Bipolar Disorder Is Not An Illness

This post was edited and updated on June 24, 2013,  to address comments received from readers.  I thank them for their input.

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DSM-IV’s criteria for a manic episode are given below:

A. A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least 1 week (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary).


B. During the period of mood disturbance, three (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted (four if the mood is only irritable) and have been present to a significant degree:

(1) inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
(2) decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
(3) more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
(4) flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
(5) distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
(6) increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually)
or psychomotor agitation
(7) excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for
painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual
indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

C. The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode

D. The mood disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in
occupational functioning or in usual social activities or relationships with others, or
to necessitate hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or there are psychotic
features.

E. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a
drug of abuse, a medication, or other treatment) or a general medical condition (e.g.,
hyperthyroidism).


Note
: Manic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant
treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy) should not count
toward a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder.

The manic episode is an important part of the DSM system because it acts as the basis for a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. DSM lists several variations of Bipolar Disorder, each with its own specific criteria, but in general, if a person has had a manic or hypomanic episode, he has bipolar disorder.

Let’s take a look at criterion A. This criterion calls for a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated expansive or irritable mood, lasting at least a week… The DSM defines elevated mood as: an exaggerated feeling of well-being or euphoria or elation. Expansive mood is defined as a lack of restraint in expressing one’s feelings, frequently with an over-evaluation of one’s significance or importance. Finally irritable mood is defined as being easily annoyed and provoked to anger.

So the very basis for a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder is either feeling particularly good about everything or feeling particularly grumpy and angry. How can the same illness manifest itself in such completely different ways? And bear in mind that these are not relatively trivial, incidental aspects of the so-called illness. These are the defining features. The very essence of bipolar disorder – according to DSM – is an episode of profound happiness or an episode of profound grumpiness and irritability. This is indeed a strange illness.

But let’s move on to criterion B. This provides a list of seven specific “symptoms,” three of which must be present for a positive diagnosis. (Incidentally, if the mood problem in criterion A is “only irritable,” then four items are needed from the list.)

This practice of providing a list of symptoms and specifying how many must be present in order to provide a diagnosis is very common in DSM and raises obvious difficulties. First is the arbitrariness of the number chosen. Why three? Why not two or four? The answer, of course, is because the APA says so. The second objection is that different groupings of three will generate very different presentations. For instance, a person meeting criteria 1, 3 and 4 will be grandiose, overly talkative, and somewhat scattered in his choice of topics. Whereas a person who meets criteria 2, 5, and 7 will be sleeping very little, very distractible, and will be maxing out his credit cards in unrestrained buying sprees. The notion that these two presentations are in fact manifestations of the same illness is untenable. This is particularly so in that the only justification for this position is that the APA say so.

A more important difficulty stems from the question: Why should these problems be considered indications of illness? Let’s look at each of the so-called symptoms in turn.

1. inflated self-esteem or grandiosity.
In this context it is worth noting that one of the “symptoms” of a major depressive episode is “feelings of worthlessness…” So if you haven’t got enough self-esteem, you’re depressed, but if you have too much, you’re manic. This raises the question: how much self-esteem is OK, and how much (or how little) is pathological? Who decides? In practice, of course, intake workers at mental health centers and hospitals make the decision, and the decision-making is intrinsically subjective and unreliable. In an informal way, we have all encountered individuals who are “full of themselves” to an obnoxious degree. Intuitively we attribute this kind of behavior either to an attempt to mask a marked sense of inferiority or to poor socialization training during childhood. The notion that this character trait is really a symptom of an illness is an extreme position for which the APA offers no proof. Indeed there isn’t even an argument. The APA simply says so.

2. decreased need for sleep…
This is a complex subject. A great deal has been learned about sleep but much remains unknown. Sleeplessness might well be an indication of some neurological damage or illness, but might on the other hand be simply a reflection of individual differences. There are numerous reports in history of prominent individuals who managed perfectly well on four or five hours sleep each night. Others need eight or nine. It would require a neurological examination to determine if a particular sleep pattern were pathological or a variation of normal. But even if a pathological condition were established, this would indicate a neurological condition, not a so-called mental illness. It is also worth noting that a “decreased need for sleep” very often is nothing more than excessive intake of caffeine or other stimulant drugs.

3. more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
We’ve all encountered individuals who talk too much – who hog the conversation. This phenomenon is best conceptualized as rudeness, i.e. a disregard for the normal conventions that direct social intercourse. This particular form of rudeness is usually the result of poor training during childhood. Small children sometimes talk excessively and try to dominate social relationships in this way. If steps are not taken to train them towards a more give-and-take approach to conversation, they often carry this trait into adult life.

4. flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
DSM defines flight of ideas as: “A nearly continuous flow of accelerated speech with abrupt changes from topic to topic that are usually based on understandable associations, distracting stimuli, or plays on words. When severe, speech may be disorganized and incoherent.”

