10 Bipolar Misconceptions

1. Bipolar disorder is not an illness

2. Ones with bipolar disorder cannot keep a stable job or hold a position of authority

3. All moods are a product of the bipolar disorder

4. Bipolar disorder is responsible for every bad thing a person does, thinks, or says

5. People with bipolar disorder are inherently unstable or violent

6. Everyone with bipolar disorder is the same as far as their illness goes

7. Ones with bipolar disorder have it because of their upbringing

8. Pure will and determination can get one out of mood swings

9. Bipolar disorder defines who you are

10. Ones with bipolar disorder can snap out of it

These are just a few of the misconceptions surrounding bipolar disorder. Have any to add?

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14 responses to “10 Bipolar Misconceptions

  • Roger Smith

    I agree with all – except I think there could be a typographical error on point 8?
    “8. Pure will and determination can get one of mood swings”

  • ManicMuses

    Bipolar people are not as smart as ‘normal’ people. In fact, the majority of us are smarter than the average bear.

  • James Claims

    There’s actually a book coming out called A First Rate Madness by a psychiatrist that details how in crisis times, people who have bipolar tend to have a set of skills that are more conducive to leadership than normal people. I’ve just ordered it and I hope to read it as soon as possible. There’s a short intro to it by Stephen Colbert, so maybe that will whet the appetite for it.

  • LunaSunshine

    I love this post. And I have quite a few to add!

    – People with bipolar use it as an excuse to dodge responsibility and consequences.

    – Women with bipolar disorder should not have children.

    There are a plethora of reasons why this misconception exists. First, because of another myth.

    – All bipolar people should be heavily medicated or else they are a danger to themselves and others.

    Next, because:

    – Bipolar is a highly genetic disease.

    Next, because;

    – Women with bipolar disorder cannot make good mothers because of their emotional and life instability.

    As a mother who has bipolar disorder, those myths are highly offensive. I’m not arrogant, nor do I think that I’ll win “mother of the year” anytime soon, but I’ll tell you an undeniable truth. I got married and intentionally got pregnant. Many of my friends did not. And I am a hell of a better mother than them. The only thing wrong with them is that they are selfish and immature.

    – People who have bipolar disorder cannot have healthy, stable relationships and friendships.

    Yeah, maybe that’s a little more difficult. But it’s not true at all.

    – People with bipolar disorder should not be allowed to work with children.


    – People with bipolar disorder are dangerous because they can snap at any time.

    I loathe these misconceptions. In fact, some of them are serious propeganda and lies. It’s infuriating!

  • rachelmiller1511

    I like point 8- that you can’t will yourself out of mood swings. Whenever I’m depressed I try so bloody hard to be “not depressed” that I think I end up making myself worse! It always seem like those healthy individuals around you are judging you and wondering why you can’t just snap out of it.

    • acrazybeautifulmind

      I run into that a lot too! Snapping out of it sometimes is just not an option.

      • Laurie

        I agree, I believe for me it is more dangerous to try and snap out of it and push too much. It has boomeranged on me. You will come out of it better and more ready to take on the world when your body and brain are ready. That does not mean totally giving in to it and using it as an excuse though. By the way, nice blog, stumbled onto it through Manic Muses.

  • bipolarandbrilliant

    What a great post! I totally agree… in fact, I believe that knowing I’m bipolar has made me a better and more empathetic person. 🙂

  • worsethenpms

    I agree I think bipolar has taught me a lot about compassion and most of these prejudices are based on ignorance in fact I’ve had people working for Centrelink ask me in patronising tone why I would want to have children. If they asked someone in a wheelchair that there would be outrage. I was raised very well by a mother who had schizophrenia.

    • Domenia

      I am in agreement with you. being diagnoses has made had to work harder, accept some limitations such as partying and being out late, and more understanding to others. it has helped humbling my heart

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