With loads of research and awareness, the Australian community is beginning to understand the presention of this common mental health condition. However there are still a few key assumptions that we're keen to unpack. Here are four misconceptions about Bipolar disorder, so you can equip yourself with insight and knowledge to help break down stigma.
- People with Bipolar disorder are always manic
People living with Bipolar disorder can experience intense highs, but not everyone’s presentation is the same, often you may not even notice these intense mood shifts.
The same can be said for a person’s experience of “the lows”. Sometimes a person living with Bipolar disorder may experience depression, however not everyone’s presentation of feeling depressed or "low" is the same. Many people's experience of complex mental health is different, remember: a person “lives with the experience of Bipolar disorder”, not “has Bipolar”.
- People with Bipolar disorder chop and change a lot
All human beings are capable of being moody and changing their minds a lot. This is what it is to be human . Many people living with Bipolar disorder, especially those receiving treatment, can live healthy and functional lives. Some influential people living with this diagnosis include Catherine Zeta Jones, Buzz Aldrin and Jane Pauley.
(pictured above: Cath Zeta-Jones living her best life!)
- Bipolar disorder and Borderline personality disorder are the same
People sometimes confuse Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and Bipolar disorder because, like many other diagnoses, they can at times have a similar presentation. Heightened emotional responses and impulsive behaviour are some of the common traits between the two.
BPD is a personality disorder that can affect how people perceive themselves and relate to others; whilst Bipolar disorder prominently affects a person’s mood. Though it is important to reiterate not everyone’s experience of any one mental health condition is the same. Read more about the varying symptoms of Bipolar disorder here.
- Receiving treatment for Bipolar disorder will negatively impact my creativity
It has been well documented that many individuals living with Bipolar disorder also possess immense creativity. Some examples include Vincent Van Gogh, Dolores O’Riordan and Ernest Hemingway. As a result of this cultural link, people can become concerned that if they begin to manage their elevated moods (mania) they may lose some of their creative spark. However, managing symptoms should have minimal impact on your creative output. For more information on Bipolar disorder and creativity, have a chat with one of the counsellors at our SANE Help Centre here!
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