Uniqueness and individualism in Mental Illness

I recently came across some feedback that tried to put Bipolar disorder specifically, in a big fat box. That our illness cannot be that unique if it can be categorized by the DSM and therefor, in as many words, everyone with Bipolar Disorder should be medicated.

But here’s the thing that’s been swimming around my head since that interaction. . . We can both wear the same pair of shoes and have completely different experiences in them.

Any Mental Illness, heck even physical illness, can be met under an umbrella diagnosis, yes. But the way it presents, the little nuances that make them specific to your life, make this illnesses – its symptoms & care strategies – completely individual.

Much like our beings entirely, our illness is a complex make up of our environments, experiences, background, world view, social circles, genetics, education, support network, income status, culture, belief systems etc etc.

We are so uniquely ourselves, shaped by our traumas, upbringings and surroundings that the DSM truly does not takes into consideration. It merely serves as a diagnostic tool which for some, can offer a pathway to understanding, services and supports. 

But what we utilize in those supports and resources will also be individualized, and we should allow others both the autonomy and creativity to build that recovery plan for themselves.

I think the minute we box people into this idea that they are just like everyone else, we in turn take the power away from their distinctively individual recovery journey and overall wellness. 

So in a long winded rant, no i don’t think everyone with Bipolar Disorder needs medication. Find what suits you (with some help from professionals), play to your strengths, stay curious and explore your makeup. 

Keep in mind the complexity that led you to here and let your uniqueness carry you forward ❤️

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