Emery Lord won our MP! Book of the Year with ‘When We Collided’ and not just because of its beautifully raw and honest depiction of mental illness, but it does make a core component of the book.
If Vivi could jump out of the book and tell you some things about bipolar disorder, it might go a bit like this…
Firstly, we appreciate that everyone’s own experience with mental health and bipolar disorder will be different and incredibly individual. But there are some common myths that need to be debunked if we’re going to raise awareness and start making a difference.
1. Bipolar is not simply having mood swings. Not the kind we’re so quick to colloquially call ‘mood swings’.
Bipolar disorder is extreme shifts in mood, from high to low, for weeks, or even months, at a time. It can even include a mixed state. Not one person’s cycle is the same.
before u tweet "the weather is so bipolar!" this fall, is the weather:
-doing risky behaviors
— dwayne (@Daynaaaaaa_) October 21, 2016
2. Mania isn’t just a hyper happy fun time. Sure, the person may feel uplifted, energised and ready to take on the world, but what comes with that is a lessened sense of danger and often poor decision making. Impulse buying, taking unnecessary or even life threatening risks and alcohol/drug abusive are common signs someone is in ‘mania’.
Depression isn't a luxurious romantic affair
OCD isn't just the need to keep everything clean
Bipolar isn't mood swings
So on and so on
— GO AWAY MARCUS (@ayyemarcus) October 24, 2016
3. Bipolar is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can be helped by medication, but it is only “controlled” and not “cured”. It can have huge knock on effects for the body too the stress takes its toll.
— myselfandhealth (@myselfandhealth) October 23, 2016
4. People with bipolar disorder are not dangerous. There’s a terrible stigma on mental health and how if you have poor mental health you’re probably going to do harm or commit a crime. But realistically people suffering with bipolar are more of a danger to themselves than others.
— Bipolar UK (@BipolarUK) October 6, 2016
5. Having bipolar does mean you cannot be successful. There are many celebrities who have come out as bipolar. Including Demi Lovato, Catherine Zeta Jones, Stephen Fry and more:
Demi Lovato lives with bipolar disorder. Before every concert, she holds mental health workshops for fans. https://t.co/q8wwTSozMQ
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 27, 2016
Distorted realities have always been my cup of tea.
— Virginia Woolf (@woolfquotes) June 26, 2015
— Bethany Boo Corbin (@bethanyboo94) October 11, 2016
6. Bipolar is not always genetic. You can be predisposed to it, but you do not have to “inherit” it. Environmental factors such as seasonal changes in the weather, stress, sleep deprivation and pregnancy can trigger a cycle or episode.
7. Everyday can be made harder, but not impossible. Bipolar sufferers can still go to work, do the chores and have a generally “normal” day to day life. It’s about management and careful understanding.
“We’re not all misunderstood ax murderers or manic pixie dream girls. We’re your siblings, classmates, hell,… https://t.co/DQrkFvaT0m
— World Bipolar Day (@WorldBipolarDay) April 25, 2016
8. Not every bipolar sufferer is a creative genius or artistic legend. A large number of prolific and legendary creative types often have suffered some sort of mental illness. It can lead to increased productivity however and a quickening of thought.
Got an urge to fight bees to get honey? Maybe you're celebrating #WinnieThePooh or maybe you're feeling manic. Give us a ring 0333 323 4459
— Bipolar Youth (@BipolarUKyouth) October 14, 2016
9. Just because someone has bipolar doesn’t mean they’re ill all the time, or 100% stark raving bonkers. There are periods of “normality” that can last any amount of time between episodes. Also, it doesn’t mean that they can’t function or communicate “normally” while going through an episode.
"As psychiatrists, it scares us whenever we read the words bipolar in relation to mass shootings. It increases… https://t.co/RnNpEYWbpa
— World Bipolar Day (@WorldBipolarDay) June 16, 2016
10. Over half of those diagnosed with bipolar have attempted suicide. And 1/5 do so successfully. If you know someone with bipolar, don’t be afraid to check in and reach out. That doesn’t mean babysitting them, but just being aware and knowing that you are not to blame any more than they are for whatever the outcome is.
— Bipolar Youth (@BipolarUKyouth) October 4, 2016
11. When experiencing an episode, particularly of mania, people with bipolar have been found to struggle to recognise emotions on other people’s faces. This can make communication difficult. It can also lead to strange behaviour towards friends and family.
Bipolar isn’t scary if it’s diagnosed and treated. And just like Vivi in ‘When We Collided’ there are days that are up and down, and there are days that are up up UP and days that are right the way down down down. You can buy your copy of Emery Lord’s book right here.
Do you think its a good thing when celebrities come out and tell their fans about their mental health? Tell us in the comments below!
Visit MIND for more information about or help with mental health.
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