Bipolar Personality Disorder is a physical disease, much like Diabetes or Epilepsy.
Boy has that generated a lot of comments. Actually, that has pissed a lot of people off.
That statement has been made frequently in my posts and continues to generate some of the most comments and replies. The general theme is that the other illnesses I’ve compared it too don’t cause the suffering, financial loss, and abuse that Bipolar Disorder does.
And, that is absolutely correct.
But at the same time, what I am saying is true as well.
Every disease is different. The effects of Epilepsy are completely different from Multiple Sclerosis. And the symptoms of Diabetes are not comparable at all to those of Heart Disease. But there is a commonality to them all. Even intermittent issues such as migraine headaches have one characteristic in common with the rest.
They are physical in origin.
Not all mental illnesses are like that. I don’t have statistics or numbers, but based on what I can find I’d say that the majority of mental illnesses are psychological in nature, and not a bodily affliction. Many of these conditions are developed over time from things like unhealthy environments and significant life events. One of my ex wives was involved in a horrific automobile accident when she was a teenager, and her face was scarred from injuries she sustained. The scars were actually just in her hairline and not obvious at all; but the trauma of the accident left emotional scars as well, and the physical ones were a constant reminder for her. As she aged, she developed clinical diagnoses of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. She became absolutely obsessed with her looks and saw herself as horribly disfigured. There is no telling how much money was spent in her effort to hide what she saw. Now, I am not minimizing what she went through at all. What she experienced and the disorder that developed was very real for her. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go through something like that, and am not judging her in any way. It was horrible for her. The point is, there are mental illnesses that are clearly not physical in nature.
And then there are those that may start out circumstantial, and then develop into something more clinical. Depression can be a good example of this. While not an absolute by any means, there are depressions that begin as circumstantial. There are countless events and conditions that could trigger a depression. Over time, an extended episode can cause the body chemistry to change and become the contributing factor. My opinion is, that is the reason why some medications stop being effective or a different medication can work when it didn’t before.
Bipolar Personality Disorder is definitely all the things that have been said about it. It can be the cause of financial problems; even total disaster. The depression episodes can completely destroy everyday life not, making it impossible to function at all. And the manic episodes can be totally devastating. There can be out of control behavior; totally inappropriate anger; even outright abuse. In many ways the nature of the illness affects not only the person with the illness, but everyone else in their life. Other illnesses can certainly impact others, but Bipolar can be directed specifically at others.
I am in no way, nor have I ever equated the symptoms, and the behaviors of Bipolar Personality Disorder to any other illness.
What I have said is, they all start from a physical condition.
Okay, a lot has been said over what I think is a very simple concept. There seems to a common perception that people with Bipolar Personality Disorder are just crazy. I get a feeling of blame for having this illness, and from other comments and replies I’ve gotten I’m not alone with that feeling. As I’ve said before; I am and we all are 100% responsible for the results of our behaviors. While it’s not always possible to be aware of the condition, there is an underlying obligation to seek out and follow treatment. (That one is a little bit gray… one of the features of the illness is denial and a tendency to discontinue treatment when the symptoms diminish. But the responsibility is still there.) But just like all the other diseases I’ve referenced in the past, there is no blame for having the illness. Nobody chooses to be sick, including those who are Bipolar. But that is the extent of my comparison. You can’t correlate all the different diseases. There is no question that Bipolar Personality Disorder is manifested emotionally. The damage that can be done can absolutely be intentional. The effects of the illness can have a huge impact on others in ways that are not like any other. But I still say that Bipolar Personality Disorder is a physical disease, much like Diabetes or Epilepsy. The commonality is in a basic, physical origin, and only that. But in regards to the symptoms and effects of this disease?
There is no comparison.