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Writing Off People with a Mental Illness Hurts You, Not Us

One day I was in a pub eavesdropping on the girls deep in conversation next to me. They were chatting about bisexuals. They were commenting that they would never date a bisexual as really bisexuals were heterosexual that were just playing around with homosexuality and eventually they would “turn back” into heterosexuals.

Well, I, being bisexual was a little insulted by this. I have not “turned” into anything. I simply am bisexual like they are simply gay.

I realized though that it was lucky for me that I heard these girls talking because I could cross them off my list as I have no desire to date sanctimonious, self-righteous, ignorant women.

And I also realized this: it’s their loss.

I’m great.

I only lost sanctimonious, self-righteous, ignorant women while they lost me.

And the same is true of mental illness. When someone rejects you simply because of a medical illness that you didn’t ask for and over which you have no control, you are only losing someone ignorant while they are losing the amazing person that is you.

People with Mental Illness Are Amazing?

Well, admittedly, I haven’t done a poll, but yes, people with a mental illness are amazing. Why? Because they’re living with something that is so painful and difficult that most people couldn’t even comprehend it. Because they are succeeding in the face of staggering odds. Because they have lived and thrived while many of their compatriots have not.

Yes, people with a mental illness are amazing.

This is to say nothing of the contributions to creative and other endeavors made by people with a mental illness. Would you like to have written off Isaac Newton, Ludwig van Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Buzz Aldrin and so many others? I wouldn’t scoff at these people’s talent and I’m proud to be in their company.

It Hurts to Be Rejected

Yes, it hurts to be rejected. I’ve been rejected because of my mental illness and it hurts like hell. And in the face of such hurt it may seem trite to say it’s their loss. But I promise, if you really have that watershed moment, and know I am telling you the truth, you will realize that they are lesser for not having you in their lives. You are quite possibly greater for not having to defend yourself from their ignorance.

Quality Barometer

And so, maybe knowledge of mental illness can be seen as a quality barometer. Those who will accept you for who you really are, rate high enough as to deserve you. Those that show ignorance and hatred simply aren`t nearly good enough for you. It`s you with the quality bar, not them.

So if someone insists on ignorance – let them. It simply tells you who they are and lets you make better decisions about who you want in your life. This rightfully gives you back your power. It`s you who have rejected them based on their own tiny minds.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar Burble, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

19 thoughts on “Writing Off People with a Mental Illness Hurts You, Not Us”

  1. I lost my best friend because while manic , I sent a nasty text to her husband. He responded by forbidding me over the house, and not allowing me contact with her or their daughter who was my daughter’s friend. I recovered about 2 weeks later and apologized and tried to explain, but he refused to hear of it.

    Anyway, I am now talking to my friend but the relationship has been transformed from a very very close friendship to a superficial acquaint-ship. I find their ignorance and refusal to understand so hurtful.

  2. Hi Miami,
    I was untreated for two years, and under-treated for one. Now it’s all under control. Thinking back to that period – there were some people who felt the way you do and some who didn’t. Those who felt the way you did felt it was their job to fix me, and when their efforts didn’t work, they got really cut up and had to step back completely. Those who stayed around for that period were better able to cope, and I think that was because they always saw the illness as my responsibility to treat, accepted that it wasn’t so simple, and were able to keep their boundaries while still being a friend. Best of luck.

  3. Sorry but I disagree with a lot of what this article states. Loving someone with a mental illness like bipolar puts me in a vice. When all my energy is drained from the constant babying, excusing, verbal and emotional abuse, counseling and etc etc, and the bipolar person continues to blame me, refuse responsibility for their actions, continues the narcissistic behavior, denies they need help, continues to get drunk, belligerent and vulgar, hits on my husband and myself constantly and has multiple sex partners in a week every week and does not accept help when this has been ongoing for the 3 years I have been friends with them it’s time to cut losses. When my bipolar friend is willing to admit she has a problem and accept help I will be there but until then I have to end the friendship.

  4. I have struggled with bipolar for forty years and as with all of us I could write a book! I too have thoughts of bisexuality but have never acted on it. Natisha, could you do some research on this topic?

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