I don't blog because I'm looking for sympathy or pity. I'm not looking for "poor me". And when I talk about my son, his suicidal thoughts, his issues, my bipolar...I'm not necessarily looking for advice, but I am hoping that maybe my words will find someone else dealing with the same thing and maybe keep them from feeling so alone.
Unfortunately, the recent posts where I mention my son have become "controversial" in the tiny farming town in which I live. I realize that many people who grow up in towns where the cows and corn fields outnumber the residents have major misconceptions about depression, bipolar and most other mental "disabilities". Old fashioned values and beliefs are often more prevalent than modern research and science. I am by no means referring to everyone, but it has recently come to my attention that several fellow parents are offended by what I have written. Apparently, several have requested that their children no longer play with my son. While I only have a handful of facebook "friends" who have children in school with my son, I have a very good idea about who these people are. And quite honestly, they disgust me.
We live in America. It is 2011. Mental illness is not contagious, or any indicator of a child's behavior. His suicidal drawing will not doom their children. I'm sure that they would be amazed to learn that bipolar is not, in fact, caused by angry demons. It is caused by chemicals in the brain. It is not possible "to snap out of". More often than not, it will need to be treated with medication. It is not curable, but is most certainly controllable.
From http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/bipolar-depression/bipolar-disorder-misconceptions.aspx "Suresh Sureddi, MD,(is) an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and a director of Lifepath Systems, a community mental health clinic in Plano, Texas. Dr. Sureddi explains that it helps to remember that bipolar disorder is a chronic illness, like congestive heart failure or diabetes, which sometimes results in patients having to be hospitalized and needing ongoing treatment."
Bipolar is an illness and it absolutely does not define who you are. Misconceptions abound about about bipolar, and these misconceptions are far more harmful than people think. While they remain secure in their ignorance, they may be missing signs in their own children, or filling their children with hate and fear for those who think differently. Bipolar children and adults in general, are more creative and intelligent.
"I must admit that one of the reasons why I have specialized in bipolar disorder is because it seems like nearly every single person with bipolar disorder I see is unusually creative or intelligent or charismatic or something. Quite a few have been really profoundly intelligent to the point where I have trouble keeping up with their minds," Jim Phelps, M.D. Per http://www.psycheducation.org/BipolarMechanism/introduction.htm
The point? Read a book, do some research, know what you're talking about before you feel the need to judge.