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Readers Respond: Hurtful Things People Say About Bipolar Disorder

Responses: 241


Updated June 29, 2014

From the article: It's All in Your Head
People often say hurtful things to people who have bipolar disorder. They may do this because they are uninformed, because they are caught up in the stigma of mental illness - or even because they think they are giving good advice. What have people said to you about your bipolar disorder that really hurt your feelings? Give us your answers and read what others have said.

If you think you have friends you dont

"i have grown tired of your rollarcoaster" and my other friend "i didnt realize how disconnected i had become from my own family caught up in your drama" both of these people told me i didnt have bipolar that i had a spirit attachment and told me to stop taking my meds because i didnt have bipolar. I guess they felt guilty when they realised that I actually do and they were wrong and they had to cut me off nastily so they didnt feel the shame of what they did to me.
—Guest mummytj

You've changed

I was fired for poor attendance (because I was depressed at home carefully planning ways to kill myself). When she fired me, my boss shook her head and said, "You've changed." Well hell yes, they loved me when I was vivacious, creative, and not sleeping for days because I was endlessly 'perfecting' a piece of work for them.
—Guest Helena

Ive been called....

A raving lunatic, emotionally selfish, a spoiled brat....among other things.
—Guest Sher


my Now ex friend says I need Help. and it really hurt she says i need searious help because i am bipolar u think i wanted to be bipolar. she mad because she got caugh in a lie i have a 8 week old puppy and she thinks i care about myself no i dont my puppy comes first
—Guest cassie

I'm not alone

I live in a relatively small place, with 3 kids all alone. I'm called every name in the book: bipolar bitch, schizo, retard, crazy. You think of it, I've been called it. My family hates me & calls me crazy. I also have a child that's adhd/bipolar so you can only imagine what I go through. I've lost & quit many jobs been in & out college (have yet to finish). Ppl call me a liar (when I'm known for being real & honest). They say I'm lazy, sorry, manipulative, in my own world, live in denial, believe what I wanna believe so I make myself think its true. I feel all alone. I've even been homeless. This illness is nothing to take lightly. I'm currently not on meds, haven't been since '07 mainly thinking I could do it alone. But now, I've been suicidal again.
—Guest Ashley

fake it til you make it

fake that i don't want to curl up and die and vanish into thin air at the snap of a finger. i want to be real, not fake. i hate the 'fake it til you make it' "encouragement" from people.
—Guest baboo


My Psychologist tried for almost a year to get me to accept my self destructive tendencies and bipolar disorder. Eventually it all clicked and this is what it took: adopting the philosophy of caring about other more than you care about yourself without neglecting your basic needs. On some level, we're all narcissists. We're just designed that way genetically. A lot of people just hide their narcissism on the 'guise of "YOU HAVE TO BEHAVE THE WAY I WANT TO ALL THE TIME BECAUSE SOMETHING YOU SAY MIGHT OFFEND ME." Obviously we shouldn't just go out of our way to offend people, that's a little mean and understandably so. But what we shouldn't do is expect everyone to constantly behave the way we want them to when they are around us We can still accept our own ingrained genetics that tell us to take care of our basic needs first and do nice things for other people.
—Guest Newly Diagnosed

"You're psycho."

I've been called a psycho by my parents, people back in high school, friends, my ex husband and my current husband. It's just because I'm emotional. They say it to me because they know I have bipolar and know it hurts me, so my emotions never have any substance to them. It's just my illness, they say, and leave me to fend for them myself. That's what hurts the most.
—Guest Yagirlnfollface

a matter of self preservation

After reading only just a few submissions I right away connected with what was and is and will continue to accompany mental health issues. For our life, these slights, ignorant rants and slurs are and will be a constant reminder. I'm 48 and wasn't diagnosed till I was 45. I had labored under every imaginable self and other induced misconception. I had absolutely no clue. I just know that for most of my life I felt "different" but was always under fire from....well, everyone basically. Shunned, marginalized and ostracized I still managed to find a mate god bless her for putting up with my issues. It has been very hard for me to be able to get an accurate picture of myself....meaning my inappropriate behavior outlandish ideas etc. till someone who gave a crap (my wife) helped me to see. It seems I've endured so much I can't tell what when I'm gettin dissed or have the energy to care. But I still fight to see what can and will happen. Some kinda crazy journey. Stick with it and see!
—Guest stobbins

My Father

"You cause too many problems! Done. I'm done with this."
—Guest Bui

No genius can be bipolar.

