It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? You have a life-altering illness that affects the very way your brain works. Do you actually have to tell people that? Do you have to tell people you have bipolar disorder?

Well, like with everything in life, it depends.

No You Don’t Have to Tell Anyone You Have Bipolar Disorder

Let’s face it, bipolar disorder is not visible and no one is holding a gun to your head, so no, you don’t have to tell people you have bipolar disorder. It’s your secret and it’s your choice. It always will be.

And there are very valid and understandable reasons why you might not want to tell people you have bipolar disorder. Stigma creeps through much of our lives and we don’t want to face its consequences, which is understandable.

Not Telling People You Have a Mental Illness

But here’s the thing about not telling people you have bipolar disorder. If you don’t tell people about this part of your life, especially if you’re acutely ill, it will involve lying to them. It will involve trickery and deceit. It will involve you covering up medications and doctor’s visits and therapy. It will involve you lying about why you’re away from work and why you can’t go out to a party.

In the end, it will result in lots of lies which can, quite rightfully, be seen as betrayal on the part of the other person if that person considers themselves to be close to you.

The Consequences of Not Telling People about Your Bipolar Disorder

So there are consequences for not telling people you have bipolar disorder. Sure, if you don’t tell your next door neighbour Mitsy about your bipolar disorder, it’s unlikely to matter, but not telling your partner, kids, parents, close friends? That will likely carry consequences.

So it absolutely is your choice who you tell, why, when, where and how but you have to accept that decision comes with repercussions. And just remember, some people are worth telling and the more people you choose to tell, the more support you can have when you need it. You don’t have to be alone with this illness, you just have to choose wisely.