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Seven Biggest Myths About Bipolar Disorder

Ah myths, we love them, don’t we? Friday the 13th is unlucky, Canadians live in igloos and drinking Coke and eating Pop Rocks will make your stomach explode. (Your stomach might not, but your pancreas is another matter.) People buy into myths all the time. When enough people say them, especially if the people are holding microphones or best-selling books, people assume they must be true.

But as a good friend of mine always says, trust, but verify.

Myths About People with Bipolar Disorder

These myths are brought to you by the commenters, here, at HealthyPlace.

  1. Bipolars are liars
  2. Bipolars cheat on their partners
  3. Bipolars are manipulative
  4. Bipolars are “spoiled teenagers”
  5. Bipolars feel it’s “all about them”
  6. Bipolars are angry and violent
  7. Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder are almost the same thing

Well now, that’s quite a list. It’s amazing I’m allowed to live outside with all the “sane” people.

stork_baby

For my own part, I am nothing like those seven things. I have never known a bipolar that was those seven things. Nevertheless, let’s soldier on.

Bipolars Lie

Lying is not remotely a symptom of bipolar disorder. It does tend to be found with some personality disorders, however. That being said, I will admit it’s almost impossible to be honest about how I feel with people as they don’t want to know about it. My obfuscation is to prevent the other person from knowing how horrible I feel. If you’d like to know about the blood-dripping suicidal ideation, I’ll tell you, but I’m pretty sure you don’t want to know.

Bipolars Cheat

Depending on the survey, between 30%-60% of married people cheat. These are just your average run-of-the-mill-survey-answering-folk. Perhaps even more surprisingly, 27% of people who reported being happy in their marriage have had an affair.

Statistically then, at a minimum, 30%-60% of people with bipolar disorder also cheat. As hypersexuality is a symptom of bipolar disorder, it reasonable to think that bipolar disorder would lead to higher numbers, probably both in the person with bipolar disorder and their spouse. (Sorry, I can’t find any specific, reliable data.) But with a number already higher than 50% in some cases, it’s unrealistic to blame cheating on bipolar disorder in general. Most of the time it’s just the people in the relationship.

Bipolars Manipulate

Again, this is not remotely a symptom of bipolar disorder. Manipulation is often associated with personality disorders, but not bipolar disorder.

Bipolars Act Like Spoiled Teenagers

I’m not quite sure how to respond to this one. In fact, I’m not going to bother.

Bipolars Think It’s All About Them

Mania or hypomania does have a symptom of “inflated self-esteem or grandiosity”. Basically, thinking that we’re the bee’s knees. This is different from the selfish “it’s all about me” concept, however. Again, that is more typical of a personality disorder. (Not that inflated self-esteem is the best trait either, but most of the time we have pretty low self-esteem, so give us a bit of a break.)

Bipolars are Angry and Violent

There was a specific systematic review on this subject – I’ll shortcut it for you – bipolars are not more likely than the general population to commit violent crime (once alcohol use was taken into account). People with alcohol problems, bipolar or no, are a different matter.

Borderline is the Same as Bipolar

Borderline is a personality disorder, considered part of someone’s “core personality” whereas bipolar is not. Bipolars have a distinct symptom-free baseline when the person is feeling well. A borderline’s symptoms are their baseline. Bipolar disorder is not borderline personality disorder. Period. They’re not even in the same family. Some symptoms do cross-over, but that is common in medical diagnoses. (Please read Borderline Personality and Bipolar Disorder Differences, which does justice to this topic.)

Just Because I Do It Doesn’t Mean it’s a Symptom of Bipolar Disorder

mickey_head_downIn short, I’m sure there are bipolars who do lie, do cheat, do manipulate, are selfish and are violent. I have no doubt that they exist. But that’s not disorder-specific; that is part of who they are.

Just because a person with bipolar disorder does something, that doesn’t make it a symptom of bipolar disorder.

Personally, it scares me and I jump when someone knocks on my door, I despise opening mail and I loved jumping out of planes. That’s not bipolar disorder. That’s just me.

* Thanks to Mick McLean my favorite guy head-down, for the image.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

This entry was posted in How Others See Bipolar, Myths, Talking About Bipolar, Understanding Mental Illness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Seven Biggest Myths About Bipolar Disorder

  1. Ash says:

    I, once again, have to thank you for writing this. The myth that irritates me the most is number 7. Yes I have cut myself, had severe mood swings, and have had some paranoia. However, I am not afraid of being alone. I am also not displaying these behaviours during stable periods. If anything, I am closer to the definition of Avoidant Personality Disorder than I am to the definition of Borderline.

