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Bipolar Ignorance


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#1 drgnfly

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 04:04 PM

I was wondering how you all with bipolar handle rude comments about the illness. It's happened to me several times- I'm talking (gossiping) with someone- usually a co-worker or someone I know but not very well- and they say negative comments about another- " I think they are bipolar, they are so moody". That type of thing. Do you guys hear these remarks? How do you handle them? I usually ignore it but they make me feel pretty crappy. I really want to say something like I really am bipolar- that's not how we act. I know I should keep my mouth shut to avoid rumors but it gets to me.
I wish we were understood a little better.

#2 natoking

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 03:18 AM

Oh drgfly.

I think being bipolar gives you/us a special quality of compassion and sensitivity. Just like they don't understand us, we must learn to understand them. Humans are often times disturbed or scared of the things that they don't understand. Many comments are just born of ignorance or insensitivity which is certainly hard for us to understand. All humility aside, I think that bipolar people are far from ignorant, they are intellectual, compassionate and sensitive. Not to mention, we are interesting as hell.

I have taken an approach of openness and one of sharing. When I hear comments, I simply say that being bipolar is as much of a quality as it is a curse. I tell them that I do need to manage myself but I really like who and how I am. I try to explain that when I/we become overly symptomatic, it is not much different than any other illness. We need nurturing and care. God knows, we would do that for them if they had MS or high blood pressure. Some people cannot fathom what it can be like when we are having a hard time but they love to be around us when our sine-wave is somewhat in control.

I will tell people (even strangers) about this fascinating condition that makes us who we are. We are wonderful. Yes, we are up and down but we are far from flatlined and boring.

I would only wish for you to be really proud of who and how you are because you should be. We can't control other people's perceptions or actions. We can only control our own (at least sometimes LOL!).

I would not change who I am for anything in the world. With every deficit comes a gift. Sometimes the gift is sometimes the deficit.

When I hear of the cuff remarks about bipolar disorder, I immediately tell them that I am gifted and challenge by it. Most often the people are embarrassed by what they have said and with a bit of education, they will never gossip or criticize someone like us.

In the end we can only control our own perceptions. We can't let people who are totally unqualified to judge us. On the converse side of the coin, we can be disappointed but we shouldn't judge them either.

Hold your head high drgfly because you are very special. Sometimes people just can't recognize it, but you can.

Bob

#3 Hangingon

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 11:49 AM

Yeah,

I hear them too and I've given up on trying to educate most people because many of them simply don't want to understand. Most of them drop those comments the way they say "Oh I am so depressed" when they really mean sad or upset. Too many people just say what comes to mind and don't think about it.

I just chuckle and roll my eyes most times and end up feeling sorry for those with the limited vocabularies and misunderstandings. Try not to take them personally, for the ignorant do tend to speak loudly like that.

Love

Sheila

#4 Sunshineinmyface

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 12:34 PM

I agree totally with Bob and Sheila. I find it maddening that so much of the population expects an even keel mood all the time with little emotion (happy, sad, mad, anything)and find it to be a real social control thing and way to exclude people and eliminate them and attempts to drag an emotional person down, especially if they have a mental illness, which is so broadly and wrongly portrayed in the media leading to ignorance by the public, not that the public needs the help.

Yes I do some talking about the more realistic criteria of the illness in question, throw in a dash of the incidence of discrimination, try to make a comparison to the person bringing it us in some manner (they may be a harasser, gossip, kiss ass, etc.) We are all often different and things are happiest when we make accommodation for that and respect that, I think.

I will disclose that I suffer from depression because it is by far 95% of my bipolar II and especially disclose this to employer when I first get a chance upon being hired (here they cannot ask in the interview about a disability) to protect myself and do use it to weed people out, get what little support is out there, and make an effort to change the sigma and incorrect information out there. Here where I live, Minnesota, the news is always saying some violent person "had a history of mental illness" which is so vague, they never follow it up and imply people with mental illness are violent. No that is a psychopath and it is not a mental illness (personality disorder) or anti-social behavior (personality disorder) not mental illness as people assume (like depression mainly and despite being a tiny part of mental illness schizophrenia).

