Saturday, 25 May 2013

Where Is My Mind

With your feet on the air

And your head on the ground

Try this trick and spin it,yeah

Your head'll collapse

If there's nothing in it

And then you'll ask yourself

Where is my mind.

What is stigma to me? Stigma is when people judge me for having a mental health condition. Stigma to me can be obvious and direct, such as someone making a negative remark about my mental illness or my treatment. Or it may be subtle, such as someone assuming that I could be unstable, violent or dangerous because I have a mental health condition. Now you may think to yourself, have I encountered this? The answer is yes I have and its quite a terrible thing. What have I done to try and cope with my mental health? I have tried to educate myself as much as I can about  having bi-polar so I can speak with the best of people and tell them how I cope with living with what I have to live with. I was told I should never say "I am bipolar" I am not a illness. I have bipolar is the approach I always use. I try as much as I can to speak out for mental health I am only a small voice. If I was more successful I am sure I would be able to make more of an impact on the subject of Mental Health.

Things in Ireland that I feel need to change for the better regarding Mental Health are as follows. When someone is in a depressed and in a low state of mind and they want to speak to a friend, the last thing they want to hear is "Billy came around to my house last night and he spent all night talking the last thing I want is him calling at 7pm in the evening".  Maybe you are not aware of it, but this type of comment is a major factor. The time when I had planned to take my own life, I felt I had no one to talk to and no one would listen to me. I am sure many of you can relate to that in someway or the other.
This business of meeting people lets say in the morning and you are trying to be in good spirits and you are having a joke and a laugh and people say "oh did you take the happy pills this morning" now I can take it they do not know my situation and know that I take bipolar medication but it reinforces an idea to me that hang on a second you can not be happy you are better of sad and when you are sad don't call to my house to speak about it because really when I am at home I don't give a damn about you or your problems. You may look at that and say "oh its just a remark Ciaran" well its these things that need to change and then it will be ok in my eyes.

Bipolar this idea that its just happy one minute and sad the next, really gets under my skin. I found these Myths and Facts which I think are very helpful.

Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Myth: People with bipolar disorder can’t get better or lead a normal life.

Fact: Many people with bipolar disorder have successful careers, happy family lives, and satisfying relationships. Living with bipolar disorder is challenging. But with treatment, healthy coping skills, and a solid support system, you can live fully while managing your symptoms.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder swing back and forth between mania and depression.

Fact: Some people alternate between extreme episodes of mania and depression, but most are depressed more often than they are manic. Mania may also be so mild that it goes unrecognized. People with bipolar disorder can also go for long stretches without symptoms.

Myth: Bipolar disorder only affects mood.

Fact: Bipolar disorder also affects your energy level, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep patterns, sex drive, and self-esteem. Additionally, bipolar disorder has been linked to anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, migraines, and high blood pressure.

Myth: Aside from taking medication, there is nothing you can do to control bipolar disorder.

Fact: While medication is the foundation of bipolar disorder treatment, therapy and self-help strategies also play important roles. You can help control your symptoms by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating right, monitoring your moods, keeping stress to a minimum, and surrounding yourself with supportive people.  quoted from Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D

I feel employers really need to develop a better understanding of mental health in Ireland Now I know this subject can be open for debate, I don't wish it to be. I just want people to understand that I wish to be able to have the right to say' listen before I start this job, I might have an appointment once a month with the doctor and I don't want to tell you a lie and say its for subject matter X ,when really its because I have bipolar and I need to go see the psychiatrist. ,This is not going to affect my work, i'll even be more creative than most of the other people you have working for you but I feel lets just have a honest relationship and let me show you that I can work and work well. I have bipolar under wraps and its not going to affect my work'.

I hope this sheds some light on the subject for people and lets them understand where I see things over on my side of the road. I'll come stand on your side of the road if you ask me over.

Thanks for reading,

Ciaran Behan.



  1. People so need to hear this Ciaran. I think in general, people make glib comments, not from malice, but from a lack of knowledge both about the condition and about how to teact to someone like yourself who is brave an upfront about your disease.
    But you are making a difference, so be proud and keep on keeping on.