    Number 6. I am the least violent/agressive person I know. Even when I do get angry, I never get violent. I tend to get more upset (crying, etc.).

    Number 4. I AM a teenager still, though I believe myself to be more mature than the average teenager. I had to grow up pretty fast. I’m not spoiled, I don’t seek attention… I am who I am, and it’s affected by a mental condition at times.

    Anyways, before I go off on a total rant on the rest of the numbers, another thanks to you. I am always delighted (well, when I can be) to see a new blog post from you.

  2. Natasha Tracy says:

    Hi Ash,

    Well, thank-you for the compliments.

    I think people throw around diagnoses because it makes them feel smarter, or that it can “explain you”. Every diagnosis has its own challenges, but it doesn’t help anyone to have them jumbled about.

    And yes, I could really rant about all the numbers, but I tried to keep it brief.

    Thanks for your comment.

    - Natasha

  3. Hi Natasha,

    As you may be aware, #7 is my personal favorite. I have been doing research on the matter and have really come to see that they are very different. I am Bipolar with a borderline personality disorder. What fun!

    Knowing the difference has been surprisingly helpful. I have just entered a program called B.A.S.E-Borderline Awareness Skill Empowerment- that focuses on Schema (positive or negative life patterns) therapy. It has been, understandably, difficult to separate the two. Medication aides in the management of the bipolar symptoms, but does nothing for the personality disorder. I have to manage that on my own with the help of my therapist.

    Our little conversation on FB really got me to look closer and see this reality so that I may better be better armed with information to overcome.
    Thanks for all your hard work.

    For more information on the BASE program for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: http://bpd-home-base.org/what_is_bpd

    ~sm

  4. Natasha Tracy says:

    Hi Shannon,

    Congratulations on finding something that’s working for you, that’s a tough thing to do. To the best of my knowledge, borderline is best treated with life-skill-type therapy, which is exactly what you’re doing. I have no doubt it’s hard work, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    I’m glad I could help. You’re welcome.

    - Natasha

  5. Lesa says:

    Hi Natasha,

    Hi Natasha – Interesting post. It resonates with me as usual. Something my therapist told me about the ‘grandiosity’ feeling that happens during mania/hypomania is this: people with Bipolar Disorder often have very low self esteem (symptom of depression) and during mania – the individual can feel an inflated feeling of confidence and importance. Part of the reason for this is that one can feel unimportant to oneself and to others – its a coping mechanism against the feelings of worthlessness. I definitely experienced this during my mania – for the first time in my life I felt important. Considering I have felt very unimportant for most of my life – I guess I needed it. It helped to understand it in this way.

  6. Natasha Tracy says:

    Hi Lesa,

    Yeah, I still think grandiosity isn’t necessarily the same thing as selfish, although it can be.

    I do know how unimportant I usually feel, and I agree, it’s nice for the change.

    - Natasha

  7. Cat Wilke says:

    as a member of the “sane” (lol – u know it’s those “sane” ppl u have to worry about — don’t know when they’re gonna blow) — an observer of a wonderful husband who has bipolar disorder — you are spot on with your article. People are people, good or bad, and having bipolar disorder doesn’t make them bad. In our relationship, I am the “bad” one compared to my husband — at his core is a decent, sweet, naive and innocent individual — my core -well — thanks to traumas from an alcoholic father and an incestual sibling — i am wired and warped in a not so innocent/naive direction that only Christ can help me fight. There are so many misconceptions about bipolar disorder and I agree ppl just don’t want to know the “truth” most of the time and would rather have comfy generalities to cling to so they don’t have to face and truths about themselves. Keep yelling the truth about bipolar disorder — there are Horton’s out there that hear you in Whoville and eventually the ppl in the “sane” world will also hear you. God bless you Natasha — u r a blessing to us.

  8. Natasha Tracy says:

    Hi Cat,

    Great to hear a “sane” person’s perspective. I think it’s important that the non-bipolar folks weigh-in because really, you’re the ones that are going to be dispelling those myths most convincingly.

    I don’t know about blessing, but I try to be helpful. Thanks.

