TED Conversations

Suzanne Leighton

Complementary Therapist, special interest in bipolar disorder, Allied Health Professions Council, South Africa

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Is there a cure for bipolar disorder? Will we ever overcome the stigma?

I, like you John, have chosen to help others by admitting and talking about the problems of my past and how I overcame them. Mine is the other extreme of bipolar mania. Bipolar disorder is not a curse if you can learn how to manage it. If you can constructively channel the energy previously trapped in the illness it can become your greatest asset. I believe I have done this and, to give hope to others, I speak about in my DVD called 'ON THE EDGE OF MADNESS - Living well with bipolar." Ask for order form at integratingpolarites@gmail.com. I was told I had to be on medicaton for the rest of my life and now, years later, when I tell people I manage my life without medication they say I must have been wrongly diagnosed or that I will relapse. It wasn't easy and I had some wise help but with detremination and focus I have retrained myself into a stable and balanced life style which takes a lot of discipline and self honouring. Maybe it's not a cure but it's certainly management and maybe that's what we all need. As for stigma, talking and understanding helps to overcome the fear of what people don't know how to handle. The people I know who have been mentally unstable are also very sensitivity, creativity and have great intellegence - that's not something to be embarrased about, rather proud of unusual assets.

+2
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 14 2011: Funny you should mention this topic. I'm currently curating a TEDx event in NYC called Learning from History and I'm already thinking about my next TEDx event theme. I'm considering the idea of overcoming life's obstacles and thinking about sharing my own story about Bipolar Disorder.

    The condition is a real pain-in-the-ass sometimes and has to be constantly managed. I think we need more people who are willing to "come out" and share their stories about what life is like when you're BiPolar.

    Thoughts?
    • Jun 15 2011: Holly, perhaps you should approach it a physical illness and explain it from that angle instead of a mental illness which holds the actual stigma. If one were to draw parallels between bipolar and diabetes it might show a lot of people that they are not so different. They are both real pains. They both require constant management.

      There is a real disconnection between public perception of mental illness and the reality of mental illness; that reality being that mental illness is simply physical illness. This all helps beg the question of "Why do we treat people with mental illnesses different?"

      Best of luck,
      Ryan
      • thumb
        Jun 16 2011: Hi Ryan I am afraid mental illness is quite different from physical illness.Approaching it as a physical illness dosent neccssarily change public perception-stigma which are formed partly becuz of differences and that also means to undermine the seriousness of mental illness , risky one too.
    • thumb
      Jun 20 2011: Holly,I think it would be great. . (did you see the other conversation on bipolar remission????) There aren't many stories out there about about bipolar remission..very difficult to achieve ( some amazing and moving stories shared at the other conversation (In fact it is open ended and it would be so great if you could leave a post there)I am an advocate for people with cognitive disabilities and mental illness..it is still so much in the closet.. So misunderstood..

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.