This, my 100th blog is a response to "Living with Bipolar Disorder - An Alternative Perspective" found as a comment to my Suicide post. While I agree, to a point, with the anti-society sentiment I feel this guy is way off base when it comes to bipolar.
First, the author claims to be self-healed from ADD/ADHD, meaning "I'm fine with me" I accept me totally. I see what my true qualities are and what my emotional reactions are. I no longer have a "self-image", positive or negative. I am no longer trying to fit in, but seeking ways to express myself through my talents." To me that is merely reaching the level of self acceptance needed to survive, mentally ill or not. He does have one thing right, living with bipolar is not a picnic, at all.
The question really isn't "Why can't I just be me?" the question is "Why do I, and everyone around me, have to weather the ups and downs of my bipolar?" Bipolar isn't a matter of fitting into society or not, it is a matter of the mental torment one has to live with. This torment doesn't really stop when we're on an even keel, like I am now, it just hides until a day when you're least expecting it. Anyone that's accepted living with the disease accepts the fact that it's difficult to fit into society. I'm sure it's difficult for normal people too.
Intelligent people in general would rather be left alone to our own devices than be molded into something we're not. Yes that makes us "rebellious" in the eyes of society, but that's just the way things are.
The negative side of bipolar is NOT "a reaction to the social rejection and the tension of not being able to simply live authentically." Repressed tension is not why we lash out. Typically the lashing out is during the aggressive manic stage or depression, or as with the case with me, when you take us out of the high manic state. Nothing pisses me off more than someone pissing in my Wheaties. Not only is lashing out not socially acceptable, it is hard on everyone around us to deal with. Yes, it is as simple as a mood swing. Our mood switches and we get irritable and lash out at any stupid little thing that bothers us, like leaving the toilet seat up. Depending on how bad the rage is, it can be an expensive endeavor as well. Fixing holes in the wall sucks, just so you know.
I don't always have a negative self image. Sometimes I'm manic and think I'm the hottest piece of ass on Earth and more intelligent than Einstein. The negative self image comes in with the depression cycle. The only thing society has to do with it is I get paranoid and think the world is out to get me, but that's not really a societal issue.
No, the majority of society doesn't understand bipolar, nor do they care to. They don't understand what it's like to go from depressed to manic to depressed to manic to depressed to manic in a matter of a day. They don't know what it's like to be suicidal one minute and chipper the next. Labeling bipolar medically is not an attempt to pigeonhole anything into a mental prison of self-loathing. Our mind does that to ourselves well before any trip to the doctor, psych or any diagnosis. Again, this has nothing to do with rejection by society... it has to do with a biological and chemical imbalance in our brain. It isn't because of the hurt caused by societal rejection that our symptoms show up, it is because of our malfunctioning brain.
The bipolar mind's burden is far from an inferiority complex given by society. The disease is not an illusion, it is really a pain in the ass. Yes it comes with gifts such as higher creativity, yes society seems to frown upon it (as do teachers in elementary and high school *coughcough McFee and Wigger), but therapy and medication are essentials in living with this disease. If it weren't for therapy and medication I would have killed myself long ago. At my worst I was a cutter. It had nothing to do with society, it had to do with personal problems I was facing at the time. Put simply, life is definitely hell without the medication and therapy.
Society really is not a facade. Whether we like it or not we have to try to deal with it on a daily basis. That doesn't necessarily mean we have to fit in, we just have to be able to co-exist. While I agree that not being normal is part of the disease, there is a point where it becomes life threatening if not kept on top of.
To be mentally ill means we have more responsibilities to ourselves and to society. Just reread - Being Responsibly Mentally Ill or Being a Responsible Lunatic for my personal beliefs on responsibility.