Not too long ago, I was kind of taken aback by some remarks that someone said. This person and I don’t necessarily have the best of all relationships, but the comments that they made really bothered me. Everything else that this particular person says doesn’t really get to me, but this one really did. Without saying word for word, they said that my bipolar disorder is a liability.
It’s a threat, as though everyone around me should be afraid of me. It’s not safe to be around me.
It bothered me because it’s another example of the ignorant stigma that exists about bipolar disorder or any other mental conditions.
There are people who have mental disorders who are violent, even capable of killing. But there are people without mental disorders who are just as likely to be violent, with the capability of killing. So the idea of a person feeling threatened by someone with a mental disorder holds about as much water for me as a wet paper napkin.
I have a temper. I have a very short temper. But I’m not a dangerous person. You won’t find anything in my history of me attempting to harm anyone, stab them, shoot them, physically fighting them, or anything. I’m a non-physical person, but I will defend myself. But I believe any human being that feels threatened will, and have the right to, defend themselves. In fact, I’m the one who either tries to avoid confrontation or de-escalate it. So again, the unwarranted fear of me being a threat to you holds about as much water as a wet paper napkin.
I was told that I was a threat to the people around them, even though I have never been around these people. I was judged before anyone ever laid eyes on me. I could really care less about any of that. What bothers me is that this is the stigma that is constantly hanging over our head; the stigma that we’re going to automatically lash out and try to cause you harm.
The statement also highlights how little they know about bipolar disorder. It’s a mood disorder. Most people with bipolar disorder are more likely to be bogged down with depression that anything. We become manic, where it’s like being higher than anything on Earth, but except in extreme cases, we’re not concerned with fucking with you. When I’m hypomanic, I get irritated (I’m naturally an irritable person anyway, but it’s to a level ten when I’m hypomanic), but I want to have fun. I’m highly focused on other things. I’m not going to lash out and choke the shit out of you for no reason. I might cuss your ass out, which I would do whether I’m depressed, hypomanic, or neutral. Your feelings might get hurt. But that’s really about it. I’m by no means trying to trivialize the significance of the disorder. All I’m trying to say is that to automatically assume that I’m any kind of threat to people who I’ve never met or talked to is just simply ignorant and stupid, for lack of better words.
Honestly, I feel like this person was trying to use this diagnosis against me, especially in the conversation that we had I never brought it up. But they do know about it. This is something that I was prepared for when I started disclosing my diagnosis, so I wasn’t completely caught off-guard. Like anything that you put out there, certain things come with the territory. But I am bothered by the fact that it was brought up in a conversation that had nothing to do with the subject at hand. It was a low blow, an unwarranted jab, and to be honest with you, I simply want to say to the person fuck you. Harsh to say, yes. But so is using info about someone’s mental or health status as a weapon of your choosing. It was a coward move, a bitch ass move.
By the way, I’m not in the middle of any episode or angry as I write this post, although it is ruffling my feathers. These are thoughts that I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about, as far as how I want to say it; not because I was concerned with offending anyone (anyone who knows me know I don’t care if you’re offended or not), but because I wanted it to come out the best way possible.
One one hand, I can understand the ignorance. I was there at one time. That was because I didn’t know or understand what any of this shit was. But nowadays, there’s so much information out there that there’s really no excuse to not have a basic understanding. You don’t have to go to school to learn what certain mental illnesses are, and their symptoms. You don’t have to be a pharmacist to get a basic idea of the medications and how they affect people, including their side effects. You don’t need to be a therapist to understand how all of the negative reactions from society, our “friends”, and our “families” can cause so much harm to people battling with mental illness, that it can be detrimental and be the difference between life and death. While you’re reading about the latest gossip on the internet, or trying to keep up with Beyonce’s pregnancy, you can take a few minutes to do a little research on mental disorders. Whether you want to believe it or accept it, there are people around you, friends or family, that suffers from something. It could be bipolar. It could be anxiety. Depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality, postpartum depression, OCD, eating disorders, you name it.
Mental Health Awareness Month isn’t over, yet, but awareness doesn’t have to end on June 1. The more aware we are, the more the stigma dies, so we can avoid saying stupid ass shit and making dumb ass assumptions like the people I’ve been talking during this post.