This post was written by a student in Susan Schuyler’s Narrative, Rhetoric, and Identity class at Stanford University. Each student in this class will complete a research-based argument related to the course topic.
It is known that there have been great people in history that have been diagnosed with Manic Depression, more commonly known as Bipolar Disorder. Many of them were presidents, artists, poets, writers, and many of them had great accomplishments in their fields. However many others diagnosed suffer greatly, to the point of committing suicide. The hardships that this disease can bring upon the ill are numerous, however many that survive and live life in a normal way say that the support they received from the people close to them was key to move on.
Although there is no cure for Bipolar Disorder with advances in medicine there are now multiple medication treatments available. The medication’s purpose is to stabilize the mood of the person taking it. Keeping them from climbing into the high’s of mania and from falling into the low’s of depression. Medication on a daily basis along with compliance to certain lifestyle guidelines, such as getting the necessary sleep and staying sober, are crucial in order to remain healthy.
Being told that you are going to be medicated indefinitely is hard to accept. There is something about the concept that your body is not functioning to its optimal potential that does not sit well with most people. By taking the medication the person is constantly reminded that he is mentally ill, bringing about questions of identity. The medication allows the person to live a normal life. The problem is what does it mean to live a normal life, when this illness is part of it every day. Multiple questions and confusion arise concerning to what extent does the disease affect who a person is and how he acts. I believe that it is important to study in what ways does this disease affects the persons identity in order to learn how to better support the people that have this condition while at the same time reducing the stigma of Bipolar Disorder by creating more awareness.