It’s clear from this definition that the real issue here is not so much flight of ideas as flight of speech. Most people in fact experience flight of ideas on a fairly regular basis. It’s called stream of consciousness, and it flows like a babbling brook, swishing and eddying around twists and turns, over rocks and sand banks, endlessly changing and shifting. Even as I write these words, for instance, my thoughts have flitted to actual streams and rivers I have known. The problem is not that the person experiences a bewildering array of successive ideas, but rather that he puts these ideas into words. Most of us learn to censor stream of consciousness material at an early age and to confine our speech to items that have meaning and relevance for our listeners. A small number of poets and song-writers have managed to make a good living by dispensing with this kind of censorship, but most of us confine our verbal utterances to those ideas that have cogency and relevance for others. We call it discipline or self-control. Once again, it is lacking in small children whose early speech does indeed reflect stream of consciousness material. Proud parents are usually delighted with this initially, because it represents a major developmental breakthrough. Most parents, however, fairly soon begin the process of training and coaching that results in what we would call normal speech. If this training does not occur or is thwarted or frustrated for whatever reason, then the individual grows up without acquiring this skill. As with many skills normally acquired in childhood, it can be extremely difficult to learn in later life.

This facet of the manic presentation then is best conceptualized as a deficit in training and socialization, rather than a symptom of a medical condition.

5. distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
This is essentially the same thing as the flight of ideas discussed above. The effect of splitting this phenomenon into two separate “symptoms” is to increase the likelihood of a positive “diagnosis.” Remember, it takes three (or more) symptoms for a diagnosis. If a person displays flight of ideas, he will almost certainly also meet the criteria for distractibility. So you get two hits for the price of one. The primary purpose of DSM is to generate business for psychiatrists.

6. increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work, or school, or sexually )or
psychomotor agitation

Most people would probably see an increase in goal-directed activity as a good thing. Painting the garage or mowing the yard is better than vegetating in front of the television. But this is not quite what the APA has in mind by “goal-directed activity.” Elsewhere in the text they describe goal-directed activity that is “excessive” and as examples they mention: “ taking on multiple new business ventures…without regard for the apparent risks…,” “…calling friends or even strangers at all hours of the day or night…;”
“…writing a torrent of letters on many different topics to friends, public figures, or the media.”

It is clear that the real issue here is not goal-directed activity as such but rather irresponsible and inconsiderate activity. Once again, responsibility and consideration for others are attributes that we acquire during childhood through the normal methods of parental discipline, coaching, role modeling, etc.. When we see a person displaying a marked deficit in these areas the most parsimonious assumption is that his/her training and discipline in these areas was for some reason neglected or deficient. The notion that the person is ill is certainly not obvious. The APA offers no proof or even arguments for this position.

7. excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g. engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments) 
Once again, what’s involved here is what most people would call irresponsibility: the kind of behavior we try to discourage in our children through the normal time-honored methods of discipline and example. The notion that these kinds of irresponsible and self-indulgent behaviors are in fact caused by a diagnosable illness is quite a reach. Bipolar disorder, like most of the other DSM diagnoses, is not something a person has, but is rather something that a person does. It is constantly presented by the APA, and by practitioners in the field, however, as something a person has (like diabetes) and something that is best treated with drugs.

I realize that many people reading this post will say that I’ve got it all wrong – that I’ve misrepresented the reality of the condition called bipolar disorder.  They might say that people with this “diagnosis” are “crazy” – not just irresponsible or self-indulgent.  And there is a measure of truth in this.  Some of the individuals who are assigned this label do sometimes behave in a “crazy” fashion.  But it’s important to note that in the DSM, this aspect of the matter – “psychotic features” – is included almost as an afterthought.  It is not one of the defining features of a manic episode.  Rather, it is something that may be present.

What the APA is doing here is trying to have their cake and eat it too.  By including the possibility of psychotic features, they create the impression that this is a very serious matter; but by not making psychotic features a requirement, they manage to extend the diagnostic net to include people with relatively mild problems.

I will discuss psychotic features in later posts on the topic of “schizophrenia.”

The fact that lithium has a calming affect on individuals who behave in this manner is often cited as proof that the behavior in question really does stem from an illness. The logic is untenable. A couple of beers can be very effective in helping shy people overcome their inhibitions. Very few rational people would conclude from this that shyness is an illness and alcohol a “medication.” In addition, lithium has a calming effect on all people – not just those who carry a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Lithium carbonate is a salt – found widely in nature – and until 1949 was sold openly in the United States as a substitute for table salt. Besides having a salty taste, lithium salt has a calming effect on people’s behavior. With regards to the latter, the mechanism of action is unknown. There have been numerous proposed theories, but none has produced conclusive evidence or gathered much support.

In some respects the shyness/alcohol analogy mentioned earlier is even more apt. The chronically shy person can acknowledge his problem and take corrective action using the normal time-honored methods of effecting personal change. Or he can simply drink a couple of beers before every social situation. Either solution to the problem will work. Similarly the manically irresponsible person can acknowledge his problem behaviors and tackle them in the normal way – or he can take lithium carbonate. The latter is often quite effective in dampening the behavioral excesses, but like the alcohol, it also has some long-term side effects.