My mother told me that no genius can be bipolar after I told her that Beethoven was bipolar. She called bipolar people crazy and can never be intelligent and that the people who think so are merely guessing. Many teachers speculate my IQ is above 135, even my AP Psychology teacher, my AP English teacher, and my AP US History teacher who majored in psychology. I want to take the legitimate IQ test just to prove her wrong.
—Guest Stephanie

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Rather predictably when Catherine Zeta Jones made her illness public yesterday, people had the following to say:* What has she got to be depressed about? She's rich isn't she?* Why did she tell the press? What an attention seeker!* Why does this get such attention just because she's a star? Happens all the time!* There's nothing brave about admitting to a disease when your life is so full of material success. Some may find these reactions irritating, frustrating or mean spirited, others may have an element of sympathy with them. For me, having read the decision to make this public was based on the fact she was seen outside the clinic and rumours were circulating about addictive behaviour that may have brought her there, I do think there's an element of bravery. However rich this woman is, she has coped in the last year with her husband's cancer and his son being sent to prison. I'm not sure all the money in the world would make this better. It has also emerged that CZJ has been affected by depression on and off for years. Lots of us are.For me, the only element of this I find frustrating is the fact that it still takes someone high profile like CZJ to speak up for people to understand more. There has been a lot of attention because of the nature of the lsnleis, who knows, if it was a physical one it may not have been so newsworthy.I hate the fact that when faced with news of someone's illness, people make value judgements based on their own prejudices of whether the sufferer deserves to be one! We all get ill so I wish people would quit their sniping. Just because people have the sort of wealth so many dream of, it doesn't stop them feeling, hurt, love or loss. It doesn't stop compassion and it most certainly isn't a cure for a medical condition.
—Guest vRGWTLogyUlNjeQaz

Ostracised! Yet SHARED Mother's womb.

From my identical twin sister, who was planning to wed her fiance: WITHDRAWAL of her previous formal commitment for me to serve as bridesmaid of honour at her to be anticipated most special, memorable experience of her life-THE perfect! wedding. Although I have another sister, who was the only other designated 'regular' bridesmaid, MY personal role, and shared twin-sister moment, was given to a replacement/substituted barely known acquaintance ?colleague! Enough? Enough to MAINTAIN the BIPOLAR episode as an inpatient!
—Guest Toxic?

Drowned Your Children

I was dating a guy during a manic episode (and divorce). He broke up with me, saying that he was scared of me. He told me that he had a dream that we got married and I drowned our five children and then myself in the bathtub. I have no children, but I cannot possibly imagine wanting to murder a child. Any child. The fact that he thought I was cable of such a horrific act shocked me. It wasn't long after he broke up with me that I spiraled down to a depressive episode where I was no longer able to live by myself and had to move in with my sister.
—Guest Not Broken

You're just confused ...

I take my medication religiously. I never miss a dose. But no one ever takes my word for anything. I get blamed for everything that goes wrong at home and a work. It has gotten to the point that I text and email everything so I have documentation of what was said to me. It is so frustrating. "You're just confused" "Did you take your meds?" "No ones lying, you're being paranoid" "Should we take you to the ER now or do you just want to rest awhile?" The thing is what I observe is real. I'm not delusional anymore. I have hard evidence - notes, texts, emails, numbers - but no one bothers to even check if what I'm saying is true. They just write me off as crazy. "You're just confused..." I get so frustrated.
—Guest KatyKat

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