    - Natasha

  9. Tammy Tony says:

    I have had a through trip through this affliction. Days that started like nothing could ever be a problem, afternoons that found me deep in a pitt from which I could see no escape. Day after day. My up times became clouded by what I knew was sure to follow. When I was finally diagnosed I was in the midst of an identity crisis, the doctor said that it was caused by the bipolar. I was then more confused, and afraid of the meds that were offered, what was real and what was not? I’m sorry if this all seems disjointed and pointless. It seems to mirror my life at this point. I just need to talk.

  10. Natasha Tracy says:

    Hi Tammy,

    You can always come here to talk. That’s OK with me. I hope you are getting some help with a professional to talk to as well. Therapists can not only listen to you but they can help you find sense in all the disjointedness.

    You’re going through a tough time, but you’re completely normal. You just need to get some help.

    Good luck.

    - Natasha

  11. Kelly Ray says:

    If you look down the list, it could probably apply to PMS as well…I could probably find these myths under any mental illness or personality disorder. Just goes to show you that people who don’t live in the shoes of the one with the struggle will slap the most convenient stereotype on – I believe they think it saves them the time and inconvenience of having to get to know somebody for who they truly are. God forbid that might mean taking a risk.

    I feel blessed, ten years after having been diagnosed bipolar and just a couple years knowing of my borderline status – that I have a gift of self-examination; I know very well how to be in tune with myself, know my triggers, know my body, spirit, mind – I can’t say the same for fools that follow myths and spout off generic judgments.

    I say foolishness and judging others is the mental illness that’s got the world in the violent and chaotic mess it’s in today.

    One day at a time.
    Kelly

  12. Natasha Tracy says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Well said.

    - Natasha

  13. monique says:

    hi there. my fiance has been diagnosed with bipolar. most of the time, we manage quite well. he is loving and kind, and also works hard to be better than he is. the big problem we have is there are times where he gets secretive about spending, and lies about it and other things. when i force him to own up, it is discovered that he has spent large amounts of money on junk food and the like. the lies and the abuse of money are very damaging. i know you say they are not part of bipolar, but as he doesn’t behave this way most of the time, i’m inclined to seriously wonder . . . .

  14. Sarah says:

    Hi there Monique – I asked my hubby to answer this for me because he’s had to deal with my reckless spending in the past. I don’t know about your fiance but for me the reckless spending was due at first to mania and hypomania, and impulsivity, and later due to depression and need for a quick fix on junk food (I put on 20kg also at that time).

    Hubby says it sounds like you need some support in managing with your fiance’s bipolar because it’s not easy – a good counsellor might help you best. He says he can’t really give a good response because he doesn’t know you and your husband well, and every one is different. He has to understand me really well and my bipolar in order to give the right kind of encouragement. There’s not much use getting angry about it – better to try to get the best communication possible and work through it together. (I’ve lost those 20kg now).

    My advice is only to say that while I don’t know your fiance at all, the reason I would be covering up my spending is due to embarassment or fear of disappointing my husband. I don’t like to admit when I need some help or that I’m not coping as well as I thought.

  15. Dawn says:

    Thank you for this great article. I was recently diagnosed with bipolar II. I went undignosed for many years. I was however diagnosed many years ago with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I am 42 and had a total hysterectomy 2 weeks ago. Ive been searching for opinions, but not finding much. Maybe you can help. Will surgical menopause make me totally batshit crazy, or maybe help the symptoms???
    Thanks!

  16. Patty says:

    I came across this site. I find it odd that this list is myths because I have known a couple bipolars that match everyone.
    Including self medicate with drugs

  17. ohgreat says:

    Selfish? No, that’s not a myth. Some of the most selfish people I’ve ever met in my life, and lucky me, two of them are my parents. Their timing was good, they lived the Boomer years, they had all you could ask for, but that didn’t stop them being miserable and violent to their kids. Now they’re off gallivanting around the globe through retirement. Their parents, who knew what work was, helped them — do they help their grandchildren? Hell naw. Do they help a disabled grandson? Their single-mom daughter? Ever offer to help with childcare, ever think oh hey, maybe these kids’ll have to go to college someday, how lovely it’d be if they didn’t start their lives deep in debt, if someone helped them? If someone chipped in for childcare, anything?

    Selfish as the day is long. And at the end of this they email me and whine that I don’t do things for them and send photos when they suddenly look bad because they don’t have any of the grandkids. They can burn in hell, both of them. Hope they have long painful illnesses that take them right to the end.

