Category Archives for "Stigma"

Bipolar Makes People Perfect

bipolar person walking on water

Bipolar may be the fastest path to perfection known to man!

I noticed it when I was first diagnosed, but have been watching the phenomenon ever since. I have seen it happen in so many people that it might be true in three quarters of the cases. What is even more amazing is how fast it happens. Bipolar may be the fastest path to perfection known to man!

I have been working on more thorough assessment programs for my new book and think that I have found a breakthrough. Through the assessments I have it traced to the exact moment that it happens. I wonder if you can help me verify my research with your own experiences and share your ideas on how to improve upon it?

As soon as we are diagnosed, everyone else becomes perfect! All of their flaws are instantly wiped clean and every relationship problem is blamed on our illness. Now that we are deemed crazy, our behaviors are purely a result of our illness and have nothing to do with the behaviors of those around us. Has this happened to you too?

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It Gets Better: Ending The Stigma Of Bipolar Mental Illness

Ending Stigma

My most recent article about fighting stigma challenged the ending stigma campaigns that are so in vogue in the bipolar community. It generated much interest and several thoughtful comments. One particular comment, appropriately titled “Perpetuation of stigma” was a perfect example of what I talked about in the article. As I crafted my response I came to realize it is deserving of its own article. Here is the comment in italics along with my response:

Perpetuation of stigma

Hate to call you out on this Tom… You are right on with the argument for ignorance.. I do feel if people where truly educated there would be no “stigma.” The one thing I do have a problem with is being called a “bipolar”… When teaching public speaking I always try to emphasize that you are not your illness… While I also suffer from fibromyalgia, I am not one… Doesn’t make sense.. Please don’t take this as confrontational as it’s not meant to be. It’s just an observation of perpetuation.
Thanks for all you do,

Hi Michael,

I have heard the “I am not bipolar, I have bipolar” argument for years and completely disagree with it. When I hear someone say he “has bipolar” it sounds to me like he sees it as an illness to be ashamed of. I am not my illness because I am not ill. I had disordered reactions before I fully understood who I am, but I now have my life “in order.” Calling bipolar an illness is one of the reasons for writing the article about stigma in the first place.Continue reading

Are You Fighting Stigma Or Causing It?

Fighting Stigma

Individuals and organizations throughout the world are dedicated to the important work of fighting stigma that affects people with depression and bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, too many of them are replacing one type of stigma with another type that is making the situation worse. While advocating for others to stop judging those who suffer from the conditions, they are causing a self-stigma that increases and prolongs the suffering.

My friend Andy Behrman says, “If we want to eradicate stigma, we must first understand what stigma is: ignorance, fear & discrimination.” Of the hundreds of statements about stigma, this one captures it the best for me. Everything else is an offshoot of these three core problems.

There is certainly an incredible amount of ignorance surrounding depression and bipolar disorder. Even if we were able to clear up the many misperceptions about either condition, there is so much more we need to know to fully understand them. Depression and bipolar disorder affect every part of our lives (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and career/financial) and most people are aware of only a fraction of any of the parts.Continue reading