I just read a rather old 'article' called Bipolar is not a Mental Illness, by Phil Hickey, who describes himself a a retired psychologist. I would like to know how on earth he 'treated' patients.
In his post, he continually blamed bipolar symptoms on behaving badly and not being disciplined as a child. He asserted it that is is not a valid illness and that people do not need medical treatment. I thought it was complete bullshit. I will post some quotes in red italics about his 'analysis' of some bipolar mania symptoms with my comments below each.
Distinct period of abnormally elevated, expansive or irritable mood:
"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."
Wow, bipolar is classified as a mood disorder. How very strange indeed! And how odd that someone in a mania episode can experience euphoria and/or irritability. Might never have believed it was possible if I had not experienced it myself!
Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity:
"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."
I guess I didn't get enough Sunday School if I believed I was a goddess. Or secretly I feel inferior to everyone else. Strange how my self-esteem only becomes over-inflated during manic episodes.
Decreased need for sleep:
"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."
How odd. I don't drink coffee and don't take stimulant drugs. Yet I needed dramatically less sleep during the same time that I had an excessively elevated mood. Then excess sleep when my mood was depressed.
More talkative than normal 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."
It was hard for anyone to get to me to talk at all during childhood. How odd it is that I can talk at a 'normal' pace when I'm not manic. Yet when hypomanic or manic, I have an urgency to keep talking. I How strange indeed. Yeah, I got called 'rude'. I wasn't doing it on purpose. But heap the blame on, why don't you?
Flight of ideas and racing thoughts:
"It’s clear from this definition that the real issue here is not so much flight of ideas as flight of speech.....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."
Clearly has no idea what flight of ideas is - leaping from one topic to another, typically in the same sentence. Yes it will be reflected in speech along with racing thoughts in someone during a mania episode. But again, how odd that I can stay on the same topic when I'm not manic. Plus speak at a more 'normal' pace.
Increase in goal-directed activity:
"It is clear that the real issue here is not goal-directed activity as such but rather irresponsible and inconsiderate activity. 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."
I obviously needed spankings as a child. Not enough discipline. Written 3 blog posts in the past two days. That's in increase in goal directed activity. Am I getting hypomanic? Oh, no, apparently I'm just being irresponsible and inconsiderate. How dare I mock someone's article!
Excessive pleasurable activities that have high risk of painful consequences (eg unrestrained spending sprees, sexual indiscretions, 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."
I'm sure my parents would agree with you. The strict discipline I received growing up was not enough. Rebelled against my Christian upbringing and brought shame on my family. Strange how I only did risk-taking behaviours and had lots of wild sex during mania episodes.
"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."
Yeah, I just like to pretend to be crazy for fun and entertainment. Go to a mental hospital for a holiday. Change my name on a whim. I did get told that 'crazy' girls are way better at sex.
"The central point of this and my earlier posts is that there are no mental illnesses."
And you trained to be a psychologist? Are you bullshitting me? What did you 'treat' your patients with? Spankings and exorcisms?
"The so-called mental illnesses are problems that do not require medical help."
Ignorance and stigma like this are why people suffer and die from suicide. I thought I didn't need help because I didn't believe I had bipolar disorder. I rejected the diagnosis - twice because I didn't trust psychiatrists and medications. I didn't even know what the symptoms were but I had every one of them. I was very unwell. I've suffered terribly. I'm still alive because I received medical help. How dare you invalidate my experiences and heap the blame on me and my parents for a mainly genetic disorder which can be managed with appropriate support and treatment.
link to the page from which these quotes were extracted (warning: this bullshit is harmful for your health)
I am no longer blogging or vlogging as a mental health and disability advocate. The politics of it is too toxic for me.