1 Word to Describe It

The terms to underline and name the hatred of people with other skin tones, gender, or orientation exist. We know when we hear racism, sexism and homophobia and can stand against them. But when Uncle Joe is diagnosing his barber as so crazy, completely bipolar, what do we say then?

A term that came to mind this week, would be to say Uncle Joe was acting like a stigmatizer.

I made it up, because I couldn’t think of a single word to describe prejudice against someone who was neurodivergent. Really bothered me, because if there is no word for it, the insults, the snubs and the derision didn’t really happen. And, we know they did.

What are your thoughts about the new term? Can you think of another?

Happy Manic Monday! -Rebecca


An Opinion, A Fact, A Diagnosis?

A conversation today brought up a topic that made me really uncomfortable. I didn’t know the person well, and they began to go quickly from an opinion about someone’s lack of mental health to a diagnosis. His diatribe went something like this:

“My dad’s neighbor, he’s crazy. I mean really crazy. He’s psychotic, bipolar, schizophrenic.”

Really? Another educated person from a nice family maligning me unawares? My eyes rolled skyward. He didn’t notice. My internal monologue was running. “Do I come out of the mental health closet? Do I say I have bipolar? Do I not? Do I?” I do not.

Spiffy rejoiners came to me six hours after the fact.

What if I said, “So you know a lot about mental health. How can you tell if you’re talking to someone with bipolar?” (leading question…) “Is it the way their face looks? (I’d wait for their answers) “The way they stand? What they say? Do they say the sky is green? Do they talk a mile a minute? Do they have grandiose illusions? Suicidal ideation?”

Or I could simply say, “Bipolar, you mean like me?”

I want to educate people. I’ve passed for regular vanilla long enough. Time for the big reveal that I am pineapple mango surprise.

I’m going to think of funny quips that sum up symptoms, to let people know what they are. I’m going to be as brave as the people who’ve marched for civil rights. Next time I’ll say:

“Bipolar, like me.”

and let the chips fall where they may.

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca


Another 1 Bites the Dust

My therapist is quitting. Last week she phrased it as if I were “graduating” from therapy. Then she asked right away how I felt about it. I said I’d think about it and tell her the next time although I knew right away. How did I feel? Abandoned, thank you.

Now, we aren’t a perfect fit. She knows nothing about child development and hasn’t moved to correct that deficiency in the four years I’ve seen her. Being a parent is an important part of who I am. So, I found my answers on the internet like everyone else because she was of little help.

My sense of humor has defended and sustained me through difficult times. My “gallows humor” is a coping mechanism that has served me well. She discouraged me from using it to defend myself emotionally, yet she also had trouble with the result, more tears.

I tend to cry through almost every decision I make. It seems that made her nervous. I’d weep for five minutes and she wouldn’t say a word to comfort me. I mentioned that would be helpful and that I feel uncomfortable with her silence. No change.

I can’t help but think that she’s doing me a favor by setting me free.

I am not graduating from therapy now or in the future. I accept that as a person with bipolar, counseling is one of the fundamental supports to maintain my mental health, along with medication, exercise and friendship.

Time to begin a search for a new therapist. Today.

Have a healthy day and believe in yourself. –Rebecca

Clematis bud Photo: Rebecca Cuningham

Unforgivable Sins

This time of year I lose friends. Hiking boot in mouth syndrome. Waning sun, social anxiety, plus perfectionism equals disaster.

Awkwardness overflows

I huff and I puff

and I blow

that friendship


Big emotions

uncautious words



Apology notes



cannot recover

from unforgivable sin.

Could I get a pass

once a year

so my loose lips

don’t sink our ship?

I did not

want to

hurt you.

It’s my gecko


time of year.


-Rebecca Cuningham 10/17/20

What’s your worst time of year?

It’s Manic Monday and that’s good news! Thanks for reading and commenting. -Rebecca

Red Leaved Maple Photo: Rebecca Cuningham

6 Health Care Stigma Solutions

A health exam can be a stressful time for someone with bipolar. In my experience, situations like a doctor’s office where my chart reveals my diagnosis can lead to prejudicial treatment at times. I’ll tell the bodily symptom of my complaint; and see a small smile play at the corner of the nurse or doctor’s lips.

You are now entering the Bipolar Zone.

Any story you tell is a break from reality

Any emotion is theater

Any confidence is self aggrandizement

It’s as if they have in ear buds and can’t hear you.

What to do?

1. Meditate before you go

2. Ask questions calmly as possible

3. Speak your truth

4. Bring a list of your questions/concerns

5. Bring a relative or close friend

6. Role play what you want to say beforehand with someone close to you

What is your experience with stigma? What advice would you give?

It’s Manic Monday and that’s good news! Thanks for reading and commenting. -Rebecca



Communication in Black and White Photo: Rebecca Cuningham