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The Negative Stigma and Being Dismissed

I’m a huge proponent of being open and honest about my Bipolar I Disorder. It can be an ongoing struggle for anyone else out there debating on whether or not to let friends or even family know about their mental illness. I completely understand, as dealing with the negative stigma surrounding the disorder is only heightened by others’ perceptions especially once they know you are, in fact, bipolar. I find myself boggled by how some people can be extremely dismissive of your point of views, opinions, remarks, and feelings just because you are bipolar. As if being bipolar completely discredits the things you say and do.

Am I responsible for bringing on these negative judgments? Of course; I have a sense of humor that can be far fetched and hard to follow. However, what angers me most is when people assume that the things I say are nonsense and stem from my bipolar disorder or even mania. This concept and treatment can be toxic. Sadly enough, people will brush off the things you say even when you are completely stable. It’s as if you are always manic, and you get no benefit of the doubt. Is it kind of a Catch 22? Yes. If I am going through a manic episode, it is probably a good thing for close friends and family to hit the panic button and proceed with caution. The other side of that is that it can be incredibly hurtful when the people around you are always questioning the things you say and do. It’s not fair to live under this microscope. I also do not think it is necessary. The easy answer is to tell you that if I’m manic you will know; this is not necessarily true. Just remember, it is not your place to play doctor. Assume I am stable and treat me as such. Again, questioning everything I’m saying or doing is extremely hurtful.

It is never acceptable to comment on another person's state of mental health. I have witnessed family members use my mental health as an excuse for my behavior to third parties. Worse was that the third party didn’t even know I was bipolar to begin with. It is a bad idea to judge others especially when it comes to mental health as people struggling with mental health find themselves being judged all the time. The state or status of my brain is none of your business and judging it or discarding the emotions I’m having because you think I’m episodic is not acceptable.

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