I am not ashamed. I am angry that she would think I should be though.
Have you ever seen anybody say that somebody should be ashamed for having cancer? What about a diabetes? Alzheimer’s? Thyroid disease?
How are any of these things different than being bipolar?
Alzheimer’s causes physical changes in the brain that the patient cannot control or take responsibility for. So does Bipolar.
Cancer can cause depression. It can cause physical and mental pain and distress. In severe forms, untreated cancer can threaten your Life. So can bipolar.
Diabetes requires careful daily management of symptoms with medication and doctor’s oversight. So does bipolar.
Thyroid disease is caused by malfunctions of chemicals inside the body that nobody really understands. All we know is that sometimes, certain meds work to treat this physical abnormality… Just like bipolar.
You wouldn’t stop in the middle of a disagreement to shame someone for needing insulin to survive.
You wouldn’t mock somebody with cancer and suggest that their tumor is a failure of moral fortitude.
You wouldn’t suggest that a person having to take thyroid medication is somehow inferior to you.
You wouldn’t blame them for their symptoms, even when severe, with Alzheimer’s.
Don’t think I don’t know that there is a stigma to my disease.
Don’t think that because I have a medical condition, that I have to take effort to overcome on a daily basis, that I can’t keep up.
Don’t think that my mind is weak, because sometimes it is sick, my IQ puts me in the top 2% of the population and I know it.
But most of all, I warn you, never, ever, think that you can whip out some aspect of my life, whether it be my mental health or the hell I have survived, and shame me with it.
I don’t shame easy.
In fact, I don’t shame at all.
I live in a glass house and I know it. So I keep my stones in my pocket. That is more than I can say for a lot of “sane” people that I know.
In fact, by my observation, healthy people, whole people, moral people, decent honest people… they don’t make efforts to bring others down.
In fact, I would humbly suggest that anybody who thinks that I am less because I fight and win a battle with mental illness every day of my life ought to buy a mirror, and spend some time with it.
Chances are, everybody reading this knows and loves somebody with mental illness.
At any given point in time we all have a choice. We can let the prejudice and ignorance of yesterday define the reactions of the hearts and minds of today, or we can do better than that. It is time to stand together and vow to keep our rocks in our pockets.
Everybody is different. I am. You are. This fact is not a weapon of shame. It is a gift of beauty.