Apparently March 30th is indeed bipolar awareness day. I did not know this until I read this blog
I decided I’d take the questionnaire
1. What does bipolar disorder mean to you?
It means I am different whether I want to be or not and now psychologists think I have schizotypal disorder as well for thinking I am different. Fuck you bipolar.
2. What was your life like before you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder?
I was considered weird or eccentric, unreliable, irresponsible but FUN during manic runs. I didn’t know anything was wrong other than a dysfunctional home life and hellish teen years. I was just…a flake.
3. How old were you when you were diagnosed?
33. Five doctors all being told by counselors that I was bipolar and not a one of them would change the diagnosis. 2006 I got Dr Right and she finally got me on the less treacherous path with mood stabilizers.
4. How do you manage your symptoms?
Um…Meds. Actually Lamictal and Xanax are the long time ones that work, the rest are just a parade of epic fails with hellish side effects or no effect or worsening symptoms. I write, I try to get out of the house, I try to play with my kid or cats as a way to distract from the symptoms. Guess what? Bipolar doesn’t give a fuck. Managing bipolar is like taking a rabid dinosaur for a walk on a leash.
5. What is life like for you now?
Now that I know I’m LEGITIMATELY fucked up yet society still frowns upon me…Life is just the same, except now the mood swings are like missing a couple of steps as opposed to falling down the entire flight.
6. Has having bipolar disorder affected your friendships, personal life, or professional life?
I don’t know, would not being able to breathe make you dead? DUH.
When I am manic, people adore me.
When I am depressed, people avoid me.
I am bad at friendships, relationships, jobs. Anything that requires consistency, lucidity, and reliability. Which means EVERY aspect of my life is affected every day.
Some people will play the mental illness card *only* when it applies to work or things that are unpleasant and not fun. Meanwhile, they have friendships, romances, social lives, fun.
Me, on the other hand, spend six to ten months of the year too depressed to put on a bra or even bathe at times and when I am up and manic, I am so impulsive I have to keep away from any situation that would lead to a poor choice getting me in trouble.
Barrel of fuckin’ laughs.
7. How do you think society treats people with a mental illness, especially bipolar disorder?
My own family and friends treat me like I have three heads, ebola, leprosy, and the plague, but it’s all in my own mind so they shrug it off.
Society…Well, if you hide mental illness, they dismiss it as personality. If you admit to it, next thing you know you’re “that crazy person on pills.”
Ya know, the one people shield their children from with wary wide eyeballs because “she’s on meds, she may be dangerous.”
Of course society treats mentally ill people differently. It’s the social norm. Things have evolved over the years but the attitudes are much the same.
8. Have you ever felt discriminated against or looked poorly on because of bipolar disorder?
Hmmm…Most of my “romantic” relationships have ended with, “I just can’t handle the mood swings and you get depressed like this, it drags me down.”
My friendships…”You’re so fun sometimes but then you’re like this lump for so long, I cant take it.”
Jobs: “You will either show up or be fired.” So you show up, late, unbathed, bawling, and get fired anyway.
Job Interviews: “Why is your work history so spotty? Why have you not worked in so many years?”
“I am bipolar and it makes things very difficu-.”
NEXT APPLICANT THAT CAN BE RELIED ON PLEASE.
Yeah, discriminated against sounds about right. Not that I entirely blame people. I think they are assholes without empathy,but at the same time, I am lucid enough to know reliability is crucial in most situations.
9. Do you have any words of advice for people in the world suffering with bipolar disorder, or other mental illness?
FIGHT THE STIGMA. Mental illness is no different than any illness of the body and allowing it to be treated like some mutant form of the plague needs to be challenged so that it can be changed. More education, more empathy, more understanding. If society would adapt to the needs of bipolar patients, as it does to people who need wheelchairs, a chance to take their insulin, or a day off because arthritis has you immobile… Treat illnesses equally.