I wish I could put more expletives in the title and still have it be acceptable through common social distribution channels. Bipolar Disorder is a brutal mental illness that can result in suicides, deaths, destroyed quality of life, abuse, substance abuse, destroyed relationships, and so much more. What ingenious think-tank decided it was a good idea to promote a mental illness that regularly features delusion as a gift to be cherished!?
And why is it, that every time I see one of these pieces come out of some advocacy group, they always use the most well-adjusted and healthy looking people to promote it? The last one I saw featured an aesthetically pleasing woman with a gleaming white, broad smile. Nary a trace of coffee or cigarette stain to be found! You know what that makes me think? They hired an actress and gave her a script.
Why not show the OTHER faces of Bipolar Disorder? The mentally ill that end up homeless? The mentally ill that end up disconnected from reality and turning their families inside out? The people that cycle in and out of mental institutions or prison?
I suppose “mental illness can be hell” isn’t as great of a promotional point and slogan.
I have to wonder what demographic of people they are trying to reach with this narrative. The people who are not diagnosed? That can’t be right because they wouldn’t have the context to understand the message. The people who are diagnosed but not seeking help? I don’t know about you, but it was a rare time I would have considered Bipolar Disorder a gift when I was alternating between suicidal depression and hypomanic instability and rage. That doesn’t seem right either.
The only groups it seems to be relevant to are the people who trend towards euphoric escalations and the artsy types who view mania as their muse. Or, maybe, they simply chose that angle because it has such a dominant narrative in Bipolar communities and social media groups around the internet? I don’t know, but it’s an ignorant message that I believe alienates more people than draws them in.
Why not present a realistic message? Why not something like: “Hey, Bipolar Disorder is a brutal, difficult mental illness that can destroy your life. Seek help so you don’t wind up insane, homeless, and with a family that hates you by the time you’re 50, assuming you don’t kill yourself by then, because you didn’t do shit to try to control it.”
And I feel reasonably certain I’m going to get angry comments from people who experience euphoria about how it feels so great and is their muse and blah blah blah. Just because something feels great doesn’t mean it’s good for you. If you have anyone in your life that loves and cares about you, I would be willing to bet money they are scared shitless during euphoric escalations because who knows where the limit is at?
Mania as a muse? No. Mania is a creative crutch that far too many Bipolar artists milk as their “tragic gift”. You want to create interesting, inspired art? Practice. It is so very common for unstable Bipolar people to circulate lists of artists or other creators as personal validation. And it’s not.
Those people were not special because of their mental illness. Those people were special in spite of their mental illness.
Bipolar Disorder is not a gift. It’s a challenge that needs to be controlled and overcome. And the stakes are far, far higher than any of those idiotic campaigns ever insinuate. Be greater than the Disorder by working with your mental health professionals to combat it.
Don’t delude yourself into thinking that the pain and misery of this mental illness is a gift to be cherished. It’s fucking not.
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