The central point of this and my earlier posts is that there are no mental illnesses. There are problems of living – problems that human beings encounter, sometimes resolve, sometimes live with. The so-called mental illnesses are an attempt to explain or understand these phenomena, but as explanations they are spurious, unhelpful, and indeed, counter-productive. They are merely labels.

A perfect analogy to the mental illness explanation of human problems is the phlogiston explanation of fire or the witchcraft theories of illness and crop destruction. The popularity of a concept is often independent of its validity. The phlogiston theory of fire is a good example. This theory, which held sway among scientists during the 1600’s and most of the 1700’s, maintained that combustible objects contain an element called phlogiston which was released when the object was burned. Non-flammable objects simply didn’t have this substance. Towards the end of the 1700’s evidence was gradually amassed to debunk the theory in favor of the oxygen-combination ideas of today. Many scientists, however, including Joseph Priestley (the discoverer of oxygen!), tried to cling to the older theory. Similarly, in former years, sickness and crop failures were often attributed to witchcraft. Here again, we have a spurious theory, i.e. that sickness and crop failures are caused by the actions of these so-called witches. Such thinking – back in the days – was very widespread, and witch-burnings were popular events. But the concept was nonsense, and today, thanks to science, we have a better understanding of the causes of illnesses and crop failures. Popularity is a very unreliable barometer for conceptual validity. Phlogiston doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing as witchcraft. And there are no mental illnesses. Fire, however, does exist. Crop failures and illness are realities. And human problems of living are real. People are complex and diverse and the problems we encounter on our journey through life are also complex and diverse. Some of the problems we meet are relatively minor and easy to deal with. Others can be truly overwhelming. Some are indeed medical problems and require medical help. Others do not.

The so-called mental illnesses are problems that do not require medical help. The medicalization of all human problems of living is as spurious as the phlogiston and witchcraft theories mentioned earlier. It is also counter-productive. Drugs are not an effective solution to life’s problems any more than the burning of so-called witches was a solution to crop failures or illness.

The medicalization of all human problems is about turf. The American Psychiatric Association is the psychiatrists’ trade union, and has as its primary agenda the promotion of its members’ interests. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with this – all trade associations do the same. That’s why they exist. The problem with the APA, however, is that they have been so successful. At the present time one would be hard pressed to identify any problem of human living that is not covered by a DSM “diagnosis.” The purpose of these diagnoses is to legitimize psychiatric intervention and the prescription of drugs in any and every human problem.

At the risk of repetition, I am not saying that people should not use drugs. It is not for me to tell people what they should or should not ingest. These are decisions that people have to make for themselves. What I do object to, though, are the spurious notions that these pharmaceutical products are medicines, and that they are being prescribed to combat illnesses.

Next Post: Adjustment Disorder:  Everyone can have a mental illness

  • Circa

    Some people choose not to use meds, fine. But they shouldn’t look down on those who choose otherwise. I think it’s referred to as “pill shaming” and it really pisses me off. Also, I notice that many of these people don’t hesitate to use alcohol as a medication.

  • Circa

    For me, it really doesn’t matter how they work. Antipsychotics are basically horse tranquilizers and I use them to curb mania. Being drug-free isn’t much consolation when I’m throwing away my life. I know the drugs are bad for me. So is being insane.

  • Circa

    No, but one “easy way out” (and it seems to work for Memay) is to fuel one’s misguided sense of superiority by putting down others and their choices. Anyway, Memay’s aggression and hostility aren’t actually markers of mental health. This person can safely be ignored.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Tom,

    Thanks for coming in. I’d be more than happy to research any references or evidence that you provide in support of your assertion, that the actions known as “bipolar disorder” constitute an illness.

  • Ronald Jones

    Get a grip. Bipolar illness is very real. You’re either in denial or full of shit

  • Circa

    Yes, it is very real. However, it’s not an illness; it’s a disorder.

  • Someone Who Knows

    You clearly have never experienced a manic episode or met anyone who was experiencing a manic episode. Frankly, you have no idea what you’re talking about and are spreading harmful misinformation.

  • Francesca Simpson

    Manic person here. Phil Hickey has got it right. Please check out http://www.goodbyepie.com on Monday.

