My boyfriend and I had our first big fight this weekend. The fight ended with me telling him to leave my home. There were some apologies and we patched things up the next evening. You are probably wondering what the heck this has to do with mental illness. Go with me.
Our fight centered around something I would not tolerate, by anyone. When you have a mental illness sometimes people will say things that will upset you because of your illness and their ignorance. Be beautifully bipolar and don’t F-ing tolerate it! Although our fight had nothing to do with my health, I stood up. I literally got out of his car and went into my house. Sometimes you have to simply stand up and stand your ground.
I’ve written, a couple years ago now, on this blog about a situation in which I was around some strangers at a social event and they made rude comments about bipolar disorder and you know what I did? Absolutely nothing. I wish I had been brave enough to tell them that their remarks were rude and hurtful and told them something about what being beautifully bipolar was really like. It’s hard to stand up for yourself when you are mentally ill and stigma is swirling around your life.
But here’s the deal, honey, YOU have to stand up for YOU. It is no one else’s responsibility. You may have a partner or parent or caregiver who helps you out. If you do, that’s great, but still you are responsible for you. You are the one who has to keep appointments. You are the one who has to swallow your pills. You are the one who has to keep track of your moods on a chart. You are the one who has to be honest with your therapist. It is up to you.
And be brave. Be so brave. If someone makes an off-handed remark about mental illness, don’t fight them, but educate them. Stigma stems from ignorance. Stand up.
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