More Worst Things to Say to a Person with Bipolar – Isn’t Everyone a Little Bipolar?
I’ve written a couple of posts on the worst things to say to a person with bipolar disorder and saying, “Isn’t everyone a little bipolar?” certainly ranks among the worst.
It’s so unbelievably dismissive and invalidating of a medical illness that I can barely fathom it. One very mature person on Facebook simply said, of this statement, “I guess our work fighting stigma isn’t done yet.” That’s an awfully gracious way of putting it.
Isn’t Everyone a Little Bipolar?
The answer to this question is “no.” No, no, no, no, no, a thousand times no. Seriously. To suggest that everyone is a little bit bipolar shows an absolute ignorance of bipolar disorder and of mental illness in general.
Yeah, Everyone is a Little Medically Ill
People have this ridiculous notion that being bipolar is about being “happy” and “sad” and about having “mood swings.” Yeah. Comparing bipolar moods to “happy” and “sad” is like comparing a sun to a flickering candle.
To be clear, depression is not “sadness.” Sadness is when you break up with your significant other – real and normal – depression is about destroying everything in your life including your will to breathe. It’s about painful, physical symptoms along with a persistent psychological reality that can drive people to death.
And mania (or hypomania) is not “happiness.” Mania is a state of such grandiose mood that it endangers the life of the person experiencing it or those around them. It destroys judgement and can induce psychosis. And happiness can be the furthest thing from a person’s mind if they find irritability to be the major feature where other people simply breathing air ticks you right off.
So, are people a little bit suicidal? Are people a little bit psychotic? No, they’re not. They’re normal people have normal experiences that vary within a normal range at normal intervals. Variance is normal. Illness is not.
What it Says to Someone with Bipolar When You Say “Everyone is a Bit Bipolar”
What is says is that bipolar isn’t real. It says bipolar isn’t that bad. It says that bipolar isn’t a serious illness.
Tell the families of all the people who have died from it.
Bipolar is Real
Bipolar is real. Bipolar is serious. And your average person has no idea what it’s like to live with this particular torture so stop comparing something you know nothing about.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.