Bipolar Stigma or Medication Stigma?

unnamed-2The average person who has not lived with the effects of bipolar disorder will tell you that medication is the lazy man’s solution and that they’re “against” all medications. Insinuating that those who take medications are somehow weaker or less intelligent than they are.

Some from the anti-medication camp believe that by taking medication you are changing or “dulling” the person who you were created to be, albeit ill. Medication is merely a bandage for some unknown underlying cause.

It is better to suck it up, and use mind over matter to get better. So what happens when mind over matter doesn’t work?

You can get sick, incredibly sick. I have lived the devastating effects of family members going through severe manic and depressive episodes when un-medicated. The longer the brain is allowed to continue in these manic/depressive states the more difficult it becomes to be healthy in the long run.

Imagine a racehorse running around a muddy track for a day. The rut that the horse creates will be relatively minimal and the horse will easily be able to get out of its’ rut. Now imagine that horse running around a track in the same rut for over a year in that same mud.   The rut that horse will have created will be incredibly deep. The horse may not be able to climb out of its’ rut.

The same goes for someone with bipolar disorder. When the brain is in a depressed state the brain keeps creating a “rut” of being comfortable in the depressive state. The longer the brain runs in the depressive rut, the deeper the rut will be, and the more difficult it will be for that brain to climb out of its depressive state.

Those who choose to use prescription medication to alleviate bipolar symptoms should not ever be given a hard time for their choice. A diabetic would never be given a hard time for taking insulin, so neither should a person with bipolar disorder for taking a medication that will help their illness.

 Ultimately, the decision to medicate is up to the individual. But too many times I have seen people who are too sick to even make that decision. And unfortunately, the laws make it so that people are “allowed to be sick.” Part of breaking the bipolar disorder stigma lies in breaking the medication stigma.

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

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