One of my biggest struggles in life is all the emotional ups-and-downs I go through. We all have our ups. We all have our downs. And for me, those two things are extreme opposites. I haven’t shared this with my readers before, but I am bipolar… manic-depressive, not CRAZY… which is the common misperception of the public. Some days I have amazing awareness, non-stop energy, I am a superhero who doesn’t need to sleep for days and I become a whirlwind house wizard in addition to the fact that I can do all and be all to myself and everyone around me. Life is awesome, exciting and fun. That is mania.
I wrote that on my December third, 2014, blog post First I’m Up Then I’m Down… Who am I? When I wrote that post I wanted to reach out to my fellow bloggers, my readers, and hopefully future fans and tell them something more about myself. Not because I was looking for pity but because I was looking for understanding, fellowship and to bring awareness to Bipolar Disorder. I want people to understand that when I am walking down the street and overhear someone replace the word “crazy” for “Bipolar” it is not only offensive, it is inaccurate. Those two words are not synonyms for one another, they do not mean the same thing whatsoever.
Bipolar, previously known as Manic-depressive disorder, is a hereditary chemical imbalance within the brain which manifests itself with very specific symptoms and behaviors, whereas “crazy” is a generic term that is used with derogatory sentiment. It is the modern adjective that has replaced “deranged” and “lunatic” of yesteryear as those words are “too insensitive” and yet crazy is not? There are no specific symptoms or causes for “crazy” as the term itself signifies indescribable behaviors without known reason or cause.
Bipolar people are not deranged. We are not lunatics. Crazy does not describe us or our behaviors, even in the sense that bipolar is a spectrum disorder (meaning each individual has a different degree of severity). However, I would say that nearly every single person on the planet, without their knowledge, knows or has known and interacts with bipolar individuals. We are not uncommon. We are not deranged. We are men and women and sometimes even children. We date, marry, procreate, have jobs and own homes. Basically, we look just like you. However, chemical imbalances create extreme mood swings and changes in behavior making what to most would be described as mundane habits, nearly impossible to achieve.
Educate yourself before you speak in derogatory terms. Would you call a person having a stroke, “crazy”? How about a person with a “migraine”? Or cancer? What about a person in the midst of a nosebleed, are they crazy? Please consider the people around you when you are talking. You do not know the life they lead, the invisible struggles they face day-to-day to simply live. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be patient. We are your family, your co-workers, your neighbors, and your friends. Please stop judging others who are not exactly like you, because no one is or ever will be exactly like you. We are all unique. We are all special. We all live, breathe, struggle and die. And that, my friends, is life. And it is beautiful.
If you or someone you love suffers from a mental illness and you blog about it, join me in taking the following pledge and let’s educate, bring awareness, understanding, and compassion into the world and eliminate fear of the mentally ill.
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”
Get the word out about the mental illness impacting your world, join me now at The Official Blog For Mental Health Project.