Bipolar Disorder Just isn’t Taken Seriously

Not everyone assumes that they understand what it is like to have Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Lupus…etc

Because people who are not doctors might not know or understand the terminology surrounding those illnesses and disorders.  I know I don’t really.  And most people have some fear and respect of these issues and mostly want to avoid talking about them with the sufferer as it is awkward and uncomfortable.

I even felt slightly hesitant to list some of them because I don’t want to sound like I am treating them lightly.  Because I respect those struggles so much and don’t at all want anyone to think I even for one second understand what they are going through.
No one disagrees that these are REAL disorders that need serious medical help.  Even your most crunchy alternative medicine loving naturopath visiting friend might concede that these people need some western medicine.

Brain disorders are just not allowed in this club.

We stand outside the clubhouse door rejected and belittled and small while the big kids yell “No wackos allowed!”

So we run away and hide.

Here is part of the problem…

People think they understand what it is like to have our illness because the language of it is very misleading.

While not everyone experiences the symptoms of the illnesses above…
Everyone has moods.  Everyone refers to their moods.  Everyone deals with their moods everyday.
Everyone has been in a bad mood, a good mood, a funky mood, a goofy mood, a strange mood, a sad mood.

Most everyone has used the word depressed at some point to describe a mood.  Whether they just use it in the regular course of the day or if they have experienced some serious situational depression.

Depressed is a very overused word.  People may use it to describe how they feel when their dog dies or how they feel when Starbucks runs out of Pumpkin Spice Latte mix.

Plus, lots of people equate the word depressed with sad.  And everybody has been sad.

Most people have at some point been unable to fall asleep.

Most people have been anxious about something.

Most people have not been able to quiet their minds.

Some people use the word manic to describe themselves when they feel excitable.

Some people use the word psycho to mean crazy in the colloquial sense.

Therefore people think (as people tend to do) that THEIR experience must be THE experience.

They have all felt these things and gotten over them.  And many of them probably had to work to get over their bad moods.

So see they are just like us, right?

Ha. yeah um NO

People like to help people and people like to talk about themselves and feel good about their accomplishments so naturally, they want to share with us what worked for THEM when THEY were SAD or ANXIOUS or WHATEVER.

And we’ve all heard them.  Everything from therapy to homeopathy to meditation to not eating grain to the old “You know I just choose to be happy.”

And when you try to convince them that you can’t and that it isn’t the same and that it won’t work and that you tried it already

It sounds like you are being a help resister
That you are being negative
That you just won’t try
That you don’t want to get better
Because obviously you could be better

You are just being a pain in the ass

Try telling an epileptic that they would stop having seizures if they just tried harder…

Just choose NOT to have seizures

Just commit to a yoga routine…

Have you tried a juice cleanse?
Nobody does because not everyone has experienced seizures and a seizure seems like such a huge medical problem that no one will deny that they need medical help and won’t dare give advice…

Our brains are messed up too!  We don’t have seizures we have these weird “moods” but they are not unlike the seizures.  Look at all of the anticonvulsants we are on.

They don’t get that what we are dealing with is more akin to those other illnesses and nothing at all like their own experiences of emotions and moods.

Bipolar is NOT happy one minute sad the next as is still very much the stereotype.

Our depression is not their depression.

Our moods are not their moods.

Our anxiety is not their anxiety.

Our racing thoughts or rumination are not their “can’t quiet their minds”

Our manic is not their excited

Our psycho is not their crazy

These are completely different things.

Not apples and oranges. More like apples and meteors

We have to share the words for OUR ILLNESS with the general population.  They are daily house hold words.  They don’t have a medical ring to them at all.

Really we need new words for these things

And some more understanding

but i just keep saying that!

It’s ok guys

We have our own club.


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  1. postcards2015

    From the article: “Our brains are messed up too! We don’t have seizures we have these weird ‘moods’ but they are not unlike the seizures. Look at all of the anticonvulsants we are on.” Over 20 years ago I came to this conclusion — that the uncontrollable rages I had before I started effective therapy and meds were like a seizure. A good friend of mine has a major seizure disorder called “complex partial” epilepsy, which nothing has been able to control adequately. I asked him if he was unconscious when he has seizures, and he agreed, Yes. In my bipolar case, I can “feel the rage coming on,” but I cannot stop it. It’s like a “rage attack” or “seized by rage.” It can last up to 6 hours, with the last couple of hours being severe depression and shame. Now, since I’m on medication, the rage sometimes takes the form of severe irritation. I don’t have rages anymore, thank heavens.


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