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Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Well I am. But it took a long time to get here. I was so scared to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. PTSD, fine. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), fine. But bipolar? Not fine. Even after the government put me on disability I still fought my therapist against the diagnosis.
Why exactly? Well I'm not sure since BPD is more stigmatized then Bipolar is, I mean there are not many therapists who refuse to treat someone for being bipolar like they do for BPD. I know many people with bipolar disorder and never thought anything bad about it, or so I thought. But when I was first told that I was bipolar I wasn't aware of ableism in the way I am now. At that time I knew I had PTSD, but that was something I could get over given time. It was something that I acquired because things had been done to me, admitting that I was bipolar meant admitting that I had something that I was born with, that I would have for the rest of my life. It scared me. It made me think I was broken.
But I progressed. I applied for disability and got it. I started taking meds for the first time ever. I admitted that maybe, just maybe I *did* have a disability and I needed help. After all this I still fought tooth and nail against being labelled bipolar. As an anti-ableism activist I shouldn't fall prey to thinking of one diagnosis as evil and the enemy, right? Apparently not. How is it that I could accept some diagnoses and not the other? I admitted I had a disability, why couldn't I admit that I was bipolar?
It was the stigma attached to it. The thought that this was not something done to me. (I believe that BPD is a severe form of PTSD and I believe it, at least in my case.) The thought that this will never go away, that I would be labelled this the rest of my life. There was no getting over bipolar disorder.
While I was fighting the stigma against mental illness I was letting the stigma against bipolar disorder hold me back from being treated. I'm finally doing better, in no small part due to my mood stabiliser. It's a godsend. Since I have stopped fighting and accepted that yes I am bipolar I have been able to see how I let society's views of mental illness affect how I was allowing myself to be treated.
The stigma infiltrates all of our thoughts, even those of us who are fighting against it.
Here's more info on stigma.
My post on BPD is here