  18. Jordan says:

    “Lying is not remotely a symptom of bipolar disorder. It does tend to be found with some personality disorders, however. That being said, I will admit it’s almost impossible to be honest about how I feel with people as they don’t want to know about it. My obfuscation is to prevent the other person from knowing how horrible I feel. If you’d like to know about the blood-dripping suicidal ideation, I’ll tell you, but I’m pretty sure you don’t want to know.”

    Nice use of the word obfuscation. I think that is a more accurate wording than when I talked about lying to everyone about being bipolar on a different post. Its more dishonesty by omission than out right lying. To me, it is saving them from the harsh reality and saving me the discomfort of sharing it and the pity or awkwardness that might follow, which I would sooner avoid.

    Plus, I find that I couldn’t possibly effectively and sufficiently relay what it is I’m going through were I to try.

    In regards to the rest of the list, my response would be, to no more a degree than the general population.

  19. MuteButton says:

    I can say for a fact that lying, cheating and manipulating are a part of bipolar disorder. Having been surrounded by bipolars my whole life, that is something they all have in common. They lack empathy, remorse and compassion. Everything is everyone else’s fault, and they are NEVER, EVER sorry for anything they do. Nothing but lip service. They don’t ever change, and use being bipolar as an excuse for their behavior, or their meds aren’t correct. All BS. I’ve never been so disgusted by the behavior as I have been by the lying, cheating and manipulating bipolars I have had the misfortune of having in my life.

  20. Jaxon Roma says:

    Lie, cheat, manipulative, self-centred – yes, yes, yes and yes. I know two diagnosed BPDs and they both have exhibited all of these. The major problem with BPD seems to be a lack of admission that one is actually doing these things. As you put it yourself when discussing lying, you lie because you think others can’t take it. That doesn’t mean you’re not lying; it means you think there’s a valid reason for you doing it. But that doesn’t make it OK to other people or for other people.

    You’ve used the same reasoning to somehow debunk the ‘myth’ that BPDs cheat. Well, everyone cheats, you say, and it’s part of our nature, so you can’t really blame that, but, hey … I don’t even know what kind of reasoning you’re using here. It goes all over the place.

    Manipulation and self-centredness … These are major issues and, again, the problem seems to be a lack of ability to see them. Perhaps, like the ‘hey, I don’t lie, but I find it impossible to tell the truth’ you have a different view of it that somehow makes these things OK to you. Like discussing your suicidal ideation to make your lying more valid.

    The problem I’ve had with living with a BPD (and closely related to another BPD) is that their own personal issues have been regularly made to be my problems. In fact, their problems are always seen as worse than my problems, and therein lies the self-centredness. There is no understanding or acceptance that other people can have their own problems that need to be considered and respected by others.

    Gratitude is scarce for anything I’ve done and anything I continue to offer, regardless of money, time or emotional investment in a situation. Generally, I am perceived as not doing enough and yet I don’t owe this person anything at all. I am giving of my own free will.

    I don’t know you. I don’t mean to criticise you and I certainly don’t mean to categorise you in a small basket according to my restricted experience. But if you’re going to debunk ‘myths’, you at least need one or more clear arguments, and unfortunately I can just hear reasons why these things are actually OK to you.

  21. lee says:

    Jaxon, i whole heartedly.agree with you. Its ashame.we ever.gad to cross path with self unaware bipolars

  22. Julia says:

    Interesting post Jaxon. At least you take the time to go through it, rather than just denounce it all and call names as others have in responding to it.

    I can’t speak for Natasha and what her reasoning is or was at the time of writing the article, but I can speak to your points at least. I’ll have to quote and then write below each part.

    1. “Lie, cheat, manipulative, self-centred – yes, yes, yes and yes. I know two diagnosed BPDs and they both have exhibited all of these. The major problem with BPD seems to be a lack of admission that one is actually doing these things. As you put it yourself when discussing lying, you lie because you think others can’t take it. That doesn’t mean you’re not lying; it means you think there’s a valid reason for you doing it. But that doesn’t make it OK to other people or for other people.”
    First, we have to be careful about the acronyms or abbreviated terms we use. BPD could mean bipolar disorder which I’m assuming is what you mean by it, but it’s also meant borderline personality disorder. I think I’ve actually seen it to mean the latter more frequently, but I can’t be 100% sure on that.

