This is not about stigma, but about owning your diagnosis: Your relation to the illness (which according to me is different than the stigma, which I define as the general point of view on mental health/bipolar). Owning my diagnosis is difficult for me though since I have problems accepting my illness for good. For some reason it has been easy enough to say ‘I am ill’ to myself but accepting that I can’t do everything due to my disorder, that is somehow hard for me.
So owning it: I know it is a little late to bring up Carrie Fisher, however, she said something brilliant. I read an article about her in which she said that if you can claim it (the disorder) you can own it. You see it in other cases like immigrant boys in Denmark reclaiming degrading names as their own and reclaim it in their external identity.
So I believe her – Carrie Fisher – when she say that it is better to own it that letting it stay in the destructive shadows. And is mental health concept of bipolar any different from other social concepts? I mean, it is still an idea with a word, connotation, and an ability to affect external identity – just like other markers of identity.
I try to claim my illness every time I tell about it. I try to be open about it and share. I try to believe and communicate that it is a disorder and not my personality. It is not my fault but all the stupid things I did, it was me doing it. I mean I did it, I was stupid, but there was a reason behind, which explains some of it. The disorder is my explanation but not my excuse – and it can never be. But at the end of the day I am not that good at separating me and the disorder as I want to be.
The disorder is very present on my mind, as you see, and it is partly because I just had a nine months depression and partly because I have had episodes overlapping each other the past years. It takes up a lot of room in my (due-to-depression-extremely-) limited mind. A lot.
Over and out.