5 Things You Should NEVER Say to Someone with Bipolar Disorder
If you have a friend or a loved one who struggles with their mental health it is always a good idea to research your loved one’s diagnosis in order to understand them and what they are going through better. Sometimes people who don’t really understand what is going on inside of their loved one’s head can say or do certain things that were meant out of kindness but actually do more harm than good.
This can be especially true when you are dealing with a loved one who has a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Unless you can truly understand what they are going through, it can be easy to pass judgement on your loved one without even realizing it. There are just certain things that you should never say to someone with bipolar disorder.
Take it from someone who struggles with bipolar disorder themselves and has had these statements said to them before, saying the following 5 things could cause more damage than you realize!
01. “Did you remember to take your meds today?”
Wow, what a loaded question! It feels like every time someone with bipolar disorder shows any sign of emotion, far too many people are quick to start questioning whether or not medications are being taken as prescribed. “You seem agitated, did you remember to take your meds today?” But what about people who don’t have mental health conditions? They get to show normal emotions without fear of being judged whereas someone with bipolar disorder often feels like they have to defend their right to express their emotions just like everyone without this diagnosis gets to. Bad days can happen to anyone, but just because someone is having a bad doesn’t usually mean that meds are being missed.
You might feel like you are being considerate when you ask your loved one if they remembered to take their meds, but in reality, that medication statement is quite hurtful.
Anyone who struggles with their mental health is already well aware that meds are actually only half the battle when it comes to managing their moods and emotions. Sometimes people who have never taken psych meds before may think that these meds are a simple “cure all” and that their loved one shouldn’t have anymore bad days after starting treatment which couldn’t be further from the truth.
02. “Just get over it!”
“Just get over it,” is honestly one of the most hurtful things that you could say to anyone who has a mental health condition. If you think your loved one is having a hard time, telling them to get over it could actually make things feel so much worse for them.
Think about it this way, how would you feel if you felt like someone was telling your that your feelings weren’t valid and they told you to “just get over it?” If you don’t want people to say things like that to you in your time of need, then you really shouldn’t be saying it to others. Being told to “get over it” can make you feel like your feelings aren’t valid and important when they really are. You can’t tell another person how they should be feeling unless you are able to walk a mile in their shoes.
Even then, you still shouldn’t say “get over it” to anyone because everyone handles things in their own way.
03. “Can’t you just act normal for once?”
Being told to act normal when you are just being yourself can be very hurtful and offensive to say the least. First off, there is no such thing as “normal” because every person is unique in their own way. What is normal to you, could be strange to someone else.
Again, picture someone telling you to act normal over and over again; it can really make you feel like something is wrong with you. We can only be one thing, and that is who we are.
When dealing with a loved one who has bipolar disorder, you should highly consider losing the word “normal” from your vocabulary when you are speaking with them. People with mental illnesses are judged enough and they really don’t need someone they care about judging them so harshly.
04. “It doesn’t take much to set you off!”
Yes, I will admit it, people with bipolar disorder can sometimes deal with extra anger and agitation issues that perhaps people without this disorder wouldn’t be able to fully understand. But unless you are trying to purposely push your loved one’s buttons, you should probably stop telling them that it doesn’t take much to set them off because that statement alone could set off someone who isn’t bipolar. And if you were to say this phrase to someone with bipolar disorder and if they didn’t try to rip you a new one, they have much more restraint than you give them credit for!
05. “Stop being so lazy!”
People with bipolar disorder don’t just deal with mania, but they deal with depressive episodes as well. Sometimes just forcing yourself out of bed during a depressive episode can zap your energy for the rest of the day. Telling someone with bipolar disorder than that they just being “lazy” when they aren’t feeling the best can really sting and worsen a depressive episode.
During these times, it’s the little things that most people seem to do with ease that can challenging for someone with bipolar disorder such as remembering to eat and shower. Research your loved ones disorder and learn how you can actually help them during these times because calling them lazy when they are doing everything they can to hold themselves together can be devastating and at times it can even cause a setback.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.