Archives for Stigma
If you have bipolar disorder, you've probably had the pleasure (cough, cough) of dealing with people who feel the need to tell you the "truth" about your illness. You know who I'm talking about—those who do not live with bipolar disorder, yet have a great deal of advice on how you should approach it. Some of the opinions I have heard from people that don't live with bipolar disorder include: Your symptoms aren't necessarily bipolar disorder; everyone goes through mood swings, lack of energy, etc. You don't need medication to stay well and/or you won't need to be on medication for the rest of your life. Your illness is not as bad as you make it out to be. You don't have to think about your bipolar disorder that frequently. Bipolar disorder is not a real medical illness. However, people who have real experience with bipolar, including consumers, doctors, and therapists, find it the illness extremely valid, hard to treat, and chronic and lifelong in nature.
I used to come home after high school and watch an adoption show. Parents-to-be tell their story of how they tried for years to get pregnant to no avail, and now, finally, they are adopting a child. This is the story I always hear: A couple cannot have children physically, so they adopt. Is adoption an option for women with bipolar disorder?
I was at a Halloween party last week, mingling with the women faction. A mother was discussing her suspicion that her teenage son has autism spectrum disorder. “My relative, who is a school counselor, told me to avoid a diagnosis.” The school counselor’s opinion is simple—if he is not diagnosed, he will not be limited in life. It really got me thinking. How true is that statement? There are, generally speaking, two camps—one that believes a diagnosis will drive treatment and overall wellness, and another that believes that a diagnosis hinders opportunity.
On my website Kat Galaxy Blog,I publish a monthly poll about topics and issues surrounding bipolar disorder and mental health. The June Poll of the Month asked readers, “Would you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?” This is no Gallup Poll, but the readers that responded consider themselves primarily introverted—about 82% of respondents (so far). I created this poll because I consider myself an introvert. I was curious to see how many around me with bipolar also saw themselves this way. What Is Introversion? It’s a deeper distinction than shy vs. outgoing. The term’s roots are in Jungian psychology, which views introverts as more naturally oriented on their inner world, as opposed to an extrovert, who is more focused on the outside world.
Five or six years ago, when I was newly diagnosed, I had nothing positive to say about bipolar disorder. It takes a while to see the good in having a chronic illness. Recently, I've reflected on how bipolar has molded me into the person I am today—in a good way.
One of the greatest ways to fight stigma is to teach our loved ones about bipolar disorder’s biological basis. Some people do not know that bipolar disorder is truly a medical illness that has been documented in imaging studies. I continue to research medical evidence behind the illness to help explain bipolar to the people in my life, because overall, it makes my condition more concrete and understandable. Did you know that these parts of our neuroanatomy and biochemistry have been linked to bipolar disorder?
Every weekday evening, Americans tune into NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams in search of a well-informed perspective on the world’s top stories. If you don’t think you know which Brian Williams I’m talking about—no, you do. If you watch television, you see him all the time. He has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Unfortunately, last Thursday night, Williams made a mistake on the air and proved that he is just as inexperienced and uninformed as the average Joe when he talks about mental illness.
The downward spiral of Amanda Bynes’s life and health has become a media frenzy. The 27-year-old comedian and actress is currently hospitalized and on a psychiatric hold. Today, she appealed her mandatory 14-day hospitalization in Ventura, California and will be seen by a judge this week. Last week, she was detained by police after setting a fire in a neighborhood driveway.
Before summer comes to a close, I would like to share part two of two of my summer reading suggestions for those that are interested in reading about bipolar disorder. These books, and the books in part one of my summer suggestions, are interesting and educating views about bipolar disorder, from fiction to nonfiction to self-help. Finish out the summer with one of these books and let me know what you think of the book you read!