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The Weather Isn’t ‘Bipolar’ and Other Things You Should Know

I’ve been trying to hold this complaint in for years but I can no longer do so. I am also airing this grievance in this space because I would hope that as parents or soon to be parents, many of you would want for your children to treat others with respect and not go around insulting others on social media sites, correct?

So, here goes.

Can we please, please, PLEASE stop throwing around the word ‘bipolar’? The weather is not bipolar. Mother Nature is not bipolar. I’m pretty sure your blender isn’t bipolar and neither is your car. An inanimate object working and then not working doesn’t make it bipolar, it makes that object broken. Hell, I am quite positive we can extend not using the word ‘bipolar’ to your hamster who is most likely just being a freaking hamster. Not something with a severe mental illness.

My complaint isn’t just because of admitted watching of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, where Phaedra Parks continues to refer to Kenya Moore as bipolar and helpfully suggests that Lithium would do her some good. It’s far more than that, as I often see people on Twitter referring to the weather as bipolar simply because it was cloudy and raining and now it’s sunny. That is not a mental illness that renders the sufferer with manic episodes that can manifest as severe anger or anxiety. It’s an air mass and the angle of the sun that is to blame.

Being so flippant about an illness that can be so detrimental to those afflicted, takes away from the severity of bipolar disorder in addition to perpetuating the stigma related to mental illness. Mental illness can change the course of one’s life.
Mental illness can make it difficult to work or have ‘normal’ relationships.
Mental illness can bring waves of debilitating depression.
Mental illness can cause death.
Mental illness is serious and should be treated as such.

Now, why am I so up in arms about how others view bipolar disorder and other psychiatric issues? Because I have bipolar disorder. So, stop treating it all so casually or at least try. For me.

 

Keep the conversation going with Heather Barmore at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue, Twitter and Facebook.

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