As someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I take a bit of medication to stabilize my manic-depressive episodes. Naturally, one of these medications is an antipsychotic.
If I tell someone that I’m taking an antipsychotic then they’ll think that, well, I’m a complete psycho. Maybe that’s just me who believes that immediate judgement by others though I highly doubt it.
There’s still this stigma about taking medication, even antidepressants despite the fact that it’s quite common. I sadly know too many people who refuse to take medication because of the fear of negative societal reactions. Hey, I’m not going to lie; I was one of those people who were too afraid. My symptoms began when I was twelve and I refused to take any kind of medication, or receive any type of help, until I was eighteen. Six years isn’t that long if you compare it to others.
This just goes back to the stigma of mental illness in general. If you have depression, you’re just gonna have to get over it; if you have an anxiety disorder, you’re just overreacting; if you have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, you’re crazy and dangerous; and etc. There are just so many in this world that I can’t address all in one post.
All of this negativity towards and misunderstanding of mental illness is making matters worse for all those people who actually suffer from one (or more). From my perspective, it’s keeping those who need help from seeking out to get it because of what others may think of them. But leaving a mental illness untreated, especially the more severe ones, is quite dangerous.
Like I mentioned, I had that same fear. I still do actually… I constantly have to listen to people around me use the term “bipolar” negatively and proceed to laugh about how it’s contagious. You cannot catch a mental illness. It’s not like a contagious disease. If so, then you’ve pretty much caught it just by being in my general vicinity. That’s a little dark humor for you.
But it’s not just strangers who make me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes my friends, no matter how close they are, give me unnecessary anxiety about my condition. I’ve never had an actual conversation with any of them about it, though I know that some of them are aware. At the same time I know it’s a difficult topic to bring up and I haven’t really done so either. That’s why I prefer to be alone.
In short, having a mental illness doesn’t make a person “dangerous” nor does taking daily medications label someone as “insane”… Whatever that means, right? According to the subtitle of this blog, the definition is quite relative. It just so happens that not many people know that.
I hate the fact that I feel the need to hide a part of me. I know I’m not my illness, but it is very much a part of who I am. It’s a part of me that I had no choice in and I don’t want to be alienated because of it. I normally don’t mind how people see me, but I do care about how they treat me. I’m just a regular person who happens to need a bit of help to swing by.
Is that so wrong?