I came across a situation in which someone is having issues with somebody else, whom she termed “a bully.” An adult bully, to be more exact. She then discovered that, ironically, this bully runs his own group, in which he portrays himself as a “peace guru.”
Yes, strange situation, but what saddened me was a reply she got from another person: “Must be bipolar.” As if it is that simple. As if everyone who acts one way in front of one set of people but different to another must be bipolar. As if it is simply a descriptive term, one to be use flippantly, rather than an actual illness.
It is a known fact that mental illness in our world is still largely misunderstood. Part of that unfortunate situation is due to how much we have yet to discover about the brain itself. Another is how many communities, for their own various reasons, reject even the idea of mental illness. Sometimes people have a difficult time grasping the concept of mental illness and simply cannot comprehend it in its entirety. Still others are simply unwilling to learn. And then there are those who do know but don’t care.
Whichever of the above is true about the person that made such a careless comment, one thing is certain: a lack of education regarding illness, in general, but mental illness, specifically, is terribly apparent.
There are, also, the additional repercussions of being so careless about using an actual illness as simply another adjective. The consequences do not stop at the mentally ill community and their doctors’ being offended or upset. It further perpetuates the misunderstandings of mental illnesses of all kinds. It encourages people to remain ignorant of something quite real. It furthers the worlds’ idea that mentally ill people are all unstable or to be feared. And, yes, it harms the psyche of those who deal with these types of obstacles on a day-to-day basis.
We need more research, resources, and education when it comes to mental illnesses and coming alongside those who deal with them. Those struggling with mental illness, diagnosed or otherwise, do not need misunderstanding and judgment. We, as a community, need the exact opposite: we need people who will link arms with us and support us. To be better, we all need to do better.
Alyssa is an author trying to break into the field, but willing to go where God wants her to with her writing. She writes Young Adult Christian novels in an effort to bring the truth back into the lives of young people in which it is often so severely lacking.
She has overcome 13 brain surgeries, 4 spinal cord surgeries, and countless others since 2009 alone, and battles two organic brain issues, a traumatic brain injury (TBI), Bipolar II, two different anxiety disorders, and more mental illnesses. Her goal is to reach others with the Gospel and what God’s taught her through her ailments.
Alyssa lives in Central Florida with her husband, part-time daughter (a blessing that came with marriage!), and three fur babies.
Check out Alyssa’s blog: http://teacupsandpaperroses.wordpress.com/
And check out her author Facebook page: http://facebook.com/teacupsandpaperroses