You’re Doing It Wrong: Bipolar Disorder
Today I want to address some misinformation surrounding mental health in society. There are some words/phrases/diagnoses that are utilized incorrectly in everyday conversation.
Examples of use:
“Man you always pullin’ them crazy bipolar chicks.”
(I have to say it: what was their mother like? Sometimes people can’t live without dysfunction after growing up with it.)
“Chile he SNAPPED! I ain’t never seen him this mad! He must be bipolar!”
(Or maybe you’re not taking accountability for the level of disrespect you displayed toward him.)
Bipolar is actually Bipolar Disorder…a diagnosis. It exists when an individual inconsistently moves between a state of deep depression and a state of mania in a manner that they can’t control. Not when someone simply displays what is perceived to be “multiple personalities,” in reaction to you. There are 2 main subtypes of Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. The main difference is that Bipolar I is a more severe case of Bipolar Disorder than Bipolar II. Individuals diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder will experience a depressed phase no matter the form they have. With Bipolar I, the manic stage is more severe than with Bipolar II.
Too often the word bipolar is used to minimize someone in a moment of expressing their own lack of contentment (anger, hurt, frustration, etc). Instead of hearing them out or acknowledging their position, they are shut down by being called crazy. On the flip side, individuals that actually suffer from Bipolar Disorder tend to refrain from getting help due to the social stigma attached to the diagnosis. Bipolar Disorder is MUCH more than a mood swing. It is a transition from severe depression to the opposite pole of marked mania; excessive excitement, enthusiasm, or over activity. To give a good example, I worked in the intake department for a hospital that provided mental health and substance abuse services in Kentucky. I completed an assessment for a man diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I, that read about the hospital online and drove up…FROM TEXAS.
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