Bipolar disorder is a genetic medical condition. People with it experience cycles ranging from being depressed with low energy to hyperactive or manic. According to TheMighty.com, “about 5.7 million adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder, but the illness is often misunderstood.”
Here are 12 things you should never say to someone with bipolar disorder:
1) Are you bipolar?
People are not bipolar disorder. They have bipolar disorder.
2) You’re crazy.
First of all, it’s rude. Second of all, it's not true. Don’t say anything similar to this to someone who has bipolar disorder.
3) I have mood swings too.
At times, everyone can experience a mood swing wrote Bipolar.About.com, but “only people with bipolar disorder, have repeated and severe mood swings between mania or hypomania and depression.”
4) Do you think I might have it?
There is no diagnostic test for bipolar disorder stated The Guardian.com. A diagnosis often depends on observation. If you are concerned that you may have bipolar disorder, see your doctor. Don't burden your friend with a question they can't answer, and that is all about you and not showing consideration for them.
5) I wish I was manic so I could be more productive.
Mania is so much more than getting things done. People who have bipolar disorder suffer highs and lows to the extreme.
“I wish more people understood the physical toll managing this disease takes. It’s not just side effects from medications — it’s also the sheer exhaustion from adrenaline rushes, fatigue from depression, etc.” Toni Jacobs Burke told the International Bipolar Foundation, as reported by TheMighty.com.
6) You're just overreacting.
Overreacting is a symptom of bipolar disorder, explained Bipolar.About.com. But when someone with bipolar disorder is overreacting, they can’t simply take a deep breath and stop.
7) Did you ever try to kill yourself?
This is just plain cruel. This is a very personal and sensitive subject. Don’t ask someone this.
8) What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
Even when well-meant, this can sound like a dismissive platitude. It can be true that difficult situations make some people thrive in the aftermath. However it’s not something you want to say to “someone with an illness where 20 percent of patients attempt suicide,” said Bipolar.About.com.
9) I feel bad for you.
People with bipolar disorder may feel bad for themselves too.
“When I’m manic, I can be extremely paranoid, hard to understand and anxious. I take risks I shouldn’t take. I have no sense of empathy for those around me.” Emmaleah Brooklynn Alkire told the International Bipolar Foundation, as reported by TheMighty.com.
10) Are you cured?
There is no cure. Unfortunately bipolar disorder lasts a lifetime. Typically people who have it are able to maintain stability through healthy living and medication.
11) But you seem so normal.
This is hurtful in so many ways. Imagine saying that to someone with cancer or diabetes.
12) Have you taken your medication?
Don't reduce a human being to a science equation. “Just because I’m having a bad day doesn’t mean I didn’t take my medicine.” Sarah Howerton Kakkuri told the International Bipolar Foundation as reported by TheMighty.com.
Remember these 12 things the next time you’re talking to someone with bipolar disorder.
"45 Truths People With Bipolar Disorder Wish Others Understood." The Mighty. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.
Bledsoe, PhD, Andrea. "Bipolar Disorder - What to Say, What Not to Say." EverydayHealth.com. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.
Parkinson, Hannah Jane. "10 Things You Should Never Say to Someone with Bipolar Disorder." TheGuardan.com. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.
Purse, Marcia. "10 Things Not to Say to Someone With Bipolar Disorder." About.com Health. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.
Reviewed November 20, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith