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Writing Off People with a Mental Illness Hurts You, Not Us

May 16, 2012 Natasha Tracy

One day I was in a pub eavesdropping on the girls deep in conversation next to me. They were chatting about bisexuals. They were commenting that they would never date a bisexual as really bisexuals were heterosexual that were just playing around with homosexuality and eventually they would “turn back” into heterosexuals.

Well, I, being bisexual was a little insulted by this. I have not “turned” into anything. I simply am bisexual like they are simply gay.

I realized though that it was lucky for me that I heard these girls talking because I could cross them off my list as I have no desire to date sanctimonious, self-righteous, ignorant women.

And I also realized this: it’s their loss.

I’m great.

I only lost sanctimonious, self-righteous, ignorant women while they lost me.

And the same is true of mental illness. When someone rejects you simply because of a medical illness that you didn’t ask for and over which you have no control, you are only losing someone ignorant while they are losing the amazing person that is you.

People with Mental Illness Are Amazing?

Well, admittedly, I haven’t done a poll, but yes, people with a mental illness are amazing. Why? Because they’re living with something that is so painful and difficult that most people couldn’t even comprehend it. Because they are succeeding in the face of staggering odds. Because they have lived and thrived while many of their compatriots have not.

Yes, people with a mental illness are amazing.

This is to say nothing of the contributions to creative and other endeavors made by people with a mental illness. Would you like to have written off Isaac Newton, Ludwig van Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Buzz Aldrin and so many others? I wouldn’t scoff at these people’s talent and I’m proud to be in their company.

It Hurts to Be Rejected

Yes, it hurts to be rejected. I’ve been rejected because of my mental illness and it hurts like hell. And in the face of such hurt it may seem trite to say it’s their loss. But I promise, if you really have that watershed moment, and know I am telling you the truth, you will realize that they are lesser for not having you in their lives. You are quite possibly greater for not having to defend yourself from their ignorance.

Quality Barometer

And so, maybe knowledge of mental illness can be seen as a quality barometer. Those who will accept you for who you really are, rate high enough as to deserve you. Those that show ignorance and hatred simply aren`t nearly good enough for you. It`s you with the quality bar, not them.

So if someone insists on ignorance – let them. It simply tells you who they are and lets you make better decisions about who you want in your life. This rightfully gives you back your power. It`s you who have rejected them based on their own tiny minds.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2012, May 16). Writing Off People with a Mental Illness Hurts You, Not Us, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2012/05/writing-off-people-with-a-mental-illness-hurts-you-not-us



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook and YouTube.

Skeeter
March, 18 2019 at 10:58 pm

I went into a friendship with a friend diagnosed with a mental illness after finding out that her only friends were her parents. The same thing that happened to me after having a physical disability, my friends slowly fell away. I luckily was never totally alone. I have gained a gift in taking on this lovely woman, about 30 years old to my 45, and she told me today that she is not lonely anymore. It made me cry. NO ONE should be alone!! Our friendship is not problem free, but I am happy to be the person she has to talk to (via FB) when her parents are asleep. We are in different countries, but I think we have both grown as a result of our friendship. I am NOT patting myself on the back, only furthering the author's message. I am pleased to be her friend! She does not care that I must use a scooter many days, or that I learn slowly, she accepts me for the person I am today. She gets is if my eyes are burning so bad I cannot message.
The author has a huge point. This woman I befriended has had a hard life, has been hospitalized, treated like crap by the NHS (just like people with mental illness in the US are, I used to work in EMS, I have seen it first hand). Her friendship means the world to me! If you lose a close friend, I bet there is a new person who could really need one! My friend has been thru cancer and major surgery since we met, and I am so proud of her!!!

Lorraine Volpe
November, 17 2014 at 11:09 am

I lost my best friend because while manic , I sent a nasty text to her husband. He responded by forbidding me over the house, and not allowing me contact with her or their daughter who was my daughter's friend. I recovered about 2 weeks later and apologized and tried to explain, but he refused to hear of it.
Anyway, I am now talking to my friend but the relationship has been transformed from a very very close friendship to a superficial acquaint-ship. I find their ignorance and refusal to understand so hurtful.

Sarah
March, 10 2013 at 1:42 pm

Hi Miami,
I was untreated for two years, and under-treated for one. Now it's all under control. Thinking back to that period - there were some people who felt the way you do and some who didn't. Those who felt the way you did felt it was their job to fix me, and when their efforts didn't work, they got really cut up and had to step back completely. Those who stayed around for that period were better able to cope, and I think that was because they always saw the illness as my responsibility to treat, accepted that it wasn't so simple, and were able to keep their boundaries while still being a friend. Best of luck.

