You remember last year, I was talking about depression. And talking about depression, lets think about the people who suffer from bipolar disorder which of course includes depression. Now, let’s be honest. Dealing with bipolar disorder, does not matter if I or II, is not only tough for the people who have the illness, but it’s also a challenge for those who live with them. I heard and saw a lot of people who have no idea of what they should say and what they should not say.
If you have bipolar disorder, someone has said at least one of these things to you:
–“You’re just overreacting again.” Haha, well yes, I am !!!! Overreacting is a symptom of bipolar disorder. Hearing harsh words that would be painful to anyone, I may well respond with extreme anger or dark depression. But I’m not “just” overreacting, and it’s not as if I can always take a deep breath and stop it. My illness can make that very difficult.
–“Anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” That’s always garbage, no matter what you’re talking about. Yes, it’s true that some people who learn from bitter experiences can come out of it stronger. BUT – would you want to hear that while your child was seriously ill, or just after being fired? Would you say it to a mother with ten starving children in a country torn by war? Then why are you saying it to someone with an illness where 20% of patients attempt suicide? Bipolar disorder can kill. Don’t forget that.
–“Everybody has mood swings sometimes.” That’s true. At least 8% of adults and 4% of kids have periods ofeuthymia and depression. But only people with bipolar disorder,cyclothymia, schizoaffective disorder and related severe mental illnesses have repeated and severe mood swings between mania or hypomania and depression.
–“Everyone is a little bipolar sometimes.” Well, that is from far one of the greatest bullshits I have ever heard!!
–“I wish I was manic so I could get things done!” If you think that’s all there is to mania, you are seriously uneducated, and you need to read Symptoms of Mania right away. The immediate retort that comes to my mind for this one is, “I wish you were manic, too, so you could finally understand what I’m going through!”
–“But you seem so normal!” Yes, maybe I do. Maybe I’m between, or maybe I’m good at hiding what I’m feeling. Or it might be that I’m in a hypomanic episode and only the good things about it are visible at the moment.
– “You’re too smart to have bipolar disorder.” Tell this to a person if your purpose is to make that person to feel HORRIBLE. But do not forget that the brain, like any organ in the body, is subject to having problems.
-“You look like depressive today.” Hahahaha, No kidding! Since I live with bipolar disorder, of course I don’t always feel 100 percent up to par. I just don’t need my symptoms constantly gauged or continually evaluated. It’s like having a never-ending physical. Most people with a mental illness know how they feel, trust me.
-“You’re lazy and don’t have a life anymore.” Are you pushing someone who has bipolar disorder to get on with life? Doing so might create stress, counteract recovery techniques, and worsen overall health. Don’t push too hard and don’t expect everything to happen overnight.
-“Don’t take everything so personally.” This one I heard it so many times that I simply lost the count. With bipolar disorder, there are obvious physical symptoms, such as changes in appetite or sleep; the mind, as well as the brain, are impacted. The patient’s self-esteem also takes a tremendous hit. That’s why a promised thing that never comes may be taken much harder than you might imagine. Confronting a chronic, serious illness is an ongoing process, and there are bound to be ups and downs. The more you take the time to learn about bipolar disorder, the more you will understand how difficult managing such a condition can be.
-“You seem a little overly enthusiastic.” Remember that someone who has bipolar disorder is still entitled to a personality. it is cruel to strip a person of his personality merely because he/she has a diagnosis. And it is RUDE! anyone is entitled to a full, normal range of emotions.
Talk is not cheap. It pays to use words that encourage, enlighten, and empower. Cheap platitudes and clichés does not cure any disease in this world as far as I saw. Beside this I really recommend to people to open their mind before to open the mouth or better, to speak only when they really have something interesting to say.
and yes, I take it personal, it is pissing me off to see people speaking without really knowing what it is all about.
ps: how many times , as a person suffering (because bipolar means to suffer.. a lot), have you heard these:
“What’s your problem?” “Have you gotten tired yet of all this me-me-me stuff?” “But it’s all in your mind” “No one ever said life was fair” “Stop feeling sorry for yourself” “There are a lot of people worse off than you” “You have it so good – why aren’t you happy?” “What do you have to be depressed about?” “You think you’ve got problems…” “Well at least it’s not that bad” “Lighten up” “You are what you think”(ohh that one I really hate!!) “Why can’t you just be normal?” “You need to get out more” “Get a job” “Everybody has a bad day now and then” “My life isn’t fun either” “You’re dragging me down with you” “Don’t take it out on everyone else around you” “You’re too hard on yourself. Quit being such a perfectionist”… …
Well, if you have near you a person with bipolar disorder and you tell to that person these things or some of them, this means that you dont give any damn shit on the sufferings of that person. Better stay away, because the only thing you do is to make the things worse than they are already. Don’t regard this as a family disgrace or a subject of shame. If someone close to you has bipolar disorder, your love and support can make a difference in treatment and recovery. You can help by learning about the illness, offering hope and encouragement. Be understanding and be PATIENT, this may take one entire life(even when a person is committed to treatment) … bipolar disorder is a lifelong process.
update: Don’t tell me you’re bipolar because you get mood swings on your period or you are more than 45 years old and you approach the andropause!!