Things You Don't Know About Being Bipolar
Because I'm sick of explaining.
- •Not having health insurance isn't an optionMany of my friends complain about "Obamacare" and say the Affordable Health Care Act is "too expensive," so they choose to live without it. I know some coworkers who think they are so clever because when they have a cold they take DayQuil and stay in bed for a few days. Your lack of serious medical problems and the fact that your life does not depend on your access to expensive prescription medication is a luxury I will never experience. Keep it to yourself.
- •Being a flake is unforgivableYes, sometimes things come up. But I put in a concentrated effort to plan out my days, my hours, even my minutes. If I'm low I don't trust myself with free time, or if I'm manic I equally don't trust myself with free time. I always have to have a plan, and winging it last minute can overwhelm me and send me spiraling either high or low. Please don't be the reason I have to rearrange my headspace last minute. I might forgive you once, but not often.
- •Make plans during the dayMultiple studies have proven that people living with bipolar disorder function best when their bodies can follow a natural sleep schedule- when it gets dark, I wind down. Yes, clubbing is terribly fun and you all want to see the midnight showing of some new movie. But I work really hard to keep my body on schedule. Let's get brunch sometime instead.
- •"Crazy" and "Psycho" should be wiped from your vocabularyThey're both harmful, hurtful, and slurs I've had flung my way more times than I can count. Maybe you mean "unpredictable," "exciting," or "unexpected." Say so.
- •"Blah Blah is SO Bipolar!"Bipolar is a disease of the brain. There is no cure, only treatment. At certain points in our history, those with bipolar were exterminated or sterilized. Let me tell you right now, it's not a funny thing to call your friend who's on and off with her boyfriend.
- •You can't tell when I'm manic or lowIf you think I seem over excited or I'm talking too fast, and you tell me I'm manic, you've not only put me on the defensive, but you've ruined my high and sent me screeching down with no safety net. If I can't monitor my moods and I've lived with myself 24/7, you certainly can't. Stay in your lane.
- •Every mistake I make is not a consequence of my illnessWhile mental illness can affect all aspects of your life, some of my trials and personal faults have nothing to do with my illness. I can be grouchy, angry, rude, or obsessive just like you. Not everything is a symptom.