9 Things People With Bipolar Disorder Wish You Knew

2. Wanting to talk openly about our mental illness is not attention-seeking.

Not only does this mindset force people with mental illness to internalize when they are struggling, but it makes them feel invalid when they do bring up their illness. I have always been fairly open when it comes to discussing my mental illness with friends and family, but nevertheless I often struggle with this idea that if I talk about my symptoms people will think I am only doing so in an attempt to garner sympathy, when in fact I am merely talking about what is going on in my life. It just so happens that what is going on in my life at the moment is a total brain cluster fuck.

I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously, even (and perhaps especially) if you are mentally ill. Finding the occasional humor in having bipolar disorder is a pretty effective coping mechanism; without it you are signing on for a miserable existence if all you focus on are the negative aspects of the disorder, of which there are many. I am not oblivious to the fact that my jokes about having bipolar disorder sometimes make others uncomfortable, but to be honest I can’t say that I care. Laughing at the stupid shit I do keeps me sane. (Relatively.)

3. Having bipolar disorder is more complex than mood swings.

Bipolar disorder is probably one of the most oversimplified mental illnesses, with many people believing that it is nothing more than mood swings on steroids. While vacillating between extreme highs and lows is one of the defining symptoms of bipolar disorder, this is not the only — or even the most debilitating — symptom.

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