10 'Harmless' Comments People Make About Mania That Actually Hurt
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Written by Felix Kalvesmaki
Living with bipolar disorder has its trials and tribulations, and one of them is having to listen to people besides your doctor chime in on your mental health. Purposefully or not, people make insensitive comments about mania all the time. It doesn’t have to be something horribly mean, like calling someone “crazy” or anything of the sort. It can be something simple and, from their perspective, “harmless.”
But these comments do a lot more harm than they do good, if they do any good at all. They can reinforce more stigma about mania, or even spread misinformation about an already misunderstood mental illness. In spirit of this, we asked our community to share some “harmless” comments people make about mania that really hurt, and why. By having open conversations about mania, we can lessen the stigma.
Here’s what our community had to say:
1. “I wish I had that much energy. I’d get so much more accomplished!”
“No. It is horrible going through this. Not sleeping is unhealthy and it’s overwhelming to feel constantly restless. You get nothing accomplished because you’re so scatterbrained you can’t focus on anything. Trust me, you don’t want any of this. Mania isn’t always ‘being on top of the world’ for everyone.” — Sami S.
2. “It’s all in your head, you’re just overthinking everything.”
“It hurt to know that someone close to me didn’t believe I was actually sick.” — Carly A.
3. “I question whether your doctor diagnosed you correctly. I’ve met bipolar people before and you are not like them at all.”
“People don’t seem to understand that you can have more than one diagnosis and that just because one person is one way and bipolar doesn’t mean I am going to be like that person because I am bipolar. Each person is unique and that means that each person’s symptoms of the disorder are going to be different.” — Candace T.
4. “It’s so good to see you so happy! You must be so much better!”
“No, not when I want to jump off a building to see if I can fly.” — Anna S.
5. “You’re very wound up.”
“I’ve always been very aware of when I’m not acting like my stable self. I wish people could find a softer way of pointing out that I’m ‘wound up.’” — Vanessa L.
6. “I like you more when you’re manic.”
“Mania isn’t me. They’re basically saying, ‘I like your disorder more than I like you.’” — Summer F.
7. “Well, at least you’ll lose some weight!”
“I hadn’t slept for three days and had eaten [a lot of] calories during that time. My exercise-obsessed manic ass didn’t need to hear that, and I was off to [another] workout of the day.” — Emily H.
8. “I wish I could experience mania, just once, it sounds fun.”
“No. You don’t. Mania is not fun. Mania is one of the most destructive forces there is. Can it feel great? Sure. It can also feel dark, angry, suffocating, terrifying, suppressive and cold. I may feel invincible, I very well may be the most amazingly bright and amazing person you’ve ever seen when I’m manic. But you don’t see the crash. You don’t see the aftermath. You don’t see the result of spending sprees, unpaid bills (I’ll get to it later! Clearly these $400 pants are more important!), deterioration of my own health due to the belief that I can live on nothing but stardust and cigarettes, lost jobs, lost apartments, lost friends… don’t tell me my mania sounds fun. Bipolar disorder has been my hell, and mania is just one of the inner circles.” — Jordan R.
“They seem to see the depression part well enough, but when mania hits, they think I’m just inventing all my symptoms of mania and that I’m being ‘impossible’ on purpose.” — Stella R.
10. “‘You’re way more fun when you’re like this.”
“I spend a lot of my time non-manic missing my mania, but as soon as it hits, I remember why it is so detrimental to my health. It hurts a lot when friends prefer the energetic, impulsive, out of control version of me over me normally. It takes a lot for me to remember how bad mania is, and comments like that only reinforce it.” — Sara G.
Hurtful comments can definitely feel degrading or insensitive, but try not to let them throw you off of your balance. You’re the one living with your mental illness, not anyone else, and you know yourself better than anyone else. Don’t let comments like these tell you how you should live with your mania, your symptoms and your mental illness.
What “harmless” comments about mania that actually hurt have you heard? Let us know in the comments.