Do you think I’m being a little too farfetched? Hey! A great man once told me, “Perception is reality, until reality changes perception.” So I have a right to think this way until you prove to ME otherwise!
Bipolar disorder is genetic, so how is our story different than the genetic “mutations” triggered by puberty in the famous Marvel comic books and movie series, The X-Men? Those with bipolar disorder often feel the prevalent stigma of being “abnormal,” but historically are well known to be some of the most intelligent and creative minds of their time. (See previous blog “We are Genetically Predisposed to be Creative Geniuses”)
Just as the heroic mutants in X-Men vary in power and acceptance of their “mutations,” so do the people who have bipolar disorder.
Rogue: In the movie, Rogue’s powers wouldn’t allow her to get close to anyone. She never thought how her powers could be advantageous to her. She often would run away and at the end tried to become human again. We who are bipolar are most like Rogue when we let the stigma define us and hold our heads in shame. We also are the ones that do all we can to deny we have anything “wrong” with us and keep our disorder a secret.
Wolverine: In the movies, he was often the lone ranger, who acted out against others and refused help. He was also the most violent. We who are bipolar are most like Wolverine when we use our disorder as an excuse to do what we want and explain our terrible behavior on our mood disorder. Many of us do not seek help when we need it and sometimes become angry or violent.
Storm and Cyclopes: In the movies, these two used their powers for the greater good of all humankind. They accepted their mutations and work with them by also allowing the limitations of visors or therapy to help them control and limit the strength and level they use their powers. We who are bipolar are most like Storm and Cyclopes when we accept we are bipolar, work with the medical support staff, and live a relatively “normal” life because we have a firm grasp on our emotions and know when it is time to get help.
Dr. Jean Grey/The Phoenix: In the movies, Dr. Jean Grey is portrayed as a very powerful mutant who is under strong hypnosis control by Professor Xavior. She is a strong political activist for the mutant cause and is loved by all who know her. She has telekinetic powers that are underdeveloped in the beginning, but when her powers were unleashed, The Phoenix took control of her. She again became way too powerful and violent, killing all in her way. In my opinion, we who are bipolar are most like Dr. Jean Grey. For those that are bipolar, when we use our creative powers to wow the masses and allow ourselves a peek outside the “box,” we experience a little bit of our powers. However, if we go too far, we unleash our Phoenix inside ourselves who allows us to experience delusions of grandeur and hallucinations…”power” most people never possess. The Phoenix is the scariest but most wonderful experience in your life, so it take a very powerful character to ask for help when we are in that state. Now, don’t do like the movie and kill us like Wolverine did to The Phoenix. Just take us to the hospital, admit us, and have the doctors sedate us to sleep and give us the medicine we need to return to our Dr. Jean Grey status.
Last but not least…
Professor Xavier: In the movie, he is the most loving and nurturing human on the planet. He takes in the young mutants and teaches them how to live with and use their mutations as means to help humankind, not destroy it. His telepathy allows him to calm even the most violent mutants and his voice allows people to see that mutants are not evil. People are evil not because they are mutants, but because they are imperfect humans. He is the epitome of the perfect activist. For those that are bipolar, these activist who are bipolar and speak out against the stigma are Kay Redfield Jamison (psychology professor and author), Patty Duke (actress and author), and Lana Castle (author).Even Danielle Steele helps support the cause because her son was bipolar. All the men and women, doctors and patients alike, that started the organizations of National Alliance for Mental Illness, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and National Institute of Mental Health to name a small few.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were schools for those with bipolar disorder to go to to help cultivate their creative powers?
Is there anything, any group, or anyone you know that provides support for those with mood disorders, has spoken up against injustice towards those with a mental disorder, or plays a pivotal role as a Stigma Buster in this world?