  • RealityRita

    Humans have been gullible since the beginning of time. The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob made it so simple for us:
    He is ONE God.
    He authored only ONE Holy Written Scripture.
    He gave us His ONLY Begotten Son to die for our sins.
    He commands us to follow – and obey – only Him.
    He is not a “religion”
    He is not a “version”
    He is not a “denomination”.
    .
    We (humans) decided we didn’t much care for what our Creator has to say – so we set out and began creating our own lit’l “gods” – as well as our own lit’l “bibles” since we also decided we didn’t much care for what God says. (i.e. Niv, Esv, Nwt, etc). – Then, we began creating our own lit’l denominations even though God warns us not to divide ourselves up like that – i.e. methodists, episco, baptists, lutheran, catholic, mormon, etc.
    .
    Then we decided God shouldn’t be allowed in our schools – so we yanked Him -and His Holy Written Word – out. Kicked Him and His Written Word to the curb.
    .
    In a couple of decades, the next few generations are raised with no God – no Written Word – no morals – no respect nor decency – no mention (nor hope) of an eternal salvation that can ONLY come from Jesus Christ.
    .
    Nowadays – we raise our children giving them whatever they want – let them do whatever they want – with little to no consequences nor accountability. Our kids have learned if they want something – and are told no – all they have to do is pitch a fit – hit the streets and protest – burn a building down – torch a cop car – because they are smart enough to know that eventually they will wear down society – and society (and the parents and govt) will give them exactly what they have demanded.
    .
    We – human parents – have raised a nation of absolute spoiled adult brats.
    .
    Bi-polar? lol no – that is a fancy “medical” term for a parent(s) who didn’t do their job in raising their children in the proper manner – as God commanded them to. So now? Yep, our children are now grown up spoiled lit’l brats who cannot fathom being told no – and they absolutely refuse to take no for an answer. Parents want to try to escape accountability for their lack of parenting – so they readily accept the “professionals” and their “diagnosis” – why? Because if they can affix an “official” label on their child – that means it isn’t the parents’ fault for how the spoiled child turned out !!!!
    .
    Satan is very deceptive – and these “disorders” are just more of his tools he uses to continue to divide families – and to dumb down society. And take a look around you – he is successfully managing to con parents into feeding high doses of meds into their children – as well as getting the parents to gobble them down, too.
    .
    Wake up, people – wake up.
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    NOTE: Before multiple “bi-polar” people respond, keep in mind of this FACT: Bi-polar is not a disease – there is NOT even one single “test” (blood/tissue,etc) for it. They diagnose it by ruling out any/all other ailments or legitimate diseases – then when they run out of things to rule out – they slap that “bi-polar” label on the forehead – and scribble you out an Rx med.

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  • Jane Dough

    Yesterday – after finding this article – was my ‘eye opening’ moment – I sat here reading this – and kept saying, “This writer has hit it square on the head”. Thank you for your article, Mr. Hickey.
    I have never been diagnosed with “bipolar” – but reading all of the “experts” opinions and diagnosis characteristics, I suppose I “could” be diagnosed on some days of the week. Because there are some days that I get “over raged” in traffic – other days that someone makes me so mad I could bite nails. Could I be diagnosed with “bipolar” or some other “mental illness” for feeling that way? According to the DSM – yep. And I wouldn’t have to look too hard to find a “doctor” that would be more than happy to write me out an Rx for it.
    .
    Today we call children/young adults the “snowflake” generation – those who have been raised with little to no moral/decency or ethical upbringing – but if you stop and think, the original “snowflakers” would be their parents – who reached “adulthood” and began pitching fits when we couldn’t sleep – or when we didn’t get what we wanted – or when someone told us (gasp!) “No”. So we followed (like the blind sheep we are) straight to the “shrinks” office – to waaah waaah to him/her – and then him/her wrote us out an Rx for a little something to help “take the edge off”. We took it – and then realized that not only did the lit’l pill calm down our fit pitching, it also gave us a lifetime excuse to tell people everytime we were seen or heard pitching our lit’l “I want it all and I want it now” fits, we can now tell them, “But – but – but – I’ve got bipolar” – i.e. don’t expect me to be responsible – nor accountable – for my immature behavior, it’s not me – it’s the mental illness.”
    .
    So called “mental illness” medicines are just another tool that satan is using on us to get us to continue to blame something else for our words/actions/thoughts so that we don’t have to take responsibility for ourselves and our choices.
    .
    It is as plain as the nose on my face now.
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    Thank you, Mr. Hickey ! What an eye opener!

  • Jane Dough

    Just guessing – but sounds like – to me anyhow – that you may have been diagnosed with ADHD – and now when someone challenges (threatens) that, you start to hyperventilate – why? Because if your “diagnosis” is taken away from you, that means YOU are going to have to start being responsible – and accountable – for YOUR actions – words – choices.
    .
    And yes, there are “single, objective, scientific tests” that prove (and diagnose) cancers, diabetes and heart disease. With those medical conditions, there ARE legitimate methods used to determine if they are present in the body.
    But using the methods that these “shrinks” use ….. I suppose a patient could show up at their office, tell the shrink that their heart hurts – and the shrink could determine that their heart is just sad and depressed – and write the patient out with a medicine that will make them “feel” better.
    .

