Strength and Courage

Summer Green, Arts & Culture page Editor

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If the world truly knew what bipolar meant, the term wouldn’t be used so regularly. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans or about 2.6 percent of the US population. Mental illness is a very serious issue that many people suffer with everyday. Many people don’t realize that using the term so loosely can be extremely offensive to those who have it or know someone who does.
Bipolar isn’t simply just random mood swings. Going from happy to sad doesn’t necessarily mean you are Bipolar, it means you’re human. Depending on where you are on the Bipolar spectrum, living with this mental illness in some cases can be extremely difficult and overwhelming. Going from very high highs, to very low lows, it’s very hard to comprehend your emotions and understand who you truly are.
Symptoms of Bipolar include, doing risky behaviors, being hyperactive, excess shopping, depression, suicidal thoughts and more, according to healthline.com. People experiencing an episode with mixed features may feel very sad, empty, or hopeless, while at the same time feeling extremely energized according to www.nimh.nih.gov. Mrs Fox, WVHS guidance counselor said, “I think that in general people need to be more careful with their words because you never know the journey of the person they’re speaking to.”
Not only is this extremely difficult for the person dealing with this, but it also affects everyone around them. While being in a manic state, people with severe Bipolar disorder can ruin many relationships due to overwhelming agitation with everyone around them. Going from being severely depressed to a manic state can cause so much confusion in families and even the person dealing with the disorder themselves.
A spectrum is a perfect way to describe mental illness, whether you have anxiety, OCD, depression or Bipolar disorder, everyone goes through different symptoms and experiences. Some people are so low on the spectrum you can barely notice their symptoms.
Some people are extremely insecure knowing they have a mental disorder, but according to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), nearly one in five people in the United States suffer with it. However, mental illness does not define you as a person. Senior Sophia Amvrosiatos said, “People should be a little more mindful when using the term ‘Bipolar’ to define someone, people could be dealing with it themselves or know people who do. With any mental illness, people should think before they speak and understand that some people really suffer with this.”
Causes of Bipolar can be environmental factors such as abuse, mental stress, or a significant loss. Another main factor which is usually the cause of this disorder, is due to genetics. Just like any other mental disorder, Bipolar can be passed on generation after generation and studies are still being conducted to determine the exact genetic root.
No one should feel self conscious or insecure over something they have no control over. The best way to handle someone dealing with Bipolar is to just be supportive and love them no matter what. Being mindful of what you say to other people is the first step in making a difference. “Your illness does not define you. Your strength and courage does.”

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