Miami
March, 9 2013 at 5:03 am

Sorry but I disagree with a lot of what this article states. Loving someone with a mental illness like bipolar puts me in a vice. When all my energy is drained from the constant babying, excusing, verbal and emotional abuse, counseling and etc etc, and the bipolar person continues to blame me, refuse responsibility for their actions, continues the narcissistic behavior, denies they need help, continues to get drunk, belligerent and vulgar, hits on my husband and myself constantly and has multiple sex partners in a week every week and does not accept help when this has been ongoing for the 3 years I have been friends with them it's time to cut losses. When my bipolar friend is willing to admit she has a problem and accept help I will be there but until then I have to end the friendship.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

B
September, 4 2019 at 8:40 pm

I think you just proved this article to be spot on. People, like myself, who live with depression (anxiety) don't have control over it as simple as just taking a pill, etc. My family abandoned me because of their ignorance, not mine. I've seen so many doctors, and tried so many medications I've lost count. So when you're making an effort to try and "fix yourself" and the only people in this world don't make the effort to educate themselves, it's just about the saddest, most ignorant thing I can think of. I would do anything not to feel this way. My "family" has a lot to do with the way I am, so for them to turn their backs on me is a harder pill to swallow than any useless medication. Ignorance is absolutely no excuse, especially when the person who lives with debilitating pain that could never be understood by someone who never has.

mental health girl
November, 24 2012 at 3:18 am

This is such as lovely blog it made me smile, thanks for posting xx

Natasha Tracy
May, 26 2012 at 8:40 am

Hi Darlene,
There really is no research on this topic.
- Natasha

darlene duarte
May, 26 2012 at 1:31 am

I have struggled with bipolar for forty years and as with all of us I could write a book! I too have thoughts of bisexuality but have never acted on it. Natisha, could you do some research on this topic?

Janet Singer (ocdtalk)
May, 18 2012 at 10:55 am

So glad to read this post.......I totally agree with everything you say!

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May, 18 2012 at 9:45 am

[...] Breaking Bipolar (A HealthyPlace Blog)- Writing Off People with a Mental Illness Hurts You, Not Us [...]

Courtney Rundell
May, 18 2012 at 7:52 am

And PS, I'm bi as well. Huh.

Courtney Rundell
May, 18 2012 at 7:51 am

Thank you for this post! I had a bipolar relapse when I was pregnant and postpartum and lost 2 of my closest friends. It was devastating, especially since I was out of my mind and everything was bigger than reality already. And it is their loss. Now that I'm stable (ish - I'm still cycling but nothing like I was) again, they're back in my life. But they'll never be close friends again because I won't have it. I'm not resentful - I just realized that they weren't true friends - they had conditions on their friendship. On a happy note, my best friend stood by me and it was really hard, but we did it and I love her so much more now. So yeah, it is their loss - because I'm soooo much fun and so awesome when I'm stable and now they can't have me! Bahahahahahahaha! Thanks again for this post. It made my heart happy.

Natasha Tracy
May, 18 2012 at 7:25 am

You're welcome all for the article :)
I'm happy to share a little positivity for mental health blogging day :)
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
May, 18 2012 at 7:24 am

Hi Michele,
It's good you came to that conclusion and it's a sign of your strength that you maintain any form of contact with a person who rejected you like that. Good for you for raising above it.
- Natasha

nikky44
May, 16 2012 at 9:12 pm

THANK YOU!!! Thank you for this article <3

Natasha Tracy
May, 16 2012 at 3:32 pm

Hi Alicia,
I don't know of any research on that point.
- Natasha Tracy

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May, 16 2012 at 1:10 pm

[...] Healthy Place – Writing Off People with a Mental Illness Hurts You, Not Us [...]

Alicia
May, 16 2012 at 10:26 am

So is there a connection between bipolar and bisexualism or is it a mere coincidence that most bipolar people I know are? I was in a group for coping with bipolar and 4 out 5 patients in the group were bi. I am not being ignorant or intolerant sorry if I sound that way, it just seems to be the norm.
I will be interested to read some statistics to find out more numbers...
Thanks for your posts they are all very informative
Alicia

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May, 16 2012 at 10:15 am

[...] Healthy Place – Writing Off People with a Mental Illness Hurts You, Not Us [...]

Sarah
May, 16 2012 at 9:03 am

Thanks for sharing! Loved it!

mef123
May, 16 2012 at 8:53 am

Thanks for this blog. I was rejected by a friend of my whole life a few years back. She stuck around when I was first diagnosed but when things got bad she got moving. It hurt. But I now know that she is not worth my energy. The strange part is I still have contact with her kids (7 and 10) because their grandmother takes them up to my aunts house to swim and I take my son. It's also sad because this was a family friend. Oh well.
Michele

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