Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by an elevated mood and a sense of euphoria called mania, followed by a depressive mood. Mania and depression are the two states of bipolar disorder. However, what we don’t talk about is that in between the states, there is a baseline of stability. Sometimes people with bipolar disorder cycle through many and depression rapidly. However, many people with bipolar disorder experience a baseline of level mood. Otherwise, they would not be able to survive. Here are some common misconceptions about bipolar disorder and how we can fight against stigmatizing those with the condition.
People with bipolar disorder are mentally unstable
Individuals with bipolar disorder fluctuate between highs and lows. That does not mean that they are mentally unstable or “crazy “ A person with bipolar disorder has a chemical imbalance in their brain that causes them to act erratically at times. When an individual is experiencing mania, they feel like they’re on top of the world. They may engage in reckless driving, promiscuity, or unprotected sexual activity. They may compulsively spend money or have impulsive decisions. Mania can be a quite dangerous state.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t make a person mentally unstable. It makes them subject to a mental health condition in which they have symptoms that are problematic to their life. Characterizing somebody as “mentally unstable” does not help them gain control of their life or treatment plan. It’s essential to have compassion for those people who have bipolar disorder and their struggle. After the high of mania, they go into a low depression where they have difficulty coping with their daily life. Once again, that does not make them mentally unstable. Depression can be debilitating. It can be hard to get out of bed or do simple things like shower. That doesn’t make a person crazy. It makes them human.
Those with bipolar disorder aren’t violent
There is a stigma around bipolar disorder, assuming that those people with the condition are violent. This misconception comes from the sometimes volatile moods of those that have the condition. Sometimes people with bipolar disorder have instances where they feel out of control with their emotions. They may feel angry when they’re in what’s called a mixed state. Unlike mania and depression, a mixed state in bipolar disorder combines two. They feel manic as well as experiencing depressive symptoms. That can make a person irritable or angry. Not everybody with bipolar disorder acts violently when they’re angry. Some people may have anger issues in which they get physically aggressive. But that does not mean every person with bipolar disorder has these problems. It’s important not to generalize in terms of how somebody with bipolar manages their feelings. Just like anybody else, you could have a great deal of difficulty with anger issues, or you could have challenges with anger but not be able to control it.
People with bipolar disorder cannot hold a job
Another common misconception about those with bipolar disorder is that they are incapable of holding a regular job. This is simply not the case. People with bipolar disorder can see a therapist, go on medication for the condition and hold a job just like anybody else. It’s a matter of sticking with your treatment plan, being open about what’s going on with your episodes of mania and depression, and taking care of yourself. Self-care is an essential part of bipolar disorder, and if you can manage taking care of yourself and understand your triggers, you can absolutely hold a job, maintain a career and support yourself.
People with bipolar disorder are unreliable friends
Some people assume that those with bipolar disorder are unreliable or selfish. That is not the case. Many times people who have the condition are very empathetic because they understand what it’s like to struggle. It comes down to a matter of self-awareness. Anybody can be selfish. It doesn’t matter if you have bipolar disorder or do not struggle with a severe mental health condition. But those who have bipolar understand what it’s like to have mental health challenges, and they could be a devoted friend. The more self-aware you are, the better you can support others. And if you take care of yourself and put your needs first, you are better able to be a good friend. It doesn’t matter what mental health condition you have; you are capable of supporting your friends if you take care of yourself first.
Talking about bipolar disorder and therapy
Living with bipolar disorder can be challenging. You can speak about it with a licensed therapist. Online therapy is an ideal place to discuss any of your mental health challenges. You can see an online counselor in many areas, including BetterHelp. BetterHelp.com is dedicated to helping people as you work through any mental health issues you have. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. It’s essential to work through any mental health concerns so that you can live a good quality of life no matter what your issues are.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.