31 Days of Bipolar, Day 6: Misguided Help

What are the worst things someone can say to somebody who is bipolar?

Firstly, saying that they ARE Bipolar. We HAVE Bipolar. So the question itself is something done wrong. Do you say that someone is cancer, or someone is liver disease?

I am ME. I HAVE Bipolar.

Anyway, now that my mini-rant over the phrasing of the question is over… This is a difficult one to answer. What will be offensive to some, won’t be offensive to others. It’s best to just ask the person you know whether it’s ok to say something or not.

But personally?

I’m not bothered by people who say the obviously offensive things, about it being in my head and I need to get over it. I’m not friendly with anyone who would do that so it’s as meaningful to me as a stranger sending a nasty comment my way.

What’s worse is the people who think they know what’s best for you. A bit of misguided help, while not ideal, is understandable. But I know people who will persist even though I’ve explained to them that I’m on top of it.

The other thing that people can say that’s quite annoying is when they ask you if any little bad mood or late night is a new episode. Like, my nanna is a diabetic and she’ll have the occasional slice of cake or couple of chocolate biscuits but when she does, none of the family will say anything because we trust that she’s on top of it. I’d like to be afforded that same luxury.

I think the biggest mistake that people make when talking to someone with a mental illness, particularly Bipolar as when I told people I had anxiety I didn’t face this, is seeing them as an ill person afterwards.

Whether that means they think the person is all crazy and forget their positive traits, or the acknowledge that this person is well rounded but then focus on the illness, just about everyone I’ve talked to falls to this at varying degrees.

Just remember we’re still the same person we always were. And hopefully, we are in control and aware of our illness. While your support is invaluable, trying to control it for us will only make it worse.

I am Joy. I just also happen to have Bipolar.


Hey everyone, just letting you know that I won’t be posting over the weekend as I have a family retreat with no internet. Adios!

5 thoughts on “31 Days of Bipolar, Day 6: Misguided Help

  1. As a psychologist-suggesting to someone that a bipolar diagnosis could be useful is like lighting a fire cracker. How would you have liked some one to approach this with your??

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    1. I think the problem with that is that it feels like the person asking is devaluing all of the strife that the sufferer is going through. Yes, there could be a positive side but this illness is horrible and we want to feel like we’re allowed to hate it. If you wanted to have someone acknowledge the positive, I reckon you should let them know you understand that it sucks, and reason why it’s important to think positively. If someone said to me “I’m sorry you have to go through so much, but I don’t want to see you struggling so much. Is there anything positive about the illness you could think about when it gets hard?” I would feel validated, and it would leave the control with me while still getting the point across.

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