Bipolar – A Diagnosis, Not an Adjective

The stigma against mental illness has been around for many decades. Is now the era in which society will finally combat it? Image Credits: Institute for Work and Health

The stigma against mental illness has been around for many decades. Is now the era in which society will finally combat it? Image Credits: Institute for Work and Health

Renee Bakare

Mental illness, a term frequently used in jest and for dramatic purposes. What people do not seem to understand is that mental illness is something to be afraid of while also being something to be cautious about. Across the globe, there has currently been a surge of awareness amongst millennials and generation Z about the stigma surrounding mental illness, but older, more influential generations have not experienced this realization. As long as the generations commonly known as Baby Boomers and Gen X remain unaware, then the future of humanity’s mental health will most likely continue to deteriorate rapidly.

A mental illness commonly looked down upon is Bipolar Disorder. More than three million cases are diagnosed per year in the United States, with thousands more being left unchecked. Also known as  Manic-Depressive Illness, this disorder results in extreme mood swings ranging from mania, emotional highs, to depression, emotional lows. A manic episode can result in poor decision making, an erratic or scattered mood, and feeling overly confident or self-assured. In opposition to a manic episode, a depressive episode can prompt suicidal thoughts, feeling fatigued or unhappy, and weight loss and/or weight gain. Many who struggle with Bipolar Disorder also have health conditions such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, ADHD, and alcohol or drug problems. Common physical conditions that also correlate with Bipolar Disorder include heart disease, obesity, headaches, and thyroid problems. 

Nevertheless, Bipolar Disorder is far from the only mental illness humanity struggles with. Statistics show that one in five adults in the United States suffers from a mental illness each year. Not only that, one in twenty-five of these adults experience a debilitating mental illness every year. It is also commonly understood that minorities and LGBTQ+ members are more likely to experience some sort of mental disorder in their lifetime than caucasian or straight cisgender people.                      

Recently, Kanye West, a celebrity who has been open about his struggle with Bipolar Disorder, has been in the spotlight after a series of alarming tweets. Many people have been making light of the situation by laughing at his expense or by claiming he is crazy.

Photo Credits: Medium

 However, Kanye West is not “crazy”, he is simply someone burdened with the effects of a mental illness. Those without the condition cannot fathom its true effects on an individual and by making callous remarks, they only show how unaccepting the world can be. It is well known that Kanye does not take his medication to treat his disorder, but that should not allow others to ridicule him as a result.

Photo Credits: Input

The effects of bipolar medications can influence everyone differently and some do choose to forgo it. In the end, no one can force another to undergo procedures or consume medicines that they do not want, no matter how close of a relationship they have. 

The hatred must stop. The ridicule and disgust must stop. There are thousands of issues going on across the globe that must stop. While this undertaking is no small feat, it is by no means unattainable. By bringing awareness to Bipolar Disorder, hopefully the full spectrum of mental illnesses will become recognized, but that can not be done by only one person. It is up to the entirety of humanity to bring upon change into the world, and this generation will be the one to produce that change.

 

Mental Health By the Numbers

 

Works Cited

 

Bipolar disorder. (2018, January 31). Retrieved August 27, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955

“I was diagnosed with bipolar depression. Is LATUDA an option for me?” (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2020, from https://www.latuda.com/bpd/about-latuda.html?utm_medium=SEM

“Mental Health By the Numbers.” NAMI, www.nami.org/mhstats.