  • Jane Dough

    I disagree, Betty – what you went through when your Grandfather died was something that all humans go through at one point or more in their lives – it’s called “grief”. His death did not bring on “BP” – it brought on grief – and emotions that are difficult for humans to handle sometimes.
    .
    There are no “medical” tests for BP – the “experts” go through and rule out other symptoms/issues – and when they can’t find something wrong with the person, they will slap the “BP” label on them, write ’em out an Rx for it, and then that person is now hooked for life on a mind altering drug that will help them not to feel.
    .
    Remember a decade or so ago when the “experts” decided that salt was bad for us – but now the truth emerges about how our bodies actually NEED salt. Yet, I’m sure you have friends – as I do- whose houses you can go to – and they don’t even have a salt shaker anymore. Why? Because they were told by “experts” (mainstream media) that it was baaaaaaaaaaaaad for them.
    .
    lol we humans simply need to wake up.
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    Don’t be a sheep, Betty – our society (the whole world) has turned into one big ole herd of (blind) sheep.

  • Jane Dough

    Excellent – just excellent – thank you, Emma – you hit it square on the head.

  • Jane Dough

    It sounds – to me – like you think you are more stable because the drugs they have you on have numbed your brain to a ‘stable’ level.
    .
    And of course taking the drug(s) you are feeling “calmness” – I can take the same drug you are taking and I betcha I will also feel “calmness” – and I’m not a BP/shrink victim.

  • Jane Dough

    No – what you are feeling isn’t “fake” – it’s real. However, you are feeling rage – and anger – and pent up resentments – and probably a whole host of other emotions.
    .
    The bottom line is – we ALL experience those same emotions – every single human being on planet Earth goes through those very emotions at some point in their lives – some more so than others.
    The difference – and the point being – there are those who don’t like dealing with those “negative” kinds of feelings/emotions – and seek out a shrink or medical doctor – to prescribe them a medicine (or two or three or four, etc) – so that they can numb their minds into not feeling.
    .
    Then the patient swears that the medicine(s) are a wonder cure. When in fact, the meds are not curing you – the meds are killing your brain cells into a state of numbness.
    .
    I am in total agreement with the idea that all of these so called “mental illnesses” are indeed a result of poor parenting and social skills – simply put, the adult patient is responding to life/problems in the only way they’ve been conditioned to – by pitching fits and temper tantrums. i.e. if I don’t get my way, I’ll yell – curse – throw things – lash out at the first person that gets in my way.
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  • Jane Dough

    Okay your comment made me laugh – you are suggesting to trade one drug for another. Goodness.

  • Jane Dough

    Your claim of being atheist will probably block any logic I’m about to suggest – but I’ve learned today that even (so called) Christians don’t want to hear truth. So here it is:
    .
    God (the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob) created you – me – all of us. He tells us to follow – and obey Him – and to do that we have to know what He says in His Holy Written Word. Mankind did that for awhile – but as most humans tend to do, we began to get too big for our britches – and got filled up with pride (and p*ss and vinegar, too) and decided that we (humans) know more than God – and what do we need God for anyhow. So we (society) began nudging Him out of our homes – schools – and lives. We thought we could handle our lives just fine on our own.
    Decades – centuries – ions – later, we have begun to see the consequences for our choices – just as God tells us we will.
    .
    Your “episodes” are yes, very powerful – probably very disruptive – but not so “strange”. God tells us in His Written Word how deceptive satan is – and how he will bring us under attack – which includes attacking the mind. What you are “feeling” is satan pulling at you to keep you away from God and His Written Word. And if you are truly an atheist, then it would appear that satan has claimed you as just another one of his many, many victims.
    .
    Oh wait, what’s that you said? You don’t believe in satan either? Well, open your ears, my friend – satan believes in you – and counts on you to remain lost in your own thoughts – listening to the world – and yes, to continue to swallow down those mind altering drugs.
    .
    If you want to be healed – truly healed – you cry out to Jesus Christ for HIS healing – He can – and will – heal your mind of these “episodes”. He gave us quite a few examples in His Written Word where He healed people of demonic behavior and thoughts.
    .
    People ask me what the harm is in listening/watching the Joel Osteens and Joyce Meyers of this world. Well, read some of these comments on this forum – and you will see a good bit of the harm. These “prosperity peddlers” teach their “fans” that life is supposed to be all rosy and happy – they teach their “audience” to reject ANY/ALL negativity that they might encounter during their lives. These “preachers” are what God’s Word describes as “satan’s ministers” – who teach false doctrine to those of us who are willing to listen and follow.
    .
    I’ve recently been looking for other housing in my city – and in going through the ads I got to noticing the number of them that actually state things like, “Must be positive” – or “No negativity allowed in my home” – etc. I can just about bet that those people are “fans” of the Meyers and the Osteens of this world – who are teaching them that life should be alllllll about me, me and me – and it’s alllllllll about my, my and my happiness.
    .
    Wouldn’t it be great if life was like that? Absolutely nothing bad – nothing negative – nothing at all that would ever dare make us feeeeeeel bad or have bad thoughts.
    But – reality is – life is about the good – and the bad. It is about happy times – and sad/bad times. That is what life is. We can choose to accept that – and deal with it.
    Or we can run find a shrink that will prescribe us a lit’l pill that will help us to not have to feeeeeeel the bad thoughts/things.
    .
    Also keep in mind – if you believe in no God – then you are rejecting Jesus Christ. And Jesus is the ONLY (o-n-l-y) way you will have a chance at eternal life. Many people (in today’s society) falsely believe that if they claim to not believe in God – then they can escape accountability for their lives/choices/sins.
    It don’t work that way, my friend – whether “you” choose to believe in God or not doesn’t – in any shape, form or fashion – change His existence – or judgement.
    .
    Again – we all have to make our own choices. Choose wisely – because this choice can give you something – or cost you everything.
    .

