telling people that their bipolar is no different than diabetes
| Bipolar vs Diabetes?
Let me tell you that the comparison of bipolar to diabetes wears me out. When was the last time you heard of a diabetic attempting suicide, throwing themselves into promiscuous sex, wrecking their finances or alienating family and friends?
It is true that you can present a good argument that one should take the meds in the same manner you would in most any other malady but that is where it stops and it does an injustice to those of us who have bipolar disorder, particularly Type I like I have to suggest that “take your meds” is the answer to good mental health.
When your friends, family and acquaintances ponder your diabetes it is in the context that it is your problem and you need to clean up your diet and that will take care of it. Then they move on and don’t give it a second thought. When bipolar is the diagnosis it requires these same people to have a greater understanding of you and your behavior. Unlike diabetes bipolar can have catastrophic consequences for them as well as you and they would greatly benefit if they had the ability to recognize when the symptoms of this devastating disorder will invade their very existence.
Bad behavior is a driving force in the bipolar disorder because we develop various kinds of mechanisms to shield us from the injustices we perceive are happening or has happened to us. Long and expensive therapy is the answer to this component of the bipolar and access to that is virtually out reach for a great many. On the other hand insurance will gladly treat you for the ramifications of diabetes at any point in your life and they don’t monitor or care how you are handling it.
It is perfectly acceptable to bring up your diabetes in public. People will share with you the ins and outs of their disease if they have it. There is no stigma to diabetes but the topic of mental illness sucks the air out of the room.
The life sentence is that even if you take the best meds available, get the best therapy and follow the vast array of treatments you are still guaranteed that the balance can and will tip at any point and you will find yourself on that runaway train again and if you did your job some of the behavior modifications you have put into place will help steer you away from another train wreck.
I was diagnosed Bipolar Type I in 1986 but my first “break down” was in 1976 and I now believe that I was a juvenile bipolar. The authorities in my life at that time though labeled me as a bad child and as a result I was punished for “acting out” rather than given guidance and understanding..
For me it has been a long and difficult struggle on a path strewn with pain, anger, suicide and loneliness, a path rarely attributed to people diabetes and trust me people don’t look at me the same way when I mention that I am a bipolar like they do when I say I am a diabetic.
It is time for society to allow the same understanding and level of care for people of any kind of mental illness just as they do people with diabetes or any other disease.