Like other forms of mental illness, bipolar disorder is often thought of as a character flaw warranting social criticism. Unlike purely physical ailments, we blame the person for their mental state, not the wiring or chemistry of their brain.
This stigma only creates more problems: people avoid seeking help in order to avoid stigma. Those who have received help often feel shame and guilt over their diagnosis.
We need to support each other. If you receive or hear a joke about mental illness, say something. You should know that a number of very creative and talented people have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder: Robert Downey Jr. has been described as the poster child for this illness. Read his story and you’ll know why. The same goes for Robin Williams and a number of others.
Please remember to be kind—everyone is broken in some way. Let’s resolve to understand, rather than judge those who struggle with this disorder.