  • Jane Dough

    Maybe Phil called him ‘rude and irresponsible’ because he was being ‘rude and irresponsible’.
    .
    Fact check me on this, please – – – — BP is NOT a medical diagnosed disease. It is a behavior that the person exhibits – due to a host of many possible reasons.
    Your comment of, “Why would a tall, handsome, intelligent middle class guy have feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts?” – – Your description of yourself (“tall/handsome”) might be your first clue?
    .
    And you ask what’s stopping you from losing all hope and killing yourself? – Let me ask you this – what is stopping the non BPers from losing all hope and killing ourselves – – – – Because we also had a flat tire on our way to work – the boss undermined me for the third time this week – I caught my teenager drinking again – I stubbed my toe walking to the bathroom today. ETC. But guess what, Ian – I dealt with those things – and all with no drug inducement.
    .
    This might sound cliche-ish – but pull up your big boy pants and learn to deal with it. It’s called “LIFE” – and life isn’t always rosy and cotton candy, my friend. Sometimes it will bring you to your knees and zap every ounce of energy and strength from your very soul. As ADULTS, we can choose to deal with these things – or we can choose to run find a shrink who will hand us an Rx for a med that will numb our brains into not having to pull up our big person pants and deal with it.
    .
    Perhaps you weren’t brought up in a home where you had proper bounderies – and discipline – – I know so many adults who were raised just that way – spoiled is what we’ve always called it – and they have all been “diagnosed” as having BP. Imagine that.

  • Jane Dough

    And let me guess – if Francesca called you out on your rude/vile language you use in your comments, I bet the first thing out of your mouth would be, “Not my fault, I’m bipolar”.
    .
    You are like millions of others, Aaron – you don’t want to take responsibility for YOUR choices – you opt instead to stay the child that you are acting like – and then blame it on BP.
    .
    Good grief we have raised a society of lit’l children in adult bodies.

  • Jane Dough

    So anything that you find offensive, you want taken down, Neil? See, you prove a good point for me – our society has been conditioned to believing that we can’t say anything if it might offend someone – truth be damned, right?
    .
    No – that isn’t how life works, Neil. If something offends you, then perhaps it’s something that you need to be offended by. Meaning, find out why it’s offending you – they say the truth hurts sometimes – and in the BP debate, it seems the pro-BPers are the ones feeling “offended”.
    .
    Same thing with Christians – when I try to tell them to read Jeremiah 10 – about how we are told not to cut down that tree, bring it inside – and then “deck it in silver and gold” – God says that is idolatry.
    But tell that to a (so called) Christian – and they will go nuts on you. Why? Because they have bought into satan’s lie about xmas being Jesus’ birthday, when xmas hasn’t the first thing to do with God, Jesus, His Written Word nor the Holy Ghost. Zero – nadda – zilch.
    .
    As Jack Nicholson famously cries out to Tom Cruise …. “You can’t handle the truth.”
    .

  • Jane Dough

    BP is not a disease, John – do your research, please. It is a label that the shrinks came up with to “diagnose” all of the adult children we now have in our society.
    .
    Yes you are a victim, though – but you are choosing to be – and stay – a victim.

  • Jane Dough

    What you’ve described isn’t symptoms of BP – but rather poor choices on your part. You have decided to not make any changes to YOU – and opt rather to blame BP for your poor choices.
    .
    Sad – just simply sad what our society has become.

  • Rob

    Nobody dismisses the reality of the symptoms of disturbing emotions and cognitive struggles. The point is, some claim certain sets of symptoms are “abnormal” and a sign of biological malfunctioning and chemical and neurological defects, while others claim there’s no scientific evidence for this theory. People assume their misery is caused by a medical condition, in part because that’s the popular idea these days.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Jane,

    Thanks for coming in, and for your support.

    Best wishes.

  • Aaron David

    If there was any alcohol or drugs involved and you were up for days and days sober causing pyschosis. You werent manic period. The real truth and not pharmas is about to come out. at that point its you thats going to have to take responsibility for your life. you wont be given victim status anymore and you wont be able to go around calling yourself something when everyone knows what it is now. Do i sound like i dont know what i’m talking about hahaaha.

  • Sky

    Ok, I have this disorder. And it’s not just being happy or angry. It’s about being do mad but you can’t control it. You don’t have Bipolar Disorder so you shouldn’t be talking about something you don’t even understand. This is a great way to express your opinion but your facts are wrong. In my experience, I have blacked out during a manic episode. It wouldn’t surprise me if you thought I was psychotic, but what you say about this scary and horrific disorder hurts.

