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Dear New York State Board of Regents, 'Bipolar' Is Not an Adjective for Your Exam


Dear New York State Board of Regents,

Today I took the United States History exam. I was prepared for it and ready to succeed. I practiced each part of the exam including multiple choice, thematic essay, documents and document-based questions (DBQ).

I got to the multiple choice section, knowing most of the answers, and feeling confident and happy with how the test was made. The thematic essay was fair, too.

Then got to the documents section, specifically doc number five. It was about the Korean War and compared the two sides as a “bipolar struggle,” even giving the definition of “bipolar.” 

But “bipolar” isn’t a adjective.

It’s a mental illness that affects 2.5 percent of teens at one point in their lifetime. It’s a disorder that cripples my life daily and creates feelings I can’t explain. It’s not how you describe a struggle between two sides in a war.

Once I read the word, I froze — angered , offended and sickened. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I drew a circle around it and wrote, “bipolar is not a adjective.” I know an outside source produces the documents, but you decide the documents that go into the exam. You easily could have picked another document without that word.

My disorder is not an adjective, and I hope you learn that too. I am ashamed of you for not only myself but the whole mental health community. I hope you realize your actions have hurt me and will refrain from using mental illness as slang on future exams. 

Thank you,

An angered high schooler