Are You a Genius?
‘Are you a genius?’ – As mentioned above, a lot of people associate bipolar disorder with a higher mental IQ or creativity. Whilst it is flattering to be asked this question (for the most part), I often find myself having to explain that whilst there is a link, it does not directly correlate to everyone with bipolar disorder.
Have You Ever Tried to Kill Yourself?
One of the most personal questions I have been asked by anyone is ‘have you ever tried to kill yourself’. This is probably a reflection of the higher suicide rates in bipolar sufferers compared with those who do not have it, however this is not something that should be thrown about lightly. If someone wants to discuss an incident, then this needs to be on their own terms, and in their own time.
Have you Taken Your Medication?
‘Have you taken your medication?’ – this is a question that I personally find negative on more than one level. Firstly it implies that I am behaving out of norm, or in some way someone is finding strange, and secondly it implies that I am unable to take care of myself down to basic levels such as monitoring my own medication intake.
Are You Better Now?
I’ve luckily been stable now for a while, and can lead a fulfilling life, which often leads to people asking me if my bipolar is ‘all better’ and if it has ‘gone away’. Explaining to people that bipolar is a life long condition, and whilst I will go through periods of stability, there is every chance it will flare up again – a painful thing to think about.
Everyone Has Mood Swings
‘Everyone has mood swings’. This is absolutely true - everyone does have mood swings. We all have bad days, and we all have those days where we impulse spend on things we really don’t need, however these would not equal a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, whereas spending an entire student loan in a couple of days and claiming to be the president of Mensa would come closer.
Those Things Aren't Real
Some kinds of bipolar unfortunately come with psychotic episodes or symptoms, and this brings with even more questions. The most common question I get asked regarding the psychosis I’ve been through is ‘surely you know those things aren’t real’, or ‘can’t you tell you’re just hearing things’. In short, the answer is no. Visual hallucinations to me are as real as the computer screen in front of you, and my delusions are as real as you utterly knowing what colour socks you are wearing.