Anything That Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger!
‘Anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!’ – this can be a patronizing statement as it minimizes what you’ve gone through, and as discussed previously, with higher suicide rates and a lower life expectancy, bipolar can kill.
Are You Crazy?
It is an unfortunate circumstance how many times I have been asked questions like ‘are you crazy?’ ‘Are you a psycho?’ or even in one case ‘are you dangerous?’ Mental health statistics actually show that if you are diagnosed with a mental illness, you are far more likely to be the victim of violence. Words such as ‘crazy’, or ‘psycho’, carry negative connotations, and only further the stigma surrounding mental illness.
I Wish I was Manic
As with the views that bipolar can often equal creativity and genius, it is often that bipolar is seen with rose tinted glasses. A few times, a few people have told me that they ‘wish they were manic in order to get things done’. Whilst mania does involve increased productivity and energy, it also usually results in a complete mental breakdown, financial trouble, and a resulting depressive crash. Minimizing mania into an extra strong cup of coffee detracts from the serious nature of bipolar, and can prevent people from fully understanding the issues the illness can bring with it.
But You Seem So Normal
‘But you seem so normal’ – I would argue that there is no such thing as normal. We are all different, we all have our quirks, I just happen to have a mental illness. This view also projects the opinion that having bipolar is something ‘abnormal’, something negative – whilst my illness has caused me a lot of trouble, it is still an intrinsic part of me.
It's All in Your Head
‘It’s all in the mind – you don’t need that medication!’ Technically yes it is in my mind, it is in my head – bipolar is a chemical imbalance in the brain, caused partially (it is believed) by genetics. A chemical imbalance however, needs addressing, and that is something that my medication does. Some people with bipolar do not need medication to control their illness, but this does not mean it is ‘all in their mind’ either, but rather that they have learnt to control their illness through different means.