If you can, with a smile, give them some factual information, tie it to them or an experience they understand, as noted above. If it is done in a mean-spirited manner I will shame them after I educate them or shut them up with a quick retort if talking to them is hopeless or counterproductive.

Thanks for bringing this up, more people like us could talk about this with others and do a lot of good I think. Remember, disclose your own illness carefully and think about it now (and the consequences and options it provides - legal protection in many cases) and just when you are thinking of disclosing and the fact that you will no longer be in control of the content of the information once you share it with a person, they will, unless it is in writing (I do with employers).

Personally I am a highly sensitive person (which adds to the compassion I have learned from being depressed) - neurological condition that does effect my emotions/actions and am an emotional person. I am not a straight line emotionally by any stretch of the imagination and I will often announce to people what kind off mood I am in for the day so they will not take offense and invite them to even me out if they see the need (pissed off, goofy, PMS - you are warned, silly, stressed, need to concentrate and have few distractions, etc.) and find that it works very well. I like to mingle with co-workers, even have a shared office area and if I am not concentrating really hard (it is then hard to get my attention) I have no problems with chit chat, interruptions, discussions about things other than strictly work. I will not listen to gossip though unless the person will tell me who they heard it from and if so I tell them I will verify that so I basically get little gossip, which suits me fine. Especially about my mental illness.

OH diarrhea mouth there, sorry.

Hugs,
Sunshine

#5 spinstr39

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 03:09 PM

I was wondering how you all with bipolar handle rude comments about the illness. It's happened to me several times- I'm talking (gossiping) with someone- usually a co-worker or someone I know but not very well- and they say negative comments about another- " I think they are bipolar, they are so moody". That type of thing. Do you guys hear these remarks? How do you handle them? I usually ignore it but they make me feel pretty crappy. I really want to say something like I really am bipolar- that's not how we act. I know I should keep my mouth shut to avoid rumors but it gets to me.
I wish we were understood a little better.
[/quote]
hi drgnfly, i think ur right, most people without mental health issues think we're all drooling, axe-wielding lunatics to be feared. i myself only tell people if i feel comfortable with them. but why should u keep ur mouth shut? as long as it doesn't cost u ur job, why shouldn't u say, 'actually, i'm bipolar, and it's not about just 'being moody'. i find most people accept when i tell them i have depression, because a lot of people i encounter have it, and it gives them a chance to know they're not alone. if people at work start rumours about you, tell the management, cos that's discrimination and it has no place at work. you could be humourous about it, say something like 'honey, if so-and-so were bipolar, i guarantee you'd know it'. or you could ring off a list of fabulously talented bipolar people, like vincent van gogh, carrie fisher, stephen fry, jim carrey, yourself, etc.

i suppose what i'm saying is, if you feel comfortable, then school the people around you, so they know how much it upsets you to hear ignorant remarks. also, find friends in your area who have mental health issues, so you feel more comfortable. i'm in a drama group where most of us have been in psychiatric care!
hope this helps. take care, lovely xx

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#6 drgnfly

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:52 PM

Wow- this has really been a great discussion!

Natoking- I absolutely love your outlook. It is so refreshing to see someone embrace who they are and find the positive in this illness. We are pretty facinating, aren't we??

You all have given some great advice on how to deal with these situations. I'm also like you Sunshine, I tend to warn people of my mood when I get to work. I say it's my 'disclosure' to let them know how to address me. I'll apologize ahead of time if I'm cranky, or say I'm super talkative. It seems to help if my co-workers know they aren't the cause of any bad mood I might be in.