    1. Thank you very much and I am very happy that you take the time out to read this work.

  2. agreed! our Pat!
    more and more people need "wear the T-shirt",
    Twitter and blogging is a great platform for this!
    Keep at it Ciaran

    1. Thats really nice for you to say and ill do my best

  3. Oh, Ciaran! Don't for a moment think that yours is a small voice and you're not making a difference. Your voice is clear and loud and strong and you are making a difference.

    If people think their comments are innocuous, I suggest they substitute 'Black' or 'Retarded' or anything else that is recognised as offensive and see how their comment sounds. Remember all the anti-Irish jokes in London in the 80's? They, too, were 'just' jokes and if you didn't laugh, you had no sense of humour.

    1. you have made some very great points thank you for that.

  4. Hi Ciaran. That's a pretty name.You say things in Ireland need to change,you may want to add the US to that as well. In fact, maybe a good part of the world. I go to a psych.once a month for depression,though at one time he diagnose me bipolar.I do best on seizure medication.People at work know of my mental health issues long enough that I receive (not like I use to) little stigma.Also,my wife of 30 years took an accidental overdose due to complications of schizophrenia.Occasionally,I have suicidal ideation sadness,staying in bed 24 hrs.,but it comes with the territory.Celebrities do make an impact,but its people like you and me who make the difference. Due to social media,we can get the word out and to other countries.I've got a blog but I haven't written anything. I think I'm scared to. I do link articles. I'm here because of your tweet. Stay in touch. Take care. Larry. NC East Coast.

    1. Well this has made my day I am very very glad you took the time out to reply and tell me your story thank you Larry I hope you keep on reading my stuff

    2. Well said Larry! I can understand being a bit shy to pour your heart out to people on a blog, but if you don't show your heart to others, they'll never get to truly see it.

      I enjoyed reading your comment, and thought it had some great insight.

      Celebrities get their word out simply by virtue of the fact that they are already famous, and it's easy for them to raise awareness amongst people who are already aware of their celbrity!

      That DOESN'T mean they are good, decent, insightful, and experienced spokespersons. That's why people like you and Ciaran should speak up more, if you feel up to it.

      Thanks for sharing! All best.

  5. another great post ... your honesty is inspiring.. well done..

  6. Thank you very much Doll and thanks for reading

  7. You have got a lot of fight in you mate, as always. I'm glad you're writing about this because I've always loved and admired the way that you relate to people, I've always loved and admired your respect and caring for others, and I've always thought that you are a good story teller. That is to say, you relate ideas, events, and concerns very well, and I love the way you express yourself.

    The funny thing is that I cannot believe that people, upon meeting you, would still be influenced by the stigma. You are a good man, you are charismatic, and you are strong. I suppose that I've always thought of you in those ways, no matter what. But maybe that's simply because we've always been friends.

    This is a great post because of the fact that you bring attention to the point that people CAN be ignorant and insensitive to others. People CAN be even worse when they suspect that there is something "wrong" with you, even if they know absolutely nothing about it. Most people don't even realise that 1 in 4 people out there suffer from mental health difficulties. Many people aren't even aware of why it is that they don't feel 100% of themselves all of the time. It also all relates to a much bigger problem these days, in my opinion. People don't look after each other as much as they should, and most are only selfishly concerned with their own happiness and don't care at all about everyone else, especially when they can convince themselves that everyone else must be worse off than them.

    I'm always here for you bud, and for goodness sake, pick up the phone if you need anything! I'm busy quite often, true, but I've always got time for you if you need me, or need to talk. I haven't been in the best of contact with you lately, but I haven't been in the best of contact with many of my friends as I have faced my own struggles. That does not mean that I won't pick up the phone in a heartbeat if you need me! I'll send you a bloody mobile and a phone card if need be.

    You have a real opportunity here, with this blog, to reach out to people, and to potentially change opinions. You are, after all, a loveable guy. As far as I'm concerned, you're still the same Ciaran to me that you've always been, mental health diagnoses aside. Take care bud!

  8. I always have 100% respect when you take the time out to write a piece and even more if it is on piece I have wrote. Yes stigma is a big thing still in Ireland with this hide the head under the rock.

    I think a lot of people do care but yes some times EVERYONE gets caught up in their own bubble not much we can do about that. We could maybe stop for a moment and think.. that is all I could come up with mate.

    My plan is to try and make a impact and hell maybe start a ripple I guess if any one can do it Ciaran can. I plan to update this once a week any way so do keep a eye and thank you once again for reading and taken the time to reply.