The Stigma of Bipolar Disorder
I often feel like an outsider, and I always will feel like one. I’ve always felt that I wasn’t a member of any particular group of people, club, religious group, or class. I’m not particularly fond of labels. I enjoy the freedom of having my own unique perspective on things, in a world where everyone is the same.
There’s so many parts of my life that I’ve struggled with – that so many millions of others struggled with – about being an outsider, about feeling crazy, ugly, gay, or not good enough.
I’m a bright 30 year old compassionate man with morals, feelings, and dreams, just like any other human being.
But, I’m living with Bipolar type 2 disorder, and that means there will be both fear and stigma. Which adds to being an outsider. Bipolar is a real and serious mental illness caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.
Although, the Bipolar has led me to disability, it shouldn’t be anything to feel ashamed, feared, or ridiculed by others. That is why I’m writing this…to help, advocate, and educate. We have to fight these public attitudes and misconceptions which lead to fear, rejection, and stigma!
My mood can change often, anxiety haunts me, and the depression is crippling! My life is not without stress or easy, but Bipolar disorder is a treatable illness. Usually, by a doctor, with medication, and psycho-therapy (counseling). Bipolar is also an invisible illness, so with the right care and medication it can go virtually unnoticed. You are not doomed to live an unhappy life because of any mental illness.
I’ve weathered many emotional storms. One of the oldest and worst emotional storms of all time is fear. Fear and / or Anxiety can be good when you’re walking past an alley at night or when you need to check the locks on your doors before you go to bed, but it’s not good when you have a goal and you’re fearful of obstacles. We often get trapped by our fears, but anyone who has had success has failed before. This is all you have. This is not a dry run. This is your life. If you want to fritter it away with your fears, then you will fritter it away, but you won’t get it back. It’s okay to just be okay sometimes… that is enough. But, don’t allow Stigma to stop you or limit you from doing anything you want to do. Face your fears, reach out to people, go outside your comfort zone. It might feel a bit awkward at first, but try it.