Pills come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Some cause side effects and don’t cause any side effects. The pluses have to outweigh the negatives.

Bipolar disorder has a very negative image. Back in the day it was called manic depression but for some reason someone decided it needed to be re-branded as if giving it a different name would change it’s image. Sadly this isn’t the case.

There can be many reasons why bipolar has a negative image but from my experience I blame TV and the media for wrongly classing everyone with a mental health problem under the same umbrella.

For example, the pilot of the German Wings aeroplane that crashed his plane into a mountain in France killing everyone on board was said to have had bipolar disorder. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t but I doubt very much that was the reason he decided to kill himself and everyone on his aeroplane!

He must have had another mental health issue that made him want to commit mass murder.

While I accept every case is different I have met quite a lot of people with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and panic attacks. We all seem to have one thing in common and that is while we may be suicidal at times we have no desire whatsoever to kill anyone else or cause harm to anyone but ourselves!

I find it completely unbelievable that the German Wings pilot did what he did because he was depressed. Maybe he heard voices, maybe he was a homicidal maniac but whatever the case I don’t believe he was simply depressed.

I, like many other people with mental health issues need to take a lot of medicines in order for me to survive. If I don’t take them for a period of time I run the risk of having a ‘down’ period. Each time I have felt like this I have never wanted to do anyone harm.

I used to be a train driver, in fact I had give up being a train driver because of developing a mental health issue. I wasn’t a danger to anyone, I performed my job perfectly well and to everyone who knew me I was perfectly fine but inside I was suffering from terrible anxiety brought on because of the job.

As I have said before in this post, I at no time ever wanted to do anything than protect my passengers and deliver them safely to their destination.

Another thing that gives bipolar a bad image is TV shows that portray us in a bad light and causes the wrong impression. Crime series that have murderers, rapists and so on that are said to go on their crime sprees because they are bipolar infuriates me!

Why not say they have borderline personality disorder or are schizophrenic instead? Something that is nearer the truth.

Then we have celebrities who say they have bipolar. Catherine Zeta Jones said she had bipolar caused by her husband developing cancer. She went into a clinic for 4 weeks and was cured. Bullshit! 

For a start, bipolar isn’t caused by an event and it certainly isn’t cured by a 4 week stay in a posh clinic.

Then there is Kerry Katona who was on a TV chat show and was slurring her words and appeared drunk. She said it was because of he bipolar. Maybe she has bipolar but I have yet to meet someone with the disorder who has medicine that causes them to appear to be drunk at 9 in the morning!

But attitudes are changing and that can only be a good thing. I have been open with everyone ever since I was diagnosed in 2007. Why? Because there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Sometimes when I tell someone I have bipolar they react like I might kill them and I have to explain the difference between the mental health issues.

I don’t expect people to know the difference between bipolar and homicidal maniac because I don’t know the difference between a lot of ailments but the one thing I do expect is for the media to portray mental health issues in the correct manner.

I mean, I have even read that one newspaper tried to say Adolf Hitler was bipolar! I mean, WTF???

As for me, I take a lot of medicines. The picture below is about half of my daily intake.

Breakfast

For example, I start the day with a Betolvex and a Folacin tablet. They are vitamin B supplements. I also take 2 Durloxetin tablets for depression, a Concerta tablet for ADHD and a Ergenyl tablet which is a mood stabiliser for bipolar. I also take a Losartan tablet for high blood pressure which is caused by the Concerta tablet.

After lunch I take another Concerta and Ergenyl tablets.

When it is time to go ‘up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire’ (go to bed) I take 1 Stilnoct tablet to help me go to sleep and 40mg of Theralen which is also to help me sleep through the night.

So far that is a total of 10 tablets and 40mg of liquid to try and keep my functioning as a (fairly) normal human being.

In addition, because I have a knee and back injury from a motorbike accident I had in England I also take two Tramadol tablets as and when I need them. I generally take them when I am going to go out on a long walk of about 7 miles (10 km), if I didn’t taken them I couldn’t walk more than 1 km before I get terrible pain in the lower back.

All in all we who suffer from mental health issues have a tough time as it is battling the problems and ourselves, we don’t need TV and media to force us into battling the people we know too.

But it isn’t just the ‘normal’ people, I have suffered bullying, being put down and not believed by other people who have mental health issues who were ‘so-called’ friends.

While I can see someone rationale that labels are put on people a lot these days that doesn’t mean they are all wrong, or even mostly wrong.

I and just about everyone I know who had a mental disorder are glad to receive our diagnosis. Not because we want to have our problems but because it gives us an explanation why we are different.

We are not failures, we are not losers and we are not lazy. We have a reason which we never knew about and maybe if we knew earlier we could have done things differently to have given us a better chance at life.

Whatever the case, people who are depressed or have bipolar disorder do not want to hurt anyone except themselves. We are not looking for pity, sympathy or you to feel bad for us, we just need understanding and patience.

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