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It Is A Real Illness

Sometimes people don’t understand; maybe you don’t understand. Sometimes people see mental illness as a character flaw or an attitude problem or something that is “all in his or her head.” To be fair, there is something to be said for that last comment – it is in a person’s head, in their brain.

My grandmother is in her early 80s and, God bless her, she just doesn’t understand bipolar disorder. During a trip to visit her, a trip during which I was in a mixed state, I, as a rapid cycler, was cycling throughout the day. Up. Down. Up. Down. I could feel every swing and it was terrible because with each elation I knew would come a crash. And it did. She would get annoyed with me that my mood was “down.” At one point I simply put it as it is: I have a mood disorder. My mood is disordered. It is an illness. I am sick and I can’t help it.

Not everyone is going to understand. You have to learn to be okay with that. You have to learn to understand ignorance but NOT accept it. It may take you some time to understand and accept it yourself, but know it is a real illness. It is not made up or a character flaw or a bad personality trait.

It Is A Real Illness

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2016). It Is A Real Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Nov 2016
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