I think you are confused too?

ReallyTired Thu 15-Nov-12 09:14:10

"And I'm sure, not being medical professionals, what they mean is that she must be very down and upset about being sectioned. Wouldn't anyone be? They are being sympathetic. "

Depends on how ill she is. If she is seriously ill then she may have no understanding of what going on. She could be experiencing a range of emotions depending on how she percieves her circumstances. She may well be scared, angry, frustrated, ashamed or delirously happy depending on what kind of delusions she has. The recovery period after she leaves hospital will be very hard as she will have to come to terms with what has happened to her.

WileyRoadRunner Thu 15-Nov-12 10:06:48

I always thought bipolar was also described as manic depression hence why people probably use the term "depressed".

I wouldn't call myself ignorant for using that term in relation to bi-polar.

I hope that your mum can get onto an even keel soon.

SparkyTGD Thu 15-Nov-12 11:32:43

I hope your mum is better/stable soon, it must be very scary & worrying.

Perhaps its because depression can be variable in severity that you feel your Mums condition is being downplayed.

The average person (fortunately for them) doesn't have much understanding of severe mental health issues.

For someone or family of someone who is hospitalised for psychotic symptoms, other people saying "I /my sister/my partner get depressed too" can be very annoying.

Perhaps people are just trying to normalise/sympathise, they probably don't realise how annoying it is for you.

I'm not really sure that's the case OP, although it must be very frustrating to hear things like that. We have MH problem trends on both sides of the family going far back and maybe because we're more familiar with it, it doesn't seem so clear cut/black and white to us. Education is the key- how could it be fitted into the school curriculum?

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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