Am I Bipolar? The Answer May Surprise You.


Right off the bat, let me answer with a defiant ‘NO’ (but read on please!). I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am an aunt. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a Dallas Cowboys fan! I am many other labels, with some that aren’t very complimentary in my opinion! However, there is one particular label that I refuse to accept. In fact, it tends to make my blood start to boil. I am NOT mentally ill (keep reading!).


Yes, I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 and generalized anxiety disorders in 2007. Yes, I work hard everyday to manage life to some degree of my own defined success. And yes, there is rarely a time when I am not aware of how my actions, thoughts, and words affect me and others because of my bipolar and anxiety disorders.


I still refuse the label. But, it isn’t because I deny the illness. Instead, I try to embrace it. So, my point? Consider this:


I am a home. I have a home.


See the difference? I have mental illness. Mental illness doesn’t define me. I am more than my mental illness. It plays but a portion of what I am as a whole, just like a home is only part of what makes you up as a whole. I don’t think this way because I minimize mental illness nor its role in making my life a challenge. I think this way because I refuse to be just my illness. I instead, demand that I accept it as only one part of me.


Dealing with mental illness is difficult. I struggle with it on a daily basis. Many times, the victories seem small and the failures huge. Still, I count my blessings. I try and think carefully before anything. I am compassionate. I am patient. I always endeavor to be mild and kind. I appreciate simple joys. I am thankful for every breath I take. Those are all positive blessings. I feel blogging for you is another one, and I hope it adds something positive to your life, also. I plan to share my story and thoughts, help educate us, try to erase negative opinions, and more.


So, for today, I leave you with a few other labels I cherish. I am a survivor. I am a warrior. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am loved. So are you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of Bipolar Winds and thank you for reading.

7 thoughts on “Am I Bipolar? The Answer May Surprise You.

  1. I have mixed feelings about the label. First, people who call themselves bipolar are trying to forge a sense of shared identity. It is their way of saying “I am not alone in this”. However, we come to some other issues: One of them is the question of whether it makes people feel like victims. I am not so sure that this is always the case or even the majority of cases. For most people, it is a simple acknowledgement of their illness, shorthand. Seizing on the term is like the Society of Friends seizing on the word “Quakers” (which was originally a term of approbation) to describe themselves. It is taking ownership of the word and the condition it represents.

    Therapists tell their clients not to do this, but I haven’t seen any clinical studies showing that it is a bad thing. There have been people who have claimed that having a negative view about having cancer means worse outcomes, but studies have shown that this is not the case. I strongly suspect that people who call themselves bipolar work just as hard as managing their illness as those who don’t.

    But there is an aspect that disturbs me deeply. The term has come to be used as an abuse. “Oh she is so bipolar,” we hear. I often confront people who use the word as an insult. It is my illness, pure and simple.

    Still, when I identify myself in my support groups, I call myself a person living with bipolar. It opens up a broader umbrella that can not only include those who suffer from the disease but also those who live with people who have the disorder.

    • I think I trained myself to say ‘I have bipolar 2 and anxiety’ because of how the word ‘bipolar’ is stigmatized by society. I read a lot and I see it and other labels used so much in books, as well as movies, TV, radio and such. I am sure people really don’t mean harm by it most of the time, but mental illness faces so many challenges besides living with and managing it. I recently read a report of a study that indicated that although awareness of mental illness has increased in the last decade, so has the stigma against it. Part of me wants to believe it is a natural progression of our culture accepting it. You know, kind of like the saying that it is always darkest before dawn. I hope talking about mental illness productively and with the intent to educate will lessen the stigma over time. I am just sometimes frustrated with how long it is seeming to take!

      Thank you for your comments Joel. Comments from readers are always lovely to read!

  2. Thought provoking! Your “I am a house. I have a house” comparison really defines the misunderstanding most people share! Bipolar is just a part of the whole!

    • Absolutely Jeri! I have also heard, ‘I am a cheeseburger. I have a cheeseburger.’ That one makes me laugh for some reason!

      I am so glad to have you read my blog, as well as comment! I hope to see more from you in the future.

  3. You raise a very interesting point, and I love your outlook on the disorder Laura. 🙂 I’ve come to accept BP as a part of who I am, but definitely don’t let it define me as who I am. At times it can be such a large part of what you’re going through, it can be easy to lose sight of this. That being said, I will admit I will plainly say I’m bipolar, as I don’t overthink the terminology from day to day. >.>

    Referring to Joel’s comment, it makes my blood boil when someone uses the term bipolar as an abuse. It branches pure and simply from those ignorant of what we have to go through every day, and I do wish more people were educated as to just WHAT they were saying. But am a realist and don’t see this going away any time soon. I would speak up, but I keep my disorder to myself due to the stigma. Maybe on here I can find a way to reach some people in some shape or form without having to risk my social and career life in the process.

    • I always replied the same way, ‘I’m bipolar’. After I heard the home comparison, I decided to train myself to reply differently

      It is sad isn’t it William, that sometimes it is in our best interest to remain quiet due to stigma? I hope that changes over time. I had to discuss having bipolar disorder with my most recent employer due to a relapse. I was forced to cancel the first meeting because I had an anxiety attack. I was really worried what the reaction would be. Fortunately, my employer was understanding and continued to support me. I felt like it could have easily gone the other way.

      Thank you for your compliment! And thanks so much for reading! I love comments! Write on!

Comments are closed.