Most will know what I’m getting at here, but for those still struggling, I’m naming those types who say they are Bipolar when they are clearly not. As the condition is associated with creativity,y and that it can have its wild side, it seems to have been ‘adopted’ by Rock Stars and Hollywood B-Lister’s desperate to get headlines.
For those who do have it, it’s irritating at best and downright insulting at worst. Unfortunately, there are other unwanted spin offs from this trend, and that is that this seeming respectability – by that I mean it’s become ‘an acceptable’ mental illness- leads to Doctors too readily diagnosing Bipolar at the first signs of mental issues. I’m coming across more and more people ‘who have it’ and though I cannot pull out stats, my gut tells me it’s nonsense. It was called Manic Depression until around 15 years ago but Bipolar it sounds rather better doesn’t it? When it was Manic Depression I didn’t notice that many Hollywood types coming out in great numbers then.
One might argue that it’s a good thing, in that it’s getting it out in the open, but I’m not so sure, and feel it demeans the absolute seriousness of the condition. I’m certainly not ashamed of the condition, but equally I don’t see it as a reason to shout out with joy from the rooftops. Suddenly it’s a subject on Homeland. It’s a great programme, but guess what ? yes, lets write a Bipolar part as that’s topical right now. Cynical? – I don’t think so. Yes, again one could argue it’s good to see it in the main stream. But I’m not sure the motivation for doing so is that noble or merely reflecting life as it is. In any event I can’t recognise myself in the behaviour of the Lady in question.
My point is perhaps best made by the film Mr Jones played by Richard Gere. It was for me a much better take on the illness. It came out in 1993 when Bipolar, as a name, was in its infancy as far as public recognition stood. And yet who remembers it?
Too often I keep coming across friends and acquaintances who say on hearing I’m Bipolar- ‘ooh yes my friend is Bipolar I reckon’. In other words people seem quite willing to attach the Bipolar label to someone through casual diagnosis just because they are bad tempered or whatever.
Not much we can do about it, other than to bleat away on occasion and live with it. As with all these things I have to switch off by finding something to smile about. So let me too be flippant! To plagiarise an old Smirnoff Ad that some may remember
‘I used to think Felatio was a part in Hamlet until I realised I was Bipolar.

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