It’s common practice in today’s society to use the term bipolar to describe everything from when a person changes their mind to the weather. Sadly, this overuse perpetuates a lot of misconceptions about bipolar disorder and mental health issues in general. For the 2.6% of Americans dealing with this condition, their experiences are authentic. Here are 5 things people with bipolar disorder want you to know.
One: Bipolar disorder is a legitimate condition, not a catchphrase.
Got a cat that’s purring one second, then biting you the other? BAM! Bipolar. Your mom got upset because you didn’t take the trash out after she asked 1.237 times? BAM! Bipolar. STOP. IT. It is offensive to the individuals living with this condition, but it also undermines its legitimacy. Ultimately, it causes delays in getting treatment and limits support resources.
Two: People with bipolar disorder don’t continuously bounce from one extreme to the other.
Individuals who have the subset bipolar disorder II don’t experience full manic episodes. Whereas bipolar disorder I includes episodes of both mania and depression.
Three: We can (and do!) live normal lives.
Bipolar disorder is very treatable, and symptoms can be managed with the right combination of medication, therapy, other interventions. It can be challenging, but many go on to live typical everyday, fulfilling lives.
Four: We want to talk to you about our condition.
Talking about it can help the people close to us to understand the disorder better. In turn, they can provide the support needed along the way. People with bipolar disorder know it’s difficult at times to be present for them-especially during episodes. Understanding how the condition affects your loved one can help.
Five: Bipolar disorder isn’t about lack of motivation and self-discipline.
If all it took was the right motivation and level of self-discipline to “snap out” of this condition, you better believe it would be so. Bipolar disorder is a medical condition resulting from chemical and structural brain changes. Though we are still learning more about the exact causes, like high blood pressure and other chronic conditions, it requires treatment to help manage symptoms.
You Can Help Change Future Treatment Options
There’s a lot of work still ahead in the fight to end the stigma and misconceptions around bipolar disorder. However, the more we talk about it, the truth will eventually win over everything else. While living with bipolar disorder may sometimes feel uncertain, you can play a direct role in helping to advance future treatment options. Clinical research volunteers are vital to improving medicine and the lives of individuals living with mental health conditions like bipolar disorder.