Um, Spinstr, sometimes I feel like wielding an axe..... is that a sign of a problem? :lol:

You guys are wonderful. :kiss:

#7 glassslipper

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 06:38 AM

I have read this and will try to articulate how I go about things, I do call people 'nutters', fruit cake. schizo bitch, PMT queen, 'he/she needs treatment', ect cant type all the things I call people, but I also refer to myself as these things. Sometimes its in fun, sometimes its serious. But my overall view is that most of the schizo bitches and nutters I have met have never taken a tablet in their life and never seen the inside of a psychiatric hospital, as my dear ol' ma used to say 'its the ones that we dont know about, that we need to worry about' ie Fred West, Jack the Ripper, Roy Whiting (evil comes to mind not nutter), Shipman. Some women have said 'oh, I wish I was anorexicm I'd love to be thin'!! Hah, how I wish I could enlighten them on such a thoughtless flippant remark. If they were given the realities of any food disorder, they wouldnt say such things, its rather like wishing for diabetes or epilepsy. I dont tell anyone who I work with of the life I have had, anorexia, depression, suicide attempts, hospital admissions etc etc. Prozac Queen and NHS Pyjama model extrordinaire. Generally I am viewed as eccentric, so its routine for me to be called a nutter, weird, crazy etc, I just give them a big cheesey smile and say 'oh, you dont know how much'! I have met many good friends in psychiatric hospitals, when you get that low and still like the barebones of someone, I dont think you could get a better friend, beats meeting someone on top of the world, its all show. My mother was diagnosed as Borderline Personality disorder, at the time I was telling a psychiatrist this I dint know exactly what BPD was, and stated, 'she's never been on the effin border of anything!'I do call her The BPD Queen or Miss Personality 1936, dont know why I call her that she was born in 1944. And yes I am angry at her for all the crap she gave me, but it wunt put me off making a friend of someone with BPD. I dont care who anyone is or what they got, as long as they dont mess with kids or animals, they are a potential friend.

I do warn people if I am 'pissed off', tired, scrotty, upset, I also give guide lines: dont talk complictated, dont give me anything to do that requires thought, let me stew, you may have to say things twice and s-l-o-w-l-y, cos some days I can see peoples lips moving and know they are talking to me, but nothing gets through! As I get better I hear individual sylabuls, eventually whatever part of my brain wasnt playing decides to join the rest of my body.

We all make flippant remarks, have said stupid stuff and some people are just plain dumb and/or shallow. sometimes theres a chance to enlighten them and sometimes your better off walking away. The world is generally getting better at recognising different mental illnesses and that we aint all Jack Nicholson in The Shining, slowly slowly catchee monkee. 'now where did I put my axe'?

Maria x

Edited by glassslipper, 29 June 2010 - 06:45 AM.


#8 rosie8

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:43 PM

I think its like any condition - there will always be someone to abuse the term. I unintentionally upset a student when I said 'I was having a dyslexic day' and she thought I was mocking her. I said I have the tendencies, and my family have it. My unthoughtful comment had hurt her - as her dyslexia is a real problem for her.

I think people don't think before they say something. I woman chat show host the other day compared this actress with severe depression episodes & suicidal tendencies - to her own PMS she had suffered from for all of a day. If I were the actress I would have slapped her silly face.

Oh well, I know I am guilty of silly remarks - but we need to educate people and tell them that their remarks are hurtful. That way it will get around that its not good to stereotype or use names to label people.

Sorry about the slapping bit - but its hot and I am a bit frazzled and it REALLY ANNOYED me!!

Rosiex

#9 Sunshineinmyface

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 02:52 PM

I tell employers after I am hired to protect myself in case of discrimination based upon mental illness, which has happened to me, and the disclosure helped immensely with the lawsuit.

I will on occasion disclose to acquaintances that I suffer depression, if I am depressed and they remark, as most do that I am not smiling. My friends, the few there are naturally, certainly know, as does my family.

As with any bias, I become enraged when someone starts belittling or saying racist, sexist - any bigotry - remarks. One could say I put them in their place very quickly with my sharp tongue and they realize their remarks were inappropriate, bigoted, and totally false. I just cannot help myself that kind of behavior is so offensive to me. If they are not a bigot and say remarks out of ignorance, of course I am more understanding and less aggressive with them.