    Have you ever talked to someone with severe bipolar disorder? Why judge them for wanting to be able to not have there emotions, and I’m using personification, screaming and fighting to control you. Have you ever watched all the people you care and love walk away from you because you couldn’t keep your emotions in check no matter how hard you tried. Have you ever even experienced a manic episode and be so exhausted afterward and the exhaustion lasts for days or even weeks or even months? If not, then you have no right to say this isn’t a real disorder. Because it is. Oh and they also have a way to test if it’s real with out having to dig through your brain. It’s called a brain scan. You should look them up. You don’t know the pain of being so tired that you can’t breathe.

    Have you ever spent three hours on the floor screaming and crying because your head feels like it’s going to explode. It’s not just a mood disorder it’s also a personality disorder. But it doesn’t involve other people, it involves your emotions. I have had to if been hospitalized for it. But that’s not something you can ever understand. It’s not all in our heads. It’s not created by stress. It’s created by extremely difficult and TRAUMATIC experiences. I can’t believe how disgraceful you are. You have no empathy for those in pain. News flash but doctors hate putting teenagers on medication and even adults. How do I know? Because I have one who refuses to allow me to go on anymore meds. She hates that I am even medication. But someone as uneducated as you couldn’t understand that. What you wrote on there is your opinion. I respect that. But it hurts me to know that my disorder that DOES NOT define me, but is a part of me, is being discarded like trash. That’s all I have to say about it. Maybe people like you are the ones who are mentally ill. Because that’s what I’m starting to think is wrong. Oh and I wouldn’t want to be “normal”. It’s a dryer setting if you can’t figure that out.

  • Sky

    Then you’re obviously faking it. Because if you really had it, you would understand.

  • Sky

    Thank. You. I feel that! Except I also had a bit of a rough childhood. I’ve been seeing therapists since I was 6. And I’m only 16. I’ve actually had signs of bipolar since I was four. And yes to those who are going to be idiotic and have to disagree because they don’t understand, it happens. It’s rare but it happens. And me having a name for what’s going on in my head is the most amazing thing in the world. But they don’t understand that. Sadly they grew up thinking the world was cupcakes, rainbows, and unicorns that shit glitter. But news flash to them. It’s not. I at least have a grasp and very very good knowledge of reality. They obviously don’t understand.

  • Sky

    Excuse me? Are you fucking serious? No. That’s crossing the line. You don’t get to fucking say that suicide isn’t fucking real. I ACCEPT MYSELF. I’m on drugs but I fucking accept myself because I don’t feel alone. Have you ever been so abused and bullied and pushed around and crushed without a reason? Have you ever experienced anything that you could barely recover from? I fucking black put during manic episode. And I come out of it holding a knife as blood drips down my wrist. I’m done pretending that isn’t fucking real. I’m done hiding my scars because I am fucking tired of the bullshit questions. I have low self esteem yes. But guess what, I love myself. I am a beautiful person. But I at least know that I am strong. I am fucking educated. I have a better sense of what happens in THE REAL WORLD than you ever will. I experienced that at a young age. An age no person ever should deal with. The shit I’ve been through has eaten away at me because I wonder why it happened to me. Your a prick. And I’m so glad I don’t have to know you outside of here. You disgust the hell out of me.

  • Sky

    You couldn’t possibly understand. I’m done hiding from the world. I’m going to tell the world my story. I’m not going to stop. We are going to be heard. We are going to show you how fucked up and wrong you are. I don’t know how you can tell people who know it’s real that it’s not. I don’t fucking care about your opinion anymore. You’re the worst kind of disease there is. And your plaguing the world.

  • Sky

    Thank you for that. You’re an amazing person. The psych is scary… people are always screaming. And the one I went to had a secure unit and the put me in there and the first person I met wanted to kill everyone… I’ve experienced a lot. And what you and a few others have said makes me happy to know that people aren’t as dumb as I thought. I was worried that no one had bipolar… didn’t stop me from posting though. People like us don’t want their pity. Or approval. But we would love to be acknowledged in the way we deserve.

  • Sky

    They are not over reactions. Your a idiot. Try seeing a therapist and not having anything happen. I refused medication because I thought it would make me a zombie. But it didn’t. I am still me. But my “over reactions” and my “tantrums” are gone. You are disgusting. I not only have major depression but I have mania. I was 11 when I was diagnosed and the doctor who diagnosed me, spent days watching me and running tests they do to look at how you work. How you react. How you function. I have a name for the things that go on tiny head. I used to think it was freak. Have you ever begged someone to be normal as they are trying to get you calm enough so you don’t hurt yourself? Because honestly. You seem to be with the kind of people who believe the world is cupcakes, rainbows, and unicorns that shit glitter. It’s not.

