To the 700 People Who Posted Hate Comments About My Bipolar Disorder
I have a certain expression ingrained in my head — the expression on someone’s face when I drop the news that I am, indeed, bipolar. It is as though I have just told someone I have committed a heinous crime, or perhaps done something even worse. It is a look that says, “I am so uncomfortable.” I am in no way saying this is everyone’s reaction, but it is certainly true more often than not.
In my life, I have lost many things to my bipolar disorder diagnosis. I have been stripped of fair treatment, relationships and countless opportunities. Many have chosen that they do not want to associate with me because of a diagnosis, and I know this is because of a stereotype portrayed in so many outlets. These losses have given me a great amount of pain, and so for myself and myself only, I decided I would begin to write. I simply started my blog as an outlet for my feelings. Writing is therapeutic for me and helps me more than I will ever be able to explain. Never in a million years did I think any of my writing would end up being published on massive forums or websites. But it did.
I refuse to say I am in any way upset that websites have chosen to share my writing. I feel so much privilege, to have been published among so many amazing souls who thrive every single day and continue to fight the massive war that is stigma. I will, however, admit that no matter how strong I am, reading over 700 comments fueled by hate does indeed hurt.
I am so incredibly proud that another popular outlet decided to publish my writing. It feels incredible that thousands have read my story, and the positive emails and messages which flooded my inbox meant more than anyone knows. Knowing I encouraged people to continue their battle with mental illness, or that maybe I changed one person’s opinion on bipolar disorder, makes it all worth it. With this being said, I was dragged through the mud online, when more than hundreds of people chose to express their hate for mental illness in messages personally attacking me.
Some of the most common and repeated messages suggested all bipolar individuals are dangerous and unworthy of love — that those with bipolar are not capable of being successful or holding relationships with family or lovers. Some people went as far as stating that those who are bipolar should not be allowed to have children for a variety of reasons. I almost fell out of my chair while reading that all bipolar women should be forced to have hysterectomies so they cannot reproduce and pass on the “horrific disease” that is bipolar. Oh, and of course it was added that, if the child did not have bipolar disorder, they would still be subject to the horrible mom I am bound to be.
The majority of comments on the outlet in question were negative in nature and attacked me personally through my bipolar diagnosis. People challenged me to create an account so we could exchange words and essentially fight in a comment forum. This, however, would be too time-consuming, as I am in fact a student, employee, friend, leader, daughter, sister and caregiver. I also have to worry about taking my dog for a walk; no, I do not live alone with 10 adopted cats — this was a repeated comment.
So, to the 700 people hiding behind pseudonyms online:
I would first like to say thank you; thank you for giving me a prime example of the stigma that exists with regards to bipolar disorder. Thank you for encouraging me and giving me a purpose. Thank you for giving me a great blog topic; I really do love this one.
I am going to address several of the bipolar disorder stereotypes you decided to discuss because you were the furthest thing from my reality.
To the many people who decided to write that I will never be able to attend school because I am bipolar:
I am a 4.0 student at university. I love school, and I thrive in school. School is currently my number one priority, and I plan on being a student for many more years. I am, in fact, going to have numerous degrees by the end of my academic career, and I do still plan on becoming a physician. No, being bipolar does not mean you are incapable of learning. I do just fine, and I handle my stressors well. I am so excited to further my education and continue to learn about topics I am so very passionate about.
To the people who stated that those who are bipolar are not capable of holding a job:
I have been working since I was 15. I am currently interning with a reputable organization, and I am responsible for important work that changes lives daily. I get myself out of bed every day, even on the not-so-great days. I work as hard as I possibly can for a cause that is very dear to my heart. If anything, my work is positively affected by my bipolar disorder because I have real-life experience with real-life problems.
To the hundreds of people who told me they would never allow me to date their son because I would probably max out his credit card, kill him in his sleep or sleep with 20 other men:
Your son would be so lucky to have a partner like me. I am caring and compassionate. I am going to be an amazing wife one day. Personally, I do not have a spending problem. I take medication every single day. No, I do not come off of my medication to experience mania for fun. I have never physically harmed someone. If you personally know me, you know I would never hit another human or involve myself in a physical altercation. I am about as soft as they come. I do not cheat on my partners. I have been cheated on and know how much it hurts. I value loyalty as much as the next person.
Finally, to the person who told me to enjoy my boxed wine, SSRIS and adopted cats because it is all I will ever have:
I am bipolar. I take mood stabilizers. Please educate yourself. I will probably have a few dogs, but no, not cats. And I love my boxed wine, so thank you for at least getting one fact correct.
As Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” I plan to continue to write blogs and spread awareness for those who live and thrive with bipolar disorder every single day. It is not easy, but it is doable. As I have said so many times, I will indeed be an amazing mother, wife, professional and friend. I am a good person, and I am a good person who is bipolar. I deserve as much as anyone else in this world, and I refuse to let a diagnosis define me or dictate how successful I will be in life. Continue to throw hate my way, because I will only continue to write. I am doing just fine, and I hope that you are too.
Follow this journey on the author’s blog.
Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash