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More Things I Wish People Knew About Bipolar Disorder

July 4, 2015

1. Not everything has to do with bipolar. We have bad days just like everyone else. We get mad, sad, frustrated, upset, but it doesn’t have to be due to our illness. In fact, it’s kind of patronizing to accuse us of having a mood swing when we’re really just having a crappy time of it. We are allowed normal feelings!

2. We don’t appreciate being asked if we’ve taken our meds. Again, we experience hardships just like everyone else on the planet, and sometimes we react poorly. Who doesn’t? We also have times when we’re happy, even overjoyed, and it doesn’t mean we’re manic or off our meds.  But it seems like some smartass always has to say it: “You’re not acting like yourself. Did you take your meds today?” Seriously, would you ask a diabetic if she took her insulin? A cancer patient if he went to chemo? No? Then why is it OK to say these things to us? We are not irresponsible children, we are adults equipped with the same constellation of emotions everyone else has, only a little more intense at times. Rule of thumb: if it’s not something you’d say in polite company, don’t say it to us.

3. Don’t take it personally. Our illness has nothing to do with you, and neither do our actions when we’re under the influence of a mood episode. I know it’s hard to understand when someone with bipolar is screaming obscenities and saying hurtful things to you, but it’s really not aimed at you in particular. To be honest, we really don’t have a lot of control over ourselves at these times, and while that’s not an excuse for bad behavior, it is a reason. Of course, there are those who are mean and nasty even without bipolar disorder, but the vast majority of us are decent people who occasionally lose our shit, along with our manners. Please forgive us if you can, and remember—it really isn’t you, it’s us.

4. Crazy is not a spectator sport. I think it’s safe to say that most of us don’t want the world to know we’re ill, which is why we so often retreat inside ourselves when we’re depressed. (Mania, of course, is a whole other story.) I for one can function well enough to pass for normal…that is, until I’m so sick that death would be preferable to going on like that. I don’t want people to see the crazy. I don’t want them to know there are days when I don’t even get out of bed, let alone shower and get dressed and go out. I also don’t want anyone to know the black thoughts that come sometimes when I can least afford to let my mind wander down paths best left unexplored.

(And by the way, I’m the only one who gets to call myself crazy. That’s just how it is.)

There’s more, of course, and I’ll probably tackle those in a future installment. Thanks for reading.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2015 1:18 am

    I don’t like the word “crazy”. it has bad vibes. we should ahve another word like “unsettled”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. July 4, 2015 2:29 am

    I want to do something about the phrase “mental illness”. How about “psyche-sick”. Mentally ill almost sounds vulgar to me. And I’ve been sick for most of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 4, 2015 2:33 am

      Personally, I like “mentally interesting”. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 4, 2015 2:39 am

        Hey, I’m for it but the community at large probably would think that strange. Being “mental” anything just. …gets me. .. probably my newly minted bipolar dx.

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 4, 2015 2:43 am

        I know, I was pretty sensitive about “mental” labels when I was first diagnosed BP. Now my attitude is like, okay, so I’m mentally ill. Big whoop, a lot of people are. But I really hated the label when I was ‘newly minted’ myself, so I empathize with you. ((((HUGS))))


      • July 4, 2015 2:47 am

        To be sure, I’ve been treated for near intractable depression for over 30 years. I’ve hated the label i was a teenager. It is time for a new title.

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 4, 2015 2:51 am

        Sorry to hear about that depression. How on earth does anyone cope with that for 30 years? I went through a bad patch last year that lasted months and resulted in me being hospitalized for suicidal ideation and intent. That was bad enough, but 30 YEARS?? How did you live through it?


      • July 4, 2015 3:09 am

        I worked a lot, hid a whole lot, denied a bunch, suffered at least as much, “ran to the hospital”a few times. ..the rest. .I don’t really know.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. July 4, 2015 3:11 am

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. July 5, 2015 8:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Seeking Stability.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. July 6, 2015 10:17 pm

    Great and wise post. I really HATE it when my husband says “did you take your meds”? I also hate it when the kids say…”take your meds mom, we don’t want a medless mom. I just figure this is my penalty for being ill. Which is bullshit, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. July 6, 2015 10:19 pm

    Reblogged this on lily pups life and commented:
    Another great post by my best cyberfriend, bpnurse. She always has things right on the money. For those who don’t know, she is the reason I started blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. July 6, 2015 10:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Normal is out there and commented:
    Love others’ point of view

    Liked by 1 person

  8. July 7, 2015 1:24 am

    Reblogged this on Casual Bedlam and commented:
    SO MUCH YES! Thanks for this, bpnurse!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. July 7, 2015 1:35 am

    Reblogged this on living in stigma.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. July 7, 2015 1:36 am

    Thanks for posting this, people need the info.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Smiling Through Recovery permalink
    July 7, 2015 8:24 am

    well very said! And all these points relate to other mental illness too 🙂 way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. July 7, 2015 6:33 pm

    Just found your blog. I like it. The only person who gets to ask me if I took my meds is my husband because 1)some of them are new meds on a new schedule and I do forget and 2) he uses his privilege very, very judiciously. And yes, the only person who gets to call me crazy is me!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Just Plain Ol' Vic permalink
    July 8, 2015 1:06 am

    Reblogged this on Just Plain Ol' Vic and commented:
    Another great post that points out the “obvious” that may not be that obvious!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. July 8, 2015 2:02 am

    Reblogged this on *a Teaching Artist eZine* and commented:
    Great post. There is no shame

    Liked by 1 person

  15. July 8, 2015 1:31 pm

    I wish I could share this with a few family members and friends. Just so they could understand

    Liked by 1 person

  16. July 8, 2015 10:50 pm

    Oh man. I forgot this one, but:

    “Should you be drinking on your medication?”

    I mean, the short answer is probably not, at least not to excess, but it’s a little infantilizing to have someone nanny you over the odd glass of wine when they don’t know squat about your illness or your meds. I’m not trying to encourage irresponsible behavior, but if/when we do decide to have a libation, it’s not like we don’t know we’re doing it. Some of us drink and some of us don’t, but those of us who do tend to have already gotten the rundown about alcohol from our doctor, so we don’t need it from an amateur. It’s usually well-meaning but also kind of insulting.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. July 16, 2015 8:16 am

    THIS is the post that prompted me to nominate you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. It was like a check list for me: yep, yes, said that, did that, had that said to me, right. I’m still scared over being diagnosed, still paranoid of owning the word bipolar. Your blog posts help me. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 16, 2015 4:45 pm

      Thank you! I’m happy I could be of assistance to you. That’s one of the main reasons for this blog—to help other bipolar people understand themselves a little better and give neurotypicals a view of what we go through. Your comment made my day!

      Liked by 1 person

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