Judging Mental Illness – You’re Not Bipolar
For some reason people like to come on here and tell me (and sometimes others) that I’m not bipolar. They feel, for whatever reason, that my writing is not that of a person with bipolar and somehow it indicates that I’m not bipolar. I’m not expressing the right emotions. I’m not writing whatever it is that a “real” bipolar person would be writing.
And this happens in real life too. People somehow feel qualified to determine a person’s mental status simply by the way a person with bipolar acts in front of them.
Well, for the record, I would like to say from me, and all the other mentally ill people in the world: bite me (or, you know, us).
A “Real” Bipolar
I would really like to know how these people know what a “real” bipolar is? Am I supposed to write a manic post followed by a depressed post and so on? Is that the only thing that will “prove” that I’m a “real” bipolar. And how, exactly, would I prove the veracity of these posts? What if it’s not depressed enough? What if it’s not manic enough? What then? Fake bipolar again?
A Real Bipolar
The problem with this line of thinking is, of course, that I am only a person with bipolar disorder. That somehow the only thing I am able to express is a mood directly related to my disorder and that everything I do is directly driven by my disorder. This, of course, is nonsense. I’m a full-fledged, three-dimensional, complicated person – like everyone else – and I am quite capable of behaving outside the bipolar spectrum and I most especially am capable of writing outside of it. I’m a writer. It’s what I do.
And everyone with bipolar disorder is just like this. We are all multi-faceted individuals that act many different ways depending on the circumstance and just because we don’t act sufficiently bipolar in front of you doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
And, for the record, most of us don’t act especially bipolar around people – it’s called a coping mechanism and treatment – look it up.
Judgey-Wudgey Was an Idiot
And you, with your superior diagnostic skills, don’t get to come in and say someone is or is not bipolar just because of your tiny, port-hole view on their existence. There’s a reason people go to doctors and that’s because they’re actually qualified to make a diagnosis and they actually have access to the information you don’t. They actually have access to all a person knows, thinks and feels as opposed to the tiny view one gets from social interactions or a pile of writings.
So, by suggesting you know what diagnosis a person should have and suggesting that you know better than them and better than their doctor simply proves one thing – you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Tracy, N. (2012, June 7). Judging Mental Illness – You’re Not Bipolar, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2012/06/judging-mental-illness-youre-not-bipolar
Author: Natasha Tracy
What is her motive I wonder? I'm not sure she is much of a friend.
- about 4 in 10 say: "oh.... really? That must be hard" (quite the acceptable answer)
- about 4 in 10 say: "I would never have thought that of you"
- about 2 in 10 say: "It doesn't surprise me at all of you"
People are funny, aren't they?
Remember, the brain controls all these functions, all of your behavior... if the brain is not functioning correctly you have NO control.
In the past I would self-injure and not even remember it fully later on. When I'm in remission I would never dream of hurting myself. It's completely out of character, like I'm watching someone else do these things. Of course, a lot of people exhibit certain traits of mental illness for attention's sake and they do not make it easier on people like me.
Natasha, I recently discovered your blog and and it's amazing to find total strangers describing my problems with such detail. It helps me to remember that I'm not alone and to stop beating myself up for something I can't help. Thank you.
I'd say you're right on both counts. People _don't_ know and most of us don't share our horrors with people. That's just normal. Rightly or wrongly we're embarrassed. But of course that means it's difficult for others to get a true picture of where we're coming from.
It sounds like you probably have a wife that understands though and that one person is important. They can tether you to the truth of your illness.
I'm sorry but that's not even a little correct. People don't "choose" to "nip their mental illness is the bud." Some people are simply sicker than others. Some people will be fortunate and have a depression once and not again. That is not the same thing as "choosing" your way out of it. It's like saying to someone who survives cancer that they "chose" their way out of it simply because they didn't have a reoccurance of it like many other people.
What I think you're saying is that you don't have a real view of how devastating a brain illness can be. Some would argue that until you have experienced the severe pain of an illness, you cannot understand it, nor can you understand what it would drive you to. I'm not sure I believe that, but I will say that until you find that compassion and that understanding it's very easy to suggest that you can "logic" your way out of an illness. You can't. You can't logic your way out of a brain illness that shrinks your brain and produces cognitive deficits. You just can't, any more than you can "logic" your way out of any other disease.
- Natasha Tracy
Friends also don't know some of the terrifying things I've been through that I never tell another soul apart from my wife.
I love that a dentist feels qualified to make such calls. Maybe I should tell him which teeth have cavities.
And I know the boyfriend thing. My first psychiatrist was _very_ big on me getting one. He really felt like that would solve a lot of my problems.
Ah yes, the new bipolar cure - a boyfriend.
(Of course, he was an older man who said this to me. I'd like to think the more modern professionals wouldn't be so redonkulous.)
I once had a dentist tell me I wasn't depressed. I'm not sure how he was telling that from my teeth. Then again, I once had a psychiatrist tell me I was fine on the basis that I was "a nice looking girl and could maybe get a boyfriend", so you can't always trust the professionals.
Thanks agian :)
You may be seated ;)
You're welcome. Happy to be a voice.
INDEED! Oh my! Yes, I echo everyone else's comments. An absolutely terrific job of talking about something so irksome. And yes, if you were to run for office, you would definitely have to be nuttier (wait, who says you're not already nuttier? oh yeah, you did!)
For me to be a politician I'd have to be way crazier than I am now ;)
Also the comment made me feel like bipolars are not intelligent people, which she commented on as well, "you seem so well put together." I guess I was suppose to babble and drool on myself. Sometimes I'm half tempted to act like such a fool to get my point accross, i'll switch the crazy on if you want...lol.
It's funny because it's like being punished because we're successful. Or, perhaps not even successful but simply being ourselves and not a cookie-cutter character.