    Second, you introduce a whole other element, which is your perception of the lack of one’s admission to any of those faults as being a symptom itself of bipolar disorder. But, if you reread Natasha’s post, it’s clear what’s she’s saying. She’s saying that lying is not a symptom of bipolar. That’s true. Lying (and manipulation, because in my mind anyway, it falls under the same category) are more symptomatic of personality disorders, and particularly often, borderline personality disorder. She, THEN, says that have stated lying is not a symptom of bipolar, she “admits” that she finds it difficult as an individual to always be forthcoming to people, particularly when suicide is on her mind. But you completely manipulate and turn her words all around (as later also, “like discussing your suicidal ideation to make your lying more valid”). No, actually, that’s not what she said at all. You missed it.

    You DO have a good point when you say this though, extracted from its application: “As you put it yourself when discussing lying, you lie because you think others can’t take it. That doesn’t mean you’re not lying; it means you think there’s a valid reason for you doing it. But that doesn’t make it OK to other people or for other people.”
    I don’t know if she said she did lie (as a regular habit, as we all have one occasion or other), my interpretation was that it was more of a withholding. But regardless, what you write is a good point. My only hiccup was with the last sentence, because other people don’t get to determine what I share with them. That’s my choice.

    2. “You’ve used the same reasoning to somehow debunk the ‘myth’ that BPDs cheat. Well, everyone cheats, you say, and it’s part of our nature, so you can’t really blame that, but, hey … I don’t even know what kind of reasoning you’re using here. It goes all over the place.”
    I think I’m going to disagree completely here. First, Natasha was not trying to “debunk the ‘myth’ that BPDs [edit-bipolars, or people with bipolar disorder] cheat.” She was simply trying to demonstrate that people can’t blame the cheating on the bipolar itself, and often only on the bipolar . . . whichever way it goes. She also does not state that everyone cheats, she gives a statistic of 30-60% (I assume of the total population?) in marriages that do cheat. Now I don’t recall what percentage of the population is diagnosed with bipolar, and of those, what percentage are in marriages . . . and which country we’re even talking about here, because Natasha is Canadian. I’m American. I don’t know what anyone else is (or that it matters), but I do know these statistics are usually done by country. From what I have read and understood in general about bipolar disorder, the number in marriages is probably lower in comparsion to those not in marriages or even in any relationship. All that being side, it would just lower the odds, not increase them. But to move back to the main point, because I got a little sidetracked, of course people with bipolar cheat, as do people without bipolar (and even people without a mental illness in the relationship at all! Gosh, I’m shocked).

    Bottomline is that the bipolar is not to blame, necessarily, for the cheating. And that is the premise for the rest of the article, really. Maybe Natasha didn’t say it the greatest way, I don’t know, but that is the main point. Simply because someone has bipolar disorder does not mean that he or she is going to be a chronic liar, cheater, manipulater, selfish, or also have borderline personality disorder.

    In fact, if you’re facing (which it sounds like you are or have) all of those problem behaviors chronically and the person has bipolar disorder, it could mean a couple things: a)they’re not stable on medication and/or b)they also have borderline personality disorder, of which those other traits are all symptoms. It could be either way, or neither, but I can guarantee it’s not all attributable to the bipolar itself.

    It’s difficult. For both parties, the one with bipolar and the one without. And yeah, sometimes the person with bipolar IS selfish. However, as someone who has bipolar I, and adhd and ocd, but who does not cheat, lie, intentionally manipulate, or be overtly selfish, I can say that my significant needs growing up (over which I had no choosing) required so much of my parents’ efforts that I was perceived as being extremely selfish and was greatly resented by my older sister, which I didn’t know until just the last year or two. I don’t that’s necessarily restricted to childhood. And I’m not saying it’s always the case, it’s not. Nothing is ever always the case. It’s just a perspective to conider, because people do need different things, to different degrees and at different times. And we often don’t know how to ask for it, if we’re lucky enough to be able to identify it.

    Aside from your relatively logical post, I pick on a lot of pain and hurt in your life that has, unfortunately, been at least in part, caused by the bipolar itself, and then of course by the individuals and how they handle themselves. I’m sorry that that’s the case for you; it doesn’t surprise me. Bipolar disorder and any other accompanying disorders, personality or not, wreak havoc on people’s lives whether you’re the one with the disorder or not. Just as the person with the disorder didn’t choose to have it, so too, the people in our lives didn’t choose to have to live it with it, particularly if it’s by relation. But even if it’s not, and we were chosen by someone, that other person chose us, not the bipolar. And while it may be easy to separate the two sometimes, many times it’s not.

