Does "Bipolar" Equal "Nuts"?
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Does "Bipolar" equal "Nuts"?
Q: I WAS WONDERING IF I DO HAVE BIPOLAR AM I NUTS. THAT IS WHAT SOME OF MY
COWORKER ARE SAYING. I DID NOT SAY NOTHING TO ANYONE BUT THEY NEW I HAD 
A
DOCTOR APPOINTMENT AND THEY ARE SAYING THAT I HAVE TO BE NUTS IF I HAVE
BIPOLAR WELL THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME ROB.
Hi Rob --
You are certainly not the first person to wonder this.  Too bad this question comes up so automatically in people's minds.

So, first off, NO.  Bipolar does not mean nuts, or fruit, including bananas; or crazy, wacko, etc. etc.

Some versions of bipolar disorder, but not all, include periods of time that might qualify for "nuts".  Try the term psychotic, or if that's a little sterile, maybe delusional, like as in a little off.  Anyway, focus on that phrase periods of time.  Even the versions of bipolar disorder that include "nuts" aren't that way but a very brief percentage of time.  So if a person has a mental health problem that includes losing contact with reality less than one percent of their adult life -- are they "nuts"?

Secondly, many versions of bipolar disorder don't include any periods of time where losing contact with reality (that's my polite way of putting it, you see) is part of the deal.  That's bipolar II, and some other variations, and you can read my whole website on that subject if you want (www.psycheducation.org -- the bipolar II section).

And finally, I hope you might be able to raise your friends' conciousness a little bit.  Let's say you did have a version of bipolar disorder that included periods of time of psychosis.  So what?  Some people have diabetes: they have periods of time when they can get really disoriented because their blood sugar is too high -- are they "nuts" too?  How about people who get so drunk they can't talk any sense at all -- are they "nuts" for a while?  Does it make any difference how you come to be "out of it"?  And if it did, wouldn't it be better to get that way because of an illness you had no responsibility for having (80% genetic, and the other 20% unknown environmental factors, including possibly such things as viral infections)?  I mean, better like "hey, I didn't have anything to do with this; like you think I asked for this, or something?"

However, I know it isn't that simple -- you can't talk to a lot of people about this.  They won't even start to try to "get it".  And they may try to make you feel badly about it because they are so threatened by it, for some reason.  Too bad for them (and you do have to be careful around them, or it could be too bad for you too...).  Good luck handling them.

Dr. Phelps


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