Discounting Opinions of Those with Bipolar

Discounting Opinions of Those with Bipolar

December 2, 2015 Bipolar blog bipolar disorder

Do you ever feel like people discount your opinion because you have bipolar? Have you ever had the experience where someone simply steamrolls over what you’re saying because they feel it’s not important because you have bipolar? Once someone found out you had bipolar, did they suddenly decide what you said didn’t matter? Have you found that people discount opinions of those with bipolar?

Opinions and Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar have opinions, like everyone else, but sometimes opinions are discounted just because of bipolar. Why is this?I am the first to admit that bipolar can seep into every aspect on one’s life and this include one’s opinions. Yes, my thoughts can be affected by not only my bipolar mood but also by the experiences I’ve had because of the bipolar. For example, if I’m depressed, my opinions will often be bleak and self-deprecating because I’m feeling negative and self-hating thanks to my bipolar depression. But just because my words have been fundamentally shaped by my bipolar disorder, does that mean they should be discounted? Does this mean they have no validity?

Validating One’s Emotions

Because look, here’s the thing, every single person needs to have his or her emotions validated regardless as to how reasonable or unreasonable they are. For example, if a person is going through a divorce and feels that they will never love again, no matter how unreasonable that feeling might be, its realness to the person needs to be validated. “Yes, I hear you. I understand you feel that way today. That sounds very hard.”

Discounting Opinions of Those with Bipolar

And the same thing goes for the thoughts, feelings and opinions of those with bipolar. We’re like everyone else. We need to be validated both on an emotional level and on a personal one. When you discount our opinions, you are essentially discounting us. You are saying that because we are our bipolar, what we say means nothing. When, of course, we all know that we are people first and an illness second (or fourth or 22nd or what have you, depending on who you are).

So if you know someone with bipolar, or any mental illness, remember that our opinion counts just as much as yours does. True, you may not understand where we’re coming from – and that’s okay – but we still need you to pay attention to what we’re saying and not discount our opinions because of bipolar. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with us; it doesn’t mean that you have to get on board when our opinions truly don’t make sense; but it does mean that you have to give us the space to express our own reality – even if it is heavily influence by an illness.

Image by Flickr user Steven Shorrock.

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