    I hope that you’re able to find the peace and healing that you need. We all need it from time to time, for different reasons, etc etc. So don’t be afraid to take that extra step for yourself, whatever it looks like. Be selfish in that regard, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. That’s your choice, not theirs, and it’s not always an easy one. Good luck and take care,

    J

  23. Sarah says:

    This is about the term ‘manipulative’ that is often applied to people with bipolar disorder.

    Now, we people with bipolar disorder are typically very emotional, and experience a range of emotions that others do not pick up on.

    Let’s take a bipolar child, in the playground. She’s just witnessed a minor bullying incident between to of the girls in her class, and she doesn’t know what to do. Should she befriend the girl who was picked on and face being picked on by the other one? The existential dilemma she is facing has reduced her to tears. The teacher sees her crying. The bipolar girl can’t give away what happened, and she cries still further.

    The teacher is exasperated. The girl seems to be crying for no reason, and it happens often. She just seems to want the teacher’s attention all the time. The teacher has deduced the girl’s behaviour as manipulative, since the teacher cannot see the reason why the girl is crying and the girl is not explaining.

    People with bipolar disorder will often seem to affect people emotionally and the person sees no reason why. Nobody can see the pain and anguish in our heads, the dysfunction of the brain that prevents us from doing what we need to do.

    If you are mentally healthy you need to have enough imagination to understand that there are things beyond your comprehension relating to the mental illness.

  24. Abused says:

    Myths? I think you are making excuses. Sure, not all people are the same and that goes for bipolar people as well. Beings tried to one had been the hardest thing I have and will have ever done in my life. These may not be true for you, in your mind, because most people with bipolar are deluded into thinking nothing is wrong with them. These “myths” are not even widespread. I wish I knew these things before I got I to a relationship with my wife. There is a reason why 90% of relationships containing a person with bipolar MENTAL DISORDER fail.

  25. nadine says:

    I just have to say, there are hundreds of thousands of ppl without bi polar that are liers cheaters, munipulators, stop the stigma,everyone has moods, feeling, depression, anxiety, feeling sorry,selfish , ect ect ect just because of bi polar does not make a person a bad person, ppl are just to lazy to understand and want to see things as negitive, i prefere to think positive and to make it as pleasant as possible for the ppl that are dealing with this mental illness, not always easy but neither are so called (normal) ppl , smh

  26. Sheila crone says:

    My 62 yr. old sister has been diagnosed as having bipolar II. As a child she was always seeking male attention, finding situations where she could create jealousy in her sisters and making impulsive decisions that usually harmed her. Throughout the years, I have paid her and her husband out of serious situations, but all they can do is criticize the care I gave: a car, medical care, shelter, etc. She became extremely religious and gave all her money to a church that she has watched fail. She has attempted suicide three times. Her and her husband love to criticize fat people and preachers of other denominations. They are retirement age now and broke through their bad financial decisions. After all this, she finds ways to manipulate others into thinking I’m doing things to hurt her. She pretends to love me me oh so much, but can change in a heartbeat to criticize me, my daughter and husband. I stay away as much as possible, but she IS my sister and is ill. Does this sound more like borderline disorder than bipolar II?

  27. george says:

    hi sheila,i see what you are talking about in a friend of mine,i know her for two years she told be she had bi-polar , but recently told me she was diagnosed with bpd, so i believe they can have both illneses,very hard to deal with for us and them,good luck to you.

  28. Bipolar hell says:

    Nathasha, i believe you are a bipolar and it has become some sort of a shame for you and you feel you need to disprove the whole established symptoms so that your world will become a bit more acceptable?? right?? You should be more responsible than post half baked articles like this because you have no idea what terrible lives people have to live living with people with bipolar who lie and manipulate and end up destroying innocent young lives. Maybe who knows, you would like to believe in earnest that you are not as bad as the extreme cases you may like to establish but that doesnt negate the fact that there are thousands or even millions of bipolar out there who are going to read your self centred article and disengage themselves from seeking treatment. But i personally know one bipolar mom from a family of 11 who have managed to lie and manipulate her symptoms so well and give excuses that unless you look closer you will never see it, she ended up destroying the whole family. So good, i will forward you article to her so she can still keep at it and who know destroy a few other lives with your article to prove her ‘sanity’ but trust me if she comes across your article she will use it to her highest possible advantage. Next time just print a few t-shirt, ‘hey, im bipolar, but im not the lying kind’ , that be more convenient for you and others. tqvm, well done, what a try

