Really GOOD post about how to help yourself cope with depression: 21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed.
And how to cope with people's attempts to help you.
I highly recommend it. I found it a great post.
People sometimes ask me about being bipolar.
They often fear it's too personal to ask about. Not for me -- in fact, I'm always glad to help others understand it. I know my depressions are not necessarily like other people's, just as my time in hospital was probably not either.
For example, I was involved with the local chapter of MDDA [now the DBSA]; and the mental health system typically acted if I were much more ill than I actually was. They call me "highly functioning" nowadays, which from what I can tell means the average person can't tell I'm bipolar.
I'm not saying this to be crass. I simply have a lot of experience.
Just recently, at Penguicon, I had a really good conversation with a friend who wanted to understand people who were mentally ill.
Something I noticed was this: A great many people who were mentally ill did not separate themselves from the disease.
It took me some time to realize that I am a person who is bipolar. I can say "I'm bipolar" and that is what I mean. Folks who do not separate themselves are saying instead is "I am this illness" -- or, as my friend said, they aren't accepting it as part of their lives. They are relinquishing themselves to the illness rather than take responsibility.
I know who I am and what I have. I have not been in the hospital again since the first year I was in hospital. A person who cannot say "I am me, and I have this illness, which I must care for or it will wreck my life" will let the illness rule.
It takes time to get there.