I was shocked when I heard from my youngest boy that bipolar was used, in school, as an insult which was confirmed by the eldest.
My children know about my illness, we informed them the best possible way which is the truth in terms they can understand. So when my youngest, who s very witty answered after being called a bipolar, « really, I am bipolar! Why don t look it up before using words that you don’t know their meanings. »
This is, obviously, unacceptable as children grow up with this image and belief that will reinforce the overcrowded world of demeaning stigmas surrounding us.I requested a meeting with school director about this unacceptable “insult.” I told him that I was bipolar and this incident deeply hurt my child as his father was the target behind the insult. He agreed and promised to tackle this problem.I believe he was shocked when he heard about my illness and was very empathetic. I couldn’t help to notice through his body language and facial expression that he was, suddenly, unraveled and didn’t know what to say or do. This was rather sad as it confirmed that people do not know how to deal with, us, in a regular way as he would have with another father coming to complain about something.
Society doesn’t want or doesn’t know how to engage with mentally ill people. This was the proof to me as I had an empathetic and well-educated person facing me.
Children nowadays have easy access to information via the social networks and the web. But I still believe that most of these types of misinformation come from uneducated parents. We live on the eastern side of France in the mountains. Just to give you a simplified backdrop of where we live. We are about 10 miles away from our town of roughly ten thousand people. The main street has bars and hairdressers, a couple of bakers and the rest have gone out of business. People, in general, have not traveled the world and had a tunnel vision of life. Strangely enough, for the one we know, they have no desire to open their minds up in any way or form. 90% of them define what uneducated, and narrow-minded people are. Preconceived ideas rule them. Their primary sources of information on these types of topics are what do their neighbor next door know or think about it. I would sure hope that people in the major cities like Lyon or Paris have a different view and knowledge.
On the other side of the spectrum, you have idiots in the US who claim to be bipolars as they want the perceived as intelligent and creative. I don’t know which one was more upsetting to me. The French issue or the US one.
What I have to say about the people who claim to be bipolars is what don t you take the balance that comes with the illness, spend maybe one week in our heads and how and where we live. Let’s see, after that, if you still want to be labeled as bipolar. The vast majority of us live in a precarious environment, and we are not celebrities we are ordinary people suffering daily from bipolarity.
As far as the French issue, I will leave like that, as I don t want to give it more importance than it deserves.