My Biggest ‘Pet Peeves’ About Living With Bipolar Disorder

Kendra Fagerberg | msn

Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had.

Not only am I trying to learn how this mental illness affects me, I am also burdened with how it affects others. And boy, do I have some pet peeves surrounding that.

My biggest pet peeve is when people group everyone with a mental illness into one big blob and generalize that we are all “crazy and unstable.” Someone you wouldn’t want to leave your child with. Someone you’re frightened to be around.

My pet peeve is the negative connotations of bipolar disorder or any mental illness. I can try and try again to teach people about my disorder and be an example that not all people dealing with disorders and illnesses are less than “normal” people. But, it doesn’t always make sense to everyone. I want to open people’s eyes to the fact that everyone is deserving of love.

While there are some people who are willing to read up on your mental illness, open their eyes to a world they never thought existed and adapt to what it means to be you, there are also people who are set in stone and nothing will change their mind that we are scary, unlovable and a lost cause. None of that is true. We are not scary, definitely worthy of love and have a reason for being here. It breaks my heart when people dehumanize individuals struggling from any sort of illness.

I can see it in their eyes that they pity me, my story and everything I’m going through. I don’t want to be looked down upon, I want to see the same compassion you would give to someone not living with bipolar disorder. We are no different. We are humans just as anyone else on this planet, and all I’m asking is to be treated as such. I do not want to be ashamed of my bipolar disorder. I want to be strong and confident when I tell someone about my mental health and not worry about how they’ll take it and how differently they’ll treat me after.

I cringe at the pet peeve I have of the stigma around asking questions. Asking questions, even if I’m the one too afraid to ask. I want people to want to ask me questions to better understand me. I want it to be OK that I still have questions about what I’m going through and to know that learning is still a part of the process, and that’s OK.

I don’t want to be so nervous about asking questions about my disorder, as if I’m supposed to know everything about it myself. I am still to this day anxious to ask:

Will this affect my work? How will my friends react? How much of my medications and therapy sessions are covered by my insurance? Will I have to take this medication for the rest of my life? Will my symptoms get worse with age? Will this ever go away? Are the side effects of my medication worse than the symptoms of my condition?

The list of questions goes on and on. Even though some of my pet peeves are unavoidable, I can still hope things will change and be one more reason why we can turn these grievances around and make a positive outcome out of it.

While I can’t change these pet peeves, I can try and adjust how these situations affect me and how I react. Even though I won’t ever be able to escape all of my pet peeves, what I can do is rationalize why I am feeling that way. I can ask myself who it is benefiting from my negative emotions, and center myself around the fact not everyone wants to challenge the way they think; which I have no control over.

Whatever your biggest pet peeve is surrounding your mental illness, address it and try to focus on not letting it bug you as much as you normally would.

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