Bipolar is terrifying.
I will be the first to admit that I didn’t really know the first thing about it. I only retained the minimum amount of information necessary to navigate the few people I had met with the disease.
I had a neighbour once who was bipolar. I was only eighteen but when I think back to how I viewed her after being let in on her condition… There’s some shame to it. I didn’t ever treat her differently, but in my own mind it was easy to write her off as crazy. And that’s a lot of the stigma right there. People who have bipolar are, at least, viewed as unstable or unpredictable.
And as with most mood disorders there’s a healthy helping of, “is it really a thing? I get Moody too.”
So…. I’ll start by simply saying that yes… Bipolar is real. Yes… Bipolar disorder does impact the mood and behaviour of the diagnosed individual. Yes… Bipolar can be challenging. At times debilitating. And yes, most of the time it requires a cooperative patient willing to adhere to a treatment plan long-term.
But it’s more than that. I’m astounded by the things I never gave any thought to. Of course when one is diagnosed with any disease or disorder it’s a good idea to spend a few hours in a good, hard study session.
A wise friend told me, while I was freaking out about this, “it could have been high blood pressure or diabetes. Instead it’s this. You didn’t choose it. You can’t will it away. It’s just a disease like any other.”
And that changed things for me.
I still took my time to get used to it before coming out of the bipolar closet. I’m still afraid that it will prevent people from trusting me or that it will encourage premature judgment of me as a person. But it’s worth the risk to have a chance at opening the eyes of others and breaking down the walls of preconceived notions.