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bipolar myth

Beyond Limitations: Saving the World and Ruling the Galaxy with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Myths Dispelled

Greetings once again, friends and fellow freaks!Bookmak this mental health article

I like that sentence. I`ve always been fond of alliteration. For those not familiar with the term, alliteration is a literary device which means “the repetition of consonants.” Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. That’s heavy alliteration. I know because I take writing seriously. Probably a little too seriously.

I use apostrophes when I text; capitalize proper nouns on my grocery list; and edit my Facebook posts for style, usage, and clarity. I craft each and every thing that I write very carefully, so that each time I write anything, I get better at it.

OK. I’m gonna go ahead and brag. I’m a pretty damn good writer. It took Stephen King eight years to sell his first story. Me? It only took me ONE. Now… I’m nowhere near as rich or successful as he is—yet—but because I AM a good writer, I thought this would be the perfect way to segue into another myth.

Bipolar Myth #4 – People with bipolar disorder are limited.

Mentally IllThere are times when bipolar disorder can be crippling. There are days when I’m too depressed to write anything, but it isn’t always like that. Keep in mind, bipolar disorder has an upside, too.

That’s another literary device: the pun. 😉

People with bipolar disorder aren’t always depressed. When we’re on the upswing, we’re filled with boundless energy. We need less sleep. We can accomplish a great deal of work. Ideas come whizzing into our heads at the speed of light. We can be sharp, witty, and very charismatic.

Speaking of both charisma and light speed… know who else is bipolar? Actress Carrie Fisher. That’s right. PRINCESS LEIA IS BIPOLAR. Bipolar disorder doesn’t seem to limit her, does it? She’s an American icon! And she’s not the only one.

Linda Hamilton? Yup. Earth is safe from Terminator robots thanks to this bipolar actress.

Richard Dreyfuss? Jaws, American Graffiti, Close Encounters, Academy Awards = YES. Limited = NO.

It’s not just actors, either. Congressman Pat Kennedy, artist Jackson Pollock, and singer Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots are also bipolar. There are so many success stories that I could fill DOZENS of articles just listing them all. If you want to know more, Google “famous bipolar people.” You might also want to grab a cup of coffee. You’ll be reading for a while.

And if you want to read something written BY someone with bipolar disorder aside from me, you might be reading for a very, very long time. In Kay Redfield Jameson’s book Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, you’ll find a list of authors and poets believed to have been bipolar. Want to know who’s on it? Take a college literature class. Pretty much anyone your teacher assigns you to read. That’s who’s on it.

And by the way, it’s not Ms. Kay Redfield Jameson, it’s Dr. Kay Redfield Jameson. She’s a clinical psychologist, so she probably knows what she’s talking about. Guess what? She’s also bipolar. Run for the hills, folks! The loonies have taken over the bin!

People with bipolar disorder can achieve great things, so please don’t make it harder for us by discriminating against us. You hurt us AND you hurt yourselves by not taking advantage of the enormous amounts of talent and drive many of us possess. Also, you might piss off Linda Hamilton. She kicked the Terminator’s butt, ya know.

Be nice, or Linda will find you.

Keep fighting!

-Bruce Anderson

Read more from Bruce Anderson: (A brilliant bipolar article writer)

Words as Weapons – and Another Bipolar Myth Dispelled

Welcome back to the loony bin, my fellow freaks!

Before I get back to dispelling myths about bipolar disorder, I want to talk a little about words. As a writer, words are my bread and butter. Language can be powerful. It doesn’t just help us define reality, it shapes it. Just ask Pluto. Poor little Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. Why? Because we SAY it isn’t.

Wacko. Nutcase. Lunatic. Psycho. Freak.

Those words can be very powerful when used with evil intent. Some of you reading this might be offended by me referring to people who suffer from bipolar disorder with those sort of words. I can understand. Those words can really, really hurt. Especially Cheroceewhen they come from a “friend.” Trust me. I know. Keep in mind that I’m not just talking about people with bipolar disorder. I AM one of those people.

Just as words can make meaning, they can be made meaningless. It depends on two things: the person who’s saying them and his or her intent. Let me give you an example.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time indoors. I’m 1/8th Cherokee, so I WOULD tan well if I saw the sun more often than I do. The rest of my ancestry is European. Basically, my skin is as white as the driven snow. Now I’m going to say a word and then dive for cover.

Nigger.

Man… I feel crappy even typing that. That word was used by white people to oppress black people for a very long time. My people used that word like a weapon, and boy was it an effective one. It was the neutron bomb of the English language for very long time. That word was used to cause shame, which is why I feel ashamed just saying it once.

However, the N-word (sorry… I can’t bring myself to type it again) is only a weapon when it’s used like one. Watch any movie, go to any club, walk down any street and you’ll hear black people saying it to one another, joking around, even using it like a term of endearment. It’s OK for them to say it because they ARE black. Not only that, but they aren’t saying it with the intent to harm.

For me to say it? Not really OK. I can probably get away with it this one time because my INTENT is not to harm, but to help. Or at least I’m hoping I can. If not, please accept my sincerest apology.

Being bipolar, the nature of our illness ensures that we’re a sensitive bunch, but let’s try not to be too sensitive about words. They can only harm us if we let them. Let’s start with the one I hate the most:

Freak.

Freak freak freak freak FREAK FREAK FREAK!!!

If I say that word out loud, over and over, it starts to sound like a nonsense word, something I just made up. The more I use it, the less it means. The less it means the less power it has over me.

Try it for yourself. Pick the one word you hate the most and say it over and over. Make that word just as dead as the not-a-planet Pluto - not a planetPluto. Just don’t forget that your word isn’t dead to everyone. If that word bothers someone else, don’t say it around them. It’s all about kindness, folks. It’s that simple.

Well, once again, I’m over word count. And I haven’t even mentioned one myth, but I may have just dispelled one.

Bipolar Myth #3 – Being bipolar makes you a bad person.

I’m bipolar. If I was a bad person, would I go through as much effort as I have to avoid offending the black community? I hate the N-word as much as I hate “freak.” I hate ANY word used to make someone else feel like a second-class citizen.

There are people out there who are scared of people with bipolar disorder because of the actions of a few select individuals. Yes, there are some people with bipolarity who really are mean, vicious people who are dangerous to others. But there are many more people like that who DON’T have bipolar disorder.

Bipolar ImageMost of us are just like you. Some of us, and I’m not naming names here, are sensitive, loving fathers who try not to let their daughters see them cry during Disney movies.

OK. It’s me. I do that. Pathetic, right? Well… this whole article has been about freeing yourself from shame, so I might as well come out of the closet. Disney movies make me cry sometimes. That fact may actually make me a freak. Having bipolar disorder, however, doesn’t.

Until next time, my fellow freaks… keep fighting!

-Bruce Anderson

Click the link to read more from Bruce Anderson: How I Became the  Freak in the Corner