I was under a lot of stress before I got bipolar. The symptoms were flaring up and I constantly felt the pressure of a monster I had no name for. Then, in an odd kind of way, I was relieved to learn that bipolar was behind all this boiling water I often found myself in.
I thought the boiling pot was gone. But I was faced with another problem partly from myself and partly from others. I started to think I was stupid and crazy. I remember there were others who saw me the same way. The challenge was to not believe this nonsense
But it is not as easy as it sounds because this myth is hard to debunk. You will often believe it and not even know that this conviction is shaping your thoughts and actions.
You or someone could have a view that bipolars are crazy. You never cared to question or apply this belief because it was just something you picked up from your surroundings and wasn’t relevant to your life. Then, you or a loved one is hit with a mental illness. Maybe there aren’t even any disorders in the picture but there are signs of it. So without knowing why, you start calling yourself or that person crazy. Some might even call them messed up and a retard.
It is sad but most often people who call the mentally ill crazy are often misinformed. Even the person who has a disorder can live by the myth that I am not as smart as others anymore.
Many times, I thought that only I dealt with this crazy label. But then I found an article in the Journal of Muslim Mental Health titled “Mental Health Help-Seeking Behaviors of Muslim Immigrants in the United States: Overcoming Social Stigma and Cultural Mistrust.” From this paper, I learned that,
An individual with mental health problems is viewed as ‘crazy’ […](Erikson & El-Tamimi, 2001; Vogel, Wade, & Hackler, 2007).
In the piece, I learned of a case study on a Muslim man named Ahmed. He wouldn’t seek medical help saying that he was not crazy. This shows that even those with mental illnesses can associate the disorder with craziness. That is just one example in a research paper and I have also met many people who live by this myth.
Some people might really believe that those with depression or bipolar or schizophrenia are stupid or crazy. I admit I do go crazy when I get sick. I believe silly things and do stupid things. Yes, I also become retarded or slowed down when it comes to judgment and insight.
But when someone gets a cut, do we judge them for the bleeding? So why demean someone who is battling a severe illness? I would argue that many people who have mental illness are highly creative and intelligent people. Just because they deal with things differently than “normal” people doesn’t mean they are stupid, crazy or retards. Share this post so we can get rid of this silly myth.
I feel sorry for those who perpetuate this misconception. They are missing out on experiencing some of the most beautiful and unique people this world has to offer.
Check out these posts below in the “Seven Silly Mental Illness Misconceptions” series:
Enjoy and please do share so we can eradicate mental illness stigma once in for all.