We ask you … What do you think about the title of our website?

*Disclaimer: None of the following words are meant to be offensive or anything of the sort.*

It has been brought to our attention by more than one person that some might find the title of our website offensive and/or contributing to the stigma being labeled “Bipolar”.

As many of you already know, and possibly advocate for, there is a large movement to say “We are Not Bipolar, We HAVE Bipolar.” … “We are not the illness, we have the illness.” and  “The illness does not define us.” Which I agree with all of the above.

However, in my (not necessarily the right) opinion, I think it is what it is. Yes, I have bipolar. But even when referring to my illness or telling people what illness I have, I still say it, “I’m bipolar.” The words just come out like that. But I am. As am I Depressed, Manic, Anxious, OCD … Bipolar just happens to be one of those illnesses where us with bipolar don’t really have an actual “Title”.

For Example

Those with Diabetes are Diabetics

Those with Cancer are usually called Cancer Patients

Those with Aids are referred to as HIV Positive

Depression Sufferers are just called Depressed.

If you have Schizophrenia you are referred to as Schizophrenic

I think the problem is grammatical really. I mean what is Bipolar, a noun? a verb? an adjective? Well according to Dictionary.com;

bi·po·lar

adjective /bīˈpōlər/ 

Having or relating to two poles or extremities
– a sharply bipolar division of affluent and underclass

Relating to or occurring in both North and South polar regions
– bipolar species

(of psychiatric illness) Characterized by both manic and depressive episodes, or manic ones only

(of a person) Suffering from bipolar disorder

There it is!!! AN ADJECTIVE!

So … I can be pretty, I can be funny, I can be ugly, I can be annoying.

Why can’t I be bipolar?

What are your thoughts on this?

5 thoughts on “We ask you … What do you think about the title of our website?

  1. I personally am not offended and love the title. The title is what actually drew me in. The title of my blog is “inside the bipolar mind” and I also say “I’m bipolar”. I can’t separate myself from the illness. I was 13 when I was diagnosed except it was known as “manic depression” back then so I really don’t know what is me and what is the “illness”. I think part of removing the stigma is accepting that a person with bipolar IS the way they are BECAUSE of their illness and it doesn’t matter what noun, adj, or adverb you use, I am bipolar.

  2. I agree that the title was part of the website’s initial appeal for me. It conveys straight-forward confidence and honesty, and it sums up why the site exists. (And that slight element of controversy is actually not a bad marketing approach.)

    But I guess it can be interpreted in several different ways by people who don’t know much about bipolar or are still working through the implications of a recent diagnosis. For some, the title will reduce stigma and convey matter-of-fact ownership of the illness. Others might be struggling with identity issues and be turned off by the name of the site. The negative connotations they or others associate with the term might contribute to the stigma.

    I’m fine with the phrase “I’m bipolar”. But “I’m a bipolar” is uncomfortable for me. Perhaps I’ll feel differently over time as I become more familiar with the illness. I feel a bit easier with the concept now, having read both your comments.

    The example of depression is a good one because there is no comparable site name… ‘Ask a Depressed’ isn’t an option because we just don’t use that form of the word as a noun, ever. And even though people might be happy to own their depression as an illness or to say “I’m depressed”, I don’t think they would be as comfortable with a generalised label like “I’m a depressed person”. And if people think of the term “I’m a Bipolar” in the same way, the name of the website is off-putting.

    But I totally get your point that, in the absence of any actual title for someone who has bipolar, ‘A Bipolar’ would be the obvious choice. I think the illness should definitely be dignified with an official term/title, but any alternative I can think of just sounds really dodgy (bipolaric… bipolist… bipolian…lol)!

    In the end, even though I’m personally uncomfortable with the concept, ‘Ask a Bipolar’ is a really catchy name. And I’m sure that all the good the site does in advocating for bipolar far outweighs any possible stigma associated with the title.

  3. Why be ashamed of what we have. It is a disease like any other. So this is a support site for that disease. It is meant to help those with this condition so we don’t feel alone.

  4. Own it! Make it your own…. No one can label you unless you choose to wear that label. Laugh about it. But no need to broadcast to those who label…

    Peace out my bp friends!

  5. Answering your question about the title, I would say that the title is right,
    as it is, because it is the reality of the case. We are Bipolar and there is
    no way of hiding it. It’s a mental condition, that manifests itself urly during
    adolesence and we all have to cope with it. Thanks to God, that this mental condition has adecuate treatment and the most important thing is to accept the condition and maintain your treatment by taking the approprate medicine prescribed.
    The title is never an offense for those suffering this condition. I am a Bipolar 1
    since I was 21 years of age and now I am 63. Of course I had experienced lots of
    manic episodes, which were very sad for my family, but they have supported me with love and patience and I was over most of these episodes within two to three weeks.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave your feedback here!