Is Being Bipolar Fashionable?

Is Being Bipolar Fashionable?

I have heard that being bipolar is “fashionable.” I have heard that “all the kids are doing it.” I have heard that it’s a fashionable, fad diagnosis. I have heard that some even want to be called bipolar because of its association with creativity. But, seriously, is this a real thing? Is it fashionable to be bipolar?

Is Being Gay In Fashion, Too?

This notion is very similar to the idea that it’s “fashionable” to be gay. Somehow there is this idea that youth are all desiring to be gay or bisexual and that it’s somehow trendy. Now, I am not a youth, but I am a bisexual, and at no time did I feel like I had graduated to a runway walk.

And this is because many people don’t like bisexuals (or gays, in general). Many people don’t trust us. Many people think we’re just “experimenting.” Many people think we just want to “pass” for straight. Many people think that we’re not capable of commitment. Many people think we just can’t accept that we’re really gay. Many people think that bisexuality doesn’t even exist. And so on and so on. It’s not a thing to want to be because if you are, you’ll quickly see the downsides.

The Fashionability of Bipolar Disorder

Some have suggested that bipolar is a fashionable diagnosis. But why? Is it really fashionable to be bipolar?And the same thing goes for bipolar disorder. Again, I’m not a youth so I can’t say “what they’re all doing” but I can say that having bipolar disorder is not fashionable as it has considerably more downsides than wearing a Marchesa gown.

Of course, there are all the downsides of having bipolar disorder: the bipolar mood episodes, the suicidal ideation, the medication, the psychiatric appointments and so on.

But even if you just called yourself bipolar you would find there would be quite the number of downsides. Suddenly, you would find that you would be treated differently. Suddenly, you would find that many people would be scared of you, not trust you, worry that you would be unpredictable, discount your opinion and in many other ways shun you.

Being bipolar is the furthest thing from “fashionable.” Being “fashionable” is a goal (for some), being bipolar, certainly is not.

Why Do People Say It’s Fashionable to Be Bipolar?

I think by saying that bipolar disorder is a “fashionable” illness or diagnosis, it’s just another way of discounting us and what we really go through. If a diagnosis is just “fashionable” then it isn’t real, it doesn’t have impact and people don’t have to take it seriously.

But we, people with bipolar disorder, know differently. Most of us would give our eye teeth just to experience a life without bipolar disorder. If this is a fashion choice, I’ll happily put myself on the worst dressed list every day for the rest of my life.

My point here is that no one would dare say that a cancer diagnosis is “fashionable.” No one would dare make light of cancer patients’ suffering or the devastation of that illness, but people feel just fine doing it with a mental illness. We can’t allow this. We need to remind people what serious mental illness is and that not only can it ruin your life, but it can actually take it, just like cancer can.

Being “fashionable” is a lighthearted thing that only a few, very silly, people care about. Having bipolar disorder is a serious thing that requires medical care. Let’s not conflate the two, okay?

Note: I used the term “being bipolar” in this piece purposefully. Yes, I get that so many of you have issues with it. I don’t.


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.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.

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