  29. mum to bunny says:

    This is exactly the problem I have with Bipolar. It’s all “me, me, me and my illness”. The lack of accountability. The sense of entitlement. “Look at me, I’m ill, you should all support me and care about me”. And I’m speaking from a personal experience… No matter what I did I never had a “thank you”… just abuse and violence.

  30. Chelle says:

    I’LL START BY IM MARRIED TO A BIPOLAR AND YES IN THE BEING IT WAS SO HARD TO try to support and many times I walked away but im in the medical field I really love him and it take a lot of support the right dr and for that person to want to compermise to get help with those low and paranoid patterns two people can be happy its take a lot of work at the being. In a 9 yr relation with my husband I love him more today then say 9 yrs ago to little girls have made us and take his meds faithful and amitts when he has miss a few day his behaviour does change we have an understanding. So it can be just another part of life

  31. Tiffany says:

    As a very self aware person with bipolar disorder, I have to add that many people in these comments are missing the point of this article completely.

    The entire point was that the core characteristics of bipolar disorder don’t include the aforementioned myths. A person can certainly possess unsavory traits, but it does not stem from the mental illness itself.

    Just because you knew one, two or a handful of people with bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you can make broad assumptions about the disease.

    Think of it this way, if a drug company produced a new drug designed to treat heart problems and tested it on 2 or even 10 out of 314 million (current US population) and then claimed it to be safe for everyone, would you trust it? Of course not! The FDA requires a few thousand or more.

    So just because you knew 2 out of the 5.7 million Americans with bipolar disorder doesn’t mean that the unsavory traits they may have ALSO had are directly related to the disorder.

    Source:
    US Population from 2012 Census
    FDA Drug Testing: http://www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm143534.htm
    Mental Health Number: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml#Bipolar

  32. Jeremy Gesell says:

    My wife blames her lying, cheating, stealing, and drug use on being bipolar. Are you saying this is an excuse?

  33. Kate says:

    I both agree and disagree. While the specific symptoms of bipolar do not include cheating, lying, etc., these characteristics are much more likely to come up as a result of bipolar’s actual symptoms. For example, when a person has grandiose thoughts, that person is much more likely to manipulate, lie, etc. to pursue their “goal”. During a manic episode, the laws of both society and nature don’t always apply. When a person with bipolar is pleasure-seeking, they are more likely to drain the accounts, engage in dangerous behaviour or seek sexual affairs. These behaviours will likely result in manipulation, cheating, lying, and so on. The guilt of such subsequent behaviours piles on, resulting in deeper episodes of depression.

    Because of bipolar’s often-erratic manic side, I do believe that there’s a valid reason why these people are accused of all sorts of bad behaviour, but that we can’t assume that if a person has the disorder, they will automatically conduct themselves in these ways. They aren’t bad people – these impulses are extreme and very hard to control. But their actions often do hurt others (and themselves) and the faster help is received, the better.

    As for the stats, I simply don’t believe them. If a group of 1000 people are asked if they’ve considered an affair, it’s silly to assume that the results apply to the total population. Often times, stats are achieved through biased means to “get a point across” – for example, a group of divorcees are asked whether they’ve cheated. Well, when you’re unhappy, you’re more likely to cheat, whether you’re dealing with a mental illness or not. So I don’t think stats apply at all.

    In reference to the BPD comparison, I totally agree. Bipolar is a mental illness. BPD is a personality disorder. There are similarities, but careful assessment of the patient will ensure a proper diagnosis. Treating bipolar patients is difficult initially, due to denial factors, but treating BPD is much more challenging in the long run. Because of this, we as therapists are advised to set a limit on how many BPD patients we can treat at any given time.

  34. Hailey says:

    Thank you, it’s difficult to live with any disorder. But to not be understood or to be shunned because of it is horrible. We have come so far in science, women’s rights, gay rights, equality for races, But man do people still have a problem with mental illnesses. No one should have to feel ashamed for something they can’t control, or be persecuted for the ignorance of others.

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