When My Coworker Asked If I Was Going to Bring a Gun to Work

“Should I be worried that you’re going to bring a gun here and shoot me?”

Those were the words my coworker used when I revealed to him I have bipolar disorder. This was the first time I was rendered speechless by someone’s response to my mental illness. It was also the first time I realized there are actually people who make grand assumptions about people who live with mental illness.

Unfortunately, gun violence is a huge issue in the United States. Every day, people are murdered by another person using a gun. It seems like every week there’s yet another “mass” shooting. And sometimes, people make comments about the shooter, saying he or she must have a mental illness.

I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder for 12 years. Before and since my diagnosis, I have never been violent towards another person, even when my symptoms were at their most severe.

The truth is, I still kiss my mom. I cry at TV commercials about the Humane Society.  I Snapchat silly pictures to my niece and nephew. I dance in the car with my sister. I send my dad “I love you” texts with too many heart emojis. I make funny faces at random kids to see them smile. I send my Grandma flowers just because.

So to my coworker: No, I will never bring a gun to work. I will never be violent towards you or hurt you in anyway. You can’t make assumptions about people based on their illnesses. I’m too busy sending silly Snapchats and dancing in the car, anyway.

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