What’s So Offensive about “I am Bipolar”?

This is a hot topic in our community.  I have wanted to write a post about it but I came across this article on the magical thing that is this Twitter and I thought…

oh good now I don’t have to do that.


I believe that part of the reason that

I AM Bipolar rubs us the wrong way is because

society views Bipolar as a




In a sense there is stigma attached to it.


People don’t really seem to flinch when they use other adjectives like

I am diabetic I am asthmatic etc

Those aren’t considered to be bad

Maybe because they aren’t considered to be a character defect by some.

And I don’t think the people who use the other terms

feel like in using them that they are saying that they are now

ALL asthmatic

that asthma is now who they are

nobody thinks it is

the asthma is just a physical illness

While I am the first to argue that Bipolar is not like the other illnesses…

that it confuses us about our identity

What is Me and What is The Bipolar

I also think it is important that we remember that

It is Our Brains that are Disordered Not ourSELVES


so perhaps We don’t like to say I AM Bipolar because of the stigma attached to it.

People are fine with saying “I AM diabetic” because there is no stigma attached to it.


Fuck that shit.


This is part of why I say

I AM Bipolar

though I do say both

because it IS both.

and I know that it is totally personal…..

but for me

I think that we need to stop being ashamed and start just saying and owning and disempowering this shit.



Gabe Howard goes through all of this and more and I am thankful to him for writing this.





Add Yours
  1. prideinmadness

    Yup! You got it! I identified very strongly with Borderline Personality Disorder and a lot of people don’t like it. I don’t see it as a bad thing but we’re told it is. I blogged about it recently and said similar things as you 🙂 I also don’t see myself as being sick or ill and that also makes people mad lol.


  2. mythoughts62

    I have often thought the same thing, but have never expressed it out loud. Still, I’ll probably keep saying “I have bipolar”, since it makes others happier and it’s easy to do.

    The really odd thing to me is that people have no trouble with “I’m a diabetic”, even though there is stigma involved, at least if you are overweight like me. People think you’re only diabetic because you are a lazy slob who doesn’t care about their health and who just doesn’t have the willpower to eat healthy, lose weight, and maybe not have to take diabetes meds anymore. I wish it were that easy, at least for those of us who take psych meds, I was never all that heavy before them.


  3. AndrewS

    After much semantic travail and ambivalence, Morgue inspired me a few days ago and I have settled on a term me like: Plague. Van Gogh felt he could have got a lot more work done without his “sickness”, and I feel the same way about Plague: it makes me lose days that should be given over too productive concentration. It exacerbates legitimate sadness into hysterical grief. It escalates free-wheeling energy streams into demented gaiety. So no more bipolar or illness for me. Just Plague. I am locked in a lifetime cage match with the fucker and we’ll see who wins. Optimistic today, at least. Woke with my boxing gloves on.


  4. carly456

    I switched from saying I am bipolar to I have bipolar very quickly once I saw tons of people saying ‘I have’ is better. But you know what, sometimes I am bipolar. So yeah. I don’t know. It’s weird how semantics are so important sometimes.


  5. lolabipola

    There is stigma attached to all illnesses / disorders, whether physical or mental. Its ridiculous, because really its all part of the human condition!

    While I am not comfortable having bipolar define me, I am also acutely aware that it really does, particularly when I am symptomatic. So for me, I have settled on “I have bipolar” when I am asymptomatic, and “I am bipolar” when I am in fact bipolar. As you all say, its purely semantic, and there is absolutely no right or wrong way to view it. If you are comfortable saying “I am bipolar” because it makes sense for you, then that’s how you should express it. Never allow the muggles who have no understanding of what you go through dictate how you view your life and your brain.

    I think people with bipolar rock. All the people I’ve met in this community are amazing, talented, and beautiful people. At the end of the day, we need people in this world to look past the disorder, and just see the person.


  6. darie73

    When I had my original Twitter account with a following I was called out for writing “I’m Bipolar”. Quite a few people came back with “You are not your disease, it doesn’t define you.” But the problem is, it does. No matter how much you don’t want it to and you fight it, it still does. My personality is effected by it, my moods, the way I eat and sleep. If that isn’t a big influence than what is it? Not everyone is like me and I’m not like everyone else. But I own it. I eventually closed that account because I couldn’t handle the constant negativity and pettiness. A Bipolar celebrity starts following you and the rest of the community is telling you that you sold out. TO WHAT? It was just way too much. I was having nightmares and starting to feel worse. I am what I am and I’ll call myself whatever I like. Who I may or may not know isn’t anyone’s business as far as I’m concerned. These are reasons Stigma and Hate against the Mental Health community continue, because we still argue from within. When we still make each other feel like shit how can we expect anyone else to treat us differently or understand. Sorry for venting.


  7. morgueticiaatoms

    I preferred back when it was just manic depression. People seemed to understand that term more clearly, even if they didn’t get the disorder. Bipolar seems to set off the same alarms as “violent psychotic” due to ignorance…I don’t like it.

    I am a manic depressive. But it’s not a flowery enough term for the new world psych order so I am stuck with bipolar and all its misconceptions.

    Thus I wear a pin on my jacket that says “tripolar.” People ask if that’s really a thing. Actually it was the title of a Sick Puppies album, but I do love to troll the McMuggles.


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