Today is Bipolar Awareness Day. Like other mental illnesses, there is a stigma surrounding bipolar disorder that brings a lot of negativity and misconceptions. Today is all about breaking the stigma and informing people of the facts in the hope that in the future, there will be no shame attached to bipolar disorder.
Here are some basic facts about bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar was formerly known as manic depression.
- Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally.
- Like many other illnesses, bipolar disorder does not discriminate.
- Bipolar disorder affects 1 in every 100 adults.
- Bipolar disorder usually starts between 15-19 and rarely starts after 40.
The extreme episodes experienced with bipolar disorder can see you feeling happy and excited one moment and then ashamed and guilty after the episode is over. This unusual shift in mood can affect the ability to carry out daily tasks. Since symptoms of bipolar disorder overlap with other illnesses such as borderline personality disorder (BDP) and schizophrenia, it can take a long time to receive a diagnosis.
An array of celebrities have lived with the condition including: Vincent Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf and Vivien Leigh. Unfortunately, there was no treatment back then and their behaviour was viewed as erratic. Nowadays, celebrities living with the condition such as Stephen Fry and Carrie Fisher use their voice to spread awareness for bipolar disorder in a bid to end the stigma. We can use our voice as well to support those with bipolar disorder. Use the hashtag #BipolarAwarenessDay on social media and make people listen.
“I want to speak out, to fight the public stigma and to give a clearer picture of mental illness that most people know little about” – Stephen Fry.
Charities such as Mind can provide support and information on bipolar disorder as well as other mental illnesses. You can find more information on bipolar disorder at http://www.mind.org.uk or their helpline at 0300 123 3393.
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