Education on mental illness needs a huge shot in the arm, Roselynn Carter just wrote a book about how the mental health field has not improved over the years (since her last book) and how deplorable and unnecessary that is. I recommend reading it, as I am ordering it to be sent to my library.

Much more research and investment into such needs to be done, as the mental health community (large where I am), despite what they think, know next to nothing about mental illness. It is early times for this illness and awareness and funding need to increase fast. It is a common human ailment, worldwide in proportions and critical to human functioning in any meaningful manner...yes I would say this is a crisis.

hugs,
Sunshine

P.S. Thanks for bringing the topic up as it needs discussion critically.

#10 natoking

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 09:27 PM

Words can be black magic or white magic. Yes, choose them wisely and don't take other's words personally.

#11 nicolelord2

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 10:25 AM

oh my god...bipolar depression(depression) I dont want to remember this days. There days ware worst day of my life. Thanks god this manic episode is end now..... :( :( :( :(

Edited by nicolelord2, 08 June 2011 - 10:26 AM.


#12 Ed the chow hound

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 10:49 AM

Hi guys,

Bipolar can be a very difficult disorder to live with both for the sufferer and family and friends as well. Some bipolar behaviour is so far OUT it is IN and at times criminal. One member of my family is an extreme case and it is hard to handle the behaviour. Driving at one hundred miles per hour in a thirty five zone is bloody dangerous and deserves criticism.

love ya all

Ed the chow hound

Edited by Ed the chow hound, 09 June 2011 - 10:55 AM.


#13 kewy13

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 05:32 PM

i agree ed that the behaviour/symptom should be criticized. i hope your family member gets help and gets safe. but i have been manic, and i know that is so difficult to do.

i know this is an older thread, but i love this comment shiela....


"Oh I am so depressed" when they really mean sad or upset. Too many people just say what comes to mind and don't think about it.


i even find myself doing this. good reminder.

#14 Ed the chow hound

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 07:17 PM

YIPPEE,

I made contact with my old buddy Kewy at last, keep posting we need ya support gal.

love ya

Ed the chow hound

#15 Armygirl

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 03:28 AM

I've got a co-worker and several "close" family members whose favorite phrases seem to be "He/she must be bipolar the way they act"...for the most part it just bounces off of me like water now, but every once in a while I find myself thinking and feeling sorry for them for being basically ignorant dumbasses, lol...

If the world only knew an ounce of what we know...

ang

#16 kewy13

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 08:32 PM

you know, another thing i do say, i call my self "bi polar betty" whenever i am a little manic. it has actually become a cute name for me recognizing that i need to keep things in check.

#17 drgnfly

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:30 PM

I like that Kewy. I should have another name too, my 'alter ego' :) It definitely feels like I'm a different person when I'm manic.

#18 natoking

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 07:41 PM

Let's enter the politically correct arena = We a "mood impaired"

#19 jillie

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:43 PM

Heh, I might be a 'unipolar', but I am also adhd. Just the same, people make ignorant comments, the same as they do about bipolar. *sigh* Bite tongue and get on with it......Posted Image

xxx

#20 TattooedGirl

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 12:09 AM

I dislike when bipolar is used flippantly as a term cause someone is 'moody'. it kinda negates the seriousness of it.

When id hear comments like that, depending on my state of mind at the time, I would either fake a laugh and say nothing, or turn around and say if they're bipolar love to know what im actually dealing with (or words to that effect)
It just depends on how i feel at the time.

Mental health issues are widely indirectly mocked, i feel.

as has been said, peopel saying theyre depressed, when really theyre just down at that particular time. or they;ve OCD when they really dont, they just are a clean/tidy person.

It is upsetting too, cause when you'd reach out to friends, to try and get some support, they'd shrug it off as the true meaning of the problem isnt understood.