  • Sky

    Thank you so much… you are an amazing person. You have given me more strength to keep writing the paper I am for an English class… you made me cry too lol… your story is amazing. I’ve been on a lot of sites and they are so… it’s so hard to see that you are basically being discarded like trash because you’re different… I’m 16 and I have been through more than the average adult experiences. And most were a really young age. By people who were supposed to love and care for me… I was wondering if you had any thoughts on if I should talk to my high school about me sharing my story… I’ve been contemplating this for a year and I need someone to help me know if it’s a good idea… and Rob. Stay away from this. I have no desire to hear your hate make me lose more self esteem because I’m not your definition of normal.

  • Sky

    I agree. If they put me on meds or ask me if I want I med change, I ask for their suggestions and then go research them. We aren’t drug addicts. I honestly hate taking medication. But I feel like an actual person on them. I haven’t been able to actually get any sleep and wake up feeling completely energized in so long. But now that I have some stuff to help me function better so I can do what I need to, I feel better. And it’s not to promote “drugs” do you want to know how much my medication costs Rob? It will cost me around 3,000 because they don’t want people taking it. So 1. Learn your facts. 2. If you want to argue about this, get a degree and 3. Stop judging what you don’t understand.

  • Sky

    Shut up. Seriously. Who the Fuck do you think you are to tell anyone what they have. How their brain functions. I don’t even….Your stupidity gets even worse as you go. Congrats on that. You get the stupidity of many years trophy.

  • Sky

    And who’s fault is that for raising us that way? Hmm? Because I didn’t know any better. Am I supposed to know how to be an adult if I can’t even walk. Or eat actual food. That’s your “generations” fault. We are brought up by you. And we’re doing a DNA better job than your generation. We know more about the world. You want to talk about moral decency, how about all the bashing you guys do towards adults you don’t like. Or the stupid bull shit you guys talk about. And oh let’s not forget all the racist bull shit you all pulled. Oh this person is African, let’s beat the shit out of them because the are different. Of your Christian? God isn’t real and your a dumb Fuck? Weed is bad for you, but it’s not like we did it too. Wow you guys are always on social media and staring at your screens, but it’s not like that’s how we grew up. It must be our fault for YOURS AND PAST GENERATIONS for making them. Oh you don’t go outside because it’s not like your working or doing homework for school. And when you do go outside its not like you get off your screens and go to do biking, swimming, white water rafting, rock climbing, hiking, running, snowboarding, skiing, surfing. It’s not like you don’t do sports at school. It’s not like we are more educated than your generation. It’s not like we can see the truth behind everything.

    Oh I was once a teenager, but that doesn’t matter because I was the perfect Angel. I’m sorry, but your full of shit. When you get a fucking degree in psychology or you start to experience one. Then you can have a say. But if not, then shut the Fuck up and stick to what you know. Yes I cuss. Get the Fuck over it. No acting like a childish brat because there are things you don’t understand and things your ashamed of. Are you always happy? Have you ever watched someone you love die right in front of you? I get to be sad. My bipolar doesn’t define me. You’re just the idiot who assumes everything. Your an ass. A prick. How many hearts have you broken because they weren’t good enough for you? How many people have you talked badly about because they were different? I can go on forever. I look shit up. I don’t trust the school education. I know better. Because it’s fake. I look up a lot. I am actually ashamed of the way YOUR GENERATION acts. Oh I don’t like Donald Trump but I’m just going with what everyone else says and rioting because I have to bitch about something.

    There is always something to bitch about. Yeah, way to make our country proud. What your saying in your comments is complete bull shit. Your not mature or responsible. You may have a job, but your a selfish prick. And I hope you realize how much of a dumb ass you are. Go sit in a mental hospital and tell me that mental illness isn’t real. I’m done with allowing you all to get away with this. I’m going to show the world what it’s like to have a mental illness. And it’s going to change. Our generation is stopping racism. I don’t see people for the color of their skin, but the way they present themselves.

    You treat us like garbage, but don’t want to get to know us. And then expect us to treat you with respect? HELL NO. And especially not after how you’re acting like. How would you like to be ridiculed because you have a mental illness? It’s a real fucking thing. If you were in my head, you wouldn’t last for even one day. I grew up at the age of three. Disagree all you like. But you don’t know my life. You don’t get to fucking judge someone because you’re scared of different people. Because you’re scared to go out of the socially acceptable. You can’t make a judgement if you don’t understand.

    You don’t get a say if you don’t have it. Discriminating mental illness is EXACTLY being racist. Argue all you want. But in the future when you have children and they kill themselves because you didn’t give a Fuck if they had a mental illness, that will be your wake up call. We live in a society where it’s not socially acceptable to speak against the media. Against what everyone else follows. I’m not sorry for breaking the status quo. I’m not blaming ANYTHING on my MENTAL ILLNESS. I take responsibility. You’re immature.

    You don’t give a Fuck about others. What would you say if your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend husband or any kind of relationship your in had committed suicide. You would think your a fucking dumb ass because you didn’t get them help. I bet your one of those brats who got raised and spoiled by their parents. Your a lucky person. I wasn’t that lucky. Have you ever had to